Some of the Most Common Poker Terms to Remember

Poker is a game that has developed its own specialized jargon to such a degree, that for a layman, some of the articles written on poker strategy by knowledgeable specialists are barely/not at all understandable. Indeed, there are many special expressions/terms used in the poker lingo, and in this piece, we’ll try to address a few of the more basic/interesting ones.

Community card games, like Texas Holdem, feature several betting rounds followed by another card/cards hitting the board. The first thing is to learn the names of these “streets” each of which is followed by a betting round. The first one – which deals 3 community cards onto the board – is known as the “flop”. The flop is followed by the “turn” and the “river” each of which consists of one additional community card. The flop, turn and river therefore represent the three stages of the 5-card “board” (the 5 community cards) which players will use in combination with their starting hand (known as “pocket cards”) to make their 5-card hand for the “showdown”. The showdown is when the final hands are compared and the winners/losers are determined.

The “blinds”, the “big blind” and the “small blind”, are two compulsory bets which players whose turn it is to make them fire out in the dark – hence their names. The blinds are extremely important: according to poker strategist and author David Sklansky, the blinds represent the catalyst of all action in a hand.

Poker players are a superstitious bunch and they like certain starting hands. As such, they’re quite keen on giving them various nicknames too. Pocket Aces (two aces as hole-cards) are called “Pocket Rockets” or “American Airlines”. “Aces (Kings or any other cards) Full” is the name of a Full House, featuring three Aces (Kings or any other cards) and any other pair. A Full House is called a “boat” by the way, and a three of a kind has two names depending on its actual makeup: if the player has one card in his pocket and two on the board for the three of a kind, it is called “trips”. If the player has a pocket pair and a third card on the board, it’s called a “set”.

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A “Broadway Straight” is an extremely strong showdown hand: it is basically a straight ending with an A, as in 10, J,Q,K,A. In order to beat this straight, the opponent going up against it will need at least a flush.

Players who hold the better hand and then lose by a freak slip of luck to another player are said to have suffered a “bad beat”. Talking about bad beats: a “runner-runner” straight or a “backdoor” flush are wonderfully suited for pulling off one of these. The runner-runner is a strong hand made after both the turn and the river cards “hit” a hand which is harmless on the flop. A backdoor straight/flush is a straight flush filled up by the last card to hit the board: the river card.

The “bluff” is one of the most popular strategy-techniques in poker, the name of which is quite self-explanatory. One represents a hand he doesn’t have with the goal of pushing his/her opponent off the pot.

 

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