Poker Terms Explained

If you’ve ever watched a poker show on TV and wondered what all the lingo was, then rest assured that you aren’t alone. Poker is often seen as a game of luck, but in reality, it requires a lot of strategy and logical thinking to succeed and in turn, walk away with a profit.

In this article, we will explain some of the most common poker terms so that you have a better understanding of what people are saying when you sit down for a game.  Let’s take a look at some of the most common poker terms explained;

A ‘hand’ is a poker term that refers to the cards dealt to each player during a single round of play. In the game of Texas hold-em, there are two rounds played per hand. In real-world poker, the hand doesn’t involve betting and doesn’t appear on the table, it’s just used as a shorthand for what players have been dealt during the entire round.

Blinds are the two stacks of chips on either side of the table that players have to pay into. The blinds can be put in by each player or they can be placed automatically. The object of poker is to use your cards and other information, like a pattern, to make better decisions than your opponents and win money.

Tops & Cobs
Pocket cards or hands are considered to be the top cards in a player’s hand. The “Tops” are the first two cards in your hand, while the “Cobs” are the last two cards in your hand.

Decks and Antes
In a standard poker game, there are 52 cards in the deck. The player who deals starts with the first card and must deal five to each of the players. The ante is optional money or chips you place before each round of betting in order to enter that round. It is also used by some players as an insurance bet if they believe their hand will lose to other hands. 

A second round of betting usually occurs after the first has ended. This is followed by a third round and so on until all hands have been played. Each person can only make one bet on each round. When the last card is dealt, those players still in the game must fold or stay in with their hands, depending on what type of poker game it is being played at that time. 

In Texas Hold'em, it's possible for a player to go “all-in,” meaning he has no more money remaining but wants to put everything into his hand. He'll then receive two cards from his opponent and two from the dealer instead of just one from each of them like most other variants of poker do.

A chip is a poker card worth one monetary unit and can also be used as currency. This is the most common way that people measure their worth when playing poker which is why they are also known as ‘chips’.

Hands per Deck and Odds per Hand
The number of hands in a deck is referred to as the number of cards and is usually around 52. If the deck has a single card removed from it, it would be 48 cards, if it has two removed, it would be 44 and so on. However, there are some variations of poker that require more or less cards than a standard 52-card deck. This can make the odds of winning each hand different depending on how many cards are in the deck.

Stealing a Hand
This is when you complete a hand with the best possible cards and beat the other players. You can steal cards if you are dealt a better hand than your opponents, or if they are dealt a worse hand than yours.

Draws and Dead Cards
When a player is dealt a hand with no cards in it, they are said to be drawing. The cards that were in the deck before the draw are called dead cards.

There are different games within poker such as Texas Hold'em, Stud and Draw Poker.  Every poker game involves two or more players competing to create the best hand possible using a predetermined hand ranking system.

Assuming you're playing Texas Hold'em – the order in which cards are dealt is very specific and never changes. You are initially dealt two-hole cards. The flop, turn, and river cards follow;

The Flop
Three cards are dealt face-up to the centre of the table after a round of betting for the hole cards, and one card is burned off the top of the deck (i.e., discarded without being looked at — this is done in case the top card had somehow been exposed or marked). The start of the community cards on the table, or those that each player may use in his hand, is known as the “flop” at this point. 

Anyone who hasn't already folded now has a five-card hand consisting of their two-hole cards plus the three community cards. Two betting rounds now follow called ‘the turn’ and ‘the river’.

The Turn
A fourth community card is revealed after the flop betting round, and another card is burned from the deck. The turn is the name of this card (sometimes fourth street). 

Six cards are now available for all players who are still in the hand to use to create their best five-card poker hands. There is still one more card to be revealed and another round of betting. 

The River
The most notorious community card, the river, is dealt after a card is burned. Seven cards are dealt to each of the remaining players, who must choose their best five-card poker hand (their two-hole cards combined with the five community cards). The winning five-card hand at the table is determined after a round of betting. 

Players may use zero, one, or both of their hole cards along with five, four, or three community cards to determine their five-card hand, respectively.

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