Poker is a game that is growing at a startling pace and is rapidly become one of the most popular in the world today. What makes that more remarkable is that it is not among the easiest games to learn.
Perhaps the reason why people are drawn to it though is the element of challenge that it presents. Poker demands strong strategic thinking and the ability to spot telltale psychological signs of weakness in the other players.
It also has its own lexicon of often arcane terminology. However, no player can hope to win at poker without learning what the main terms mean, so buckle up as we explore that strange poker slang in more depth.
Different Poker Names
The first step is to know the different names for poker games. If you are not aware of these, you could end up in a game that you are unfamiliar with.
Although there are multiple versions of poker, the main ones are:
• Texas Hold’em
• 5-Card Stud
• 7-Card Draw
• Omaha Hi
Most poker games will be one of these, with Texas Hold’em enjoying the greatest popularity of all in the modern age.
Poker Hand Terminology
Most versions of poker boil down to trying to secure the best hand of cards (or at least making your opponents believe that your hand is better than theirs). That makes knowing basic poker hand terminology essential for anyone who is serious about playing.
Let’s start with ‘High Card’, which means the highest ranking card in a hand that does not include a pair. It determines how strong the overall hand is, with an Ace card being the highest ranking one.
Next there is a ‘Pair’, which refers to two cards in a hand that rank the same. The higher ranking the pair is, the stronger your hand will be.
A ‘Flush’ in poker means five cards from the same suit and the hand strength is decided by the highest card in the flush, while a ‘Straight’ means five cards in consecutive order within a single hand.
They do not need to be from the same suit. A ‘Straight Flush’ is just the same, but the consecutive cards are all the same suit.
The two best hands in poker are a ‘Full House’, which is three cards ranked the same plus another two ranked the same, and a ‘Royal Flush’, which means a 10, Jack, King, Queen and Ace from the same suit all in one hand.
Now you know what the strongest hands are in poker, which is important to your winning chances.
Card Dealing Terms
Now we will look at the terminology related to the dealing of the cards in poker. Firstly there is the ‘flop’, which means the three cards that are dealt to every player after the initial betting round.
Then there is the term ‘hole cards’ which refers to ones that are dealt to each player face down and that they keep hidden. Finally there is ‘community cards’ which are those in the middle of the table that the players share.
All forms of poker feature these so you must know what they mean to avoid feeling completely lost from the start.
Poker Strategy Terms
A really strong hand of cards does not come with every deal, so success in poker is often about strategizing. The first important strategy term is 'bluffing', which means trying to persuade the other players in the game that your hand is stronger than it actually is.
A second crucial strategy term is ‘calling’. That is when you make a bet that is the same amount as that of the previous player and is either part of a bluffing strategy or an indication that you are confident in the strength of your hand.
The term ‘raising’ refers to a bet that is higher than that of the previous player. It is a more aggressive poker strategy and a risky one unless you are really sure that you have a strong hand of cards like a ‘Royal Flush’ or ‘Full House’.
Lastly, there is the term ‘all-in’. That means betting all of your money or chips on one poker hand and is what you would do if you had an ultra-strong hand like one of the two mentioned above. Going all-in as a bluff would be an incredibly risky move though.
Knowing what this terminology means and when it is smart to deploy it can be the difference between winning and losing. You cannot control whether you are dealt a strong or weak hand of cards, but you can control how you play that hand.
These are some of the key terms used in poker games that a player must know to play the game effectively.