Poker is one of the most famous and frequently played card games, by those who like to gamble. Even the housewives in the fifties used to practice organizing an afternoon game of poker with their friends. But most people know of poker from the Western movies, in which cowboys are playing poker on a boat cruising down the Mississippi River. It is said that this is exactly where the poker came from. At first, it was just a 20-card game, having 4 players with 5 cards each. The one who had the best ones in his hand was the winner.
These times are long gone and poker has changed and evolved since then in more ways than one. It can be said that its peak of evolution was in the second half of the twentieth century. The result is that now we have multiple types of poker, such as Texas Hold’em and Omaha.
Here we’re going to write about the expressions beginners should be familiar with when starting out their Texas Hold’em career. But, to briefly explain what is Texas Hold’em.
As opposed to the classic game, in Texas Hold’em player gets only two cards – private ones, which means only he knows what they are. The remaining 5 are called “community cards”, placed on the table. They are available for players to use in combination with those they already have, to score the best combination of five cards in their hand. In this game, players can use any combination of those seven cards, to make the best one. They are allowed to use one, two, or no private cards of their own.
One of the most frequent Texas Hold’em Questions each player asks, is related to what it takes to be a good player. The answer lies in two things that are interconnected:
- Skills developed by practicing. To become a good player one needs to collect a lot of experience. The skill of “reading” an opponent and the skill of assessing the strength of your hand come with time. There are many free online practice options. It is recommended to use these options for training, especially because most do not involve investing your own money.
- Mindset. Once you learn the basic concepts and gain a little experience in the game, you are left with one very important thing on the way to becoming a good player. It’s your mindset. Concentration and focus need to be sharp as a knife, in order to be able to read the opponent. Emotions have no room in poker. Therefore, do not play when you are nervous, sleepy, tired, etc. Never play when you are drunk. You must be fully prepared before each game. If something bothers you, just give up. It’s the only way to make as much profit as possible.
To come back to the terminology. The fact is that poker terminology is too extensive to be published in a single article but we will do our best to explain the most popular and basic terms here. The vocabulary is growing day by day and it is very important even for experienced players to stay up to date with all the new terms. Here’s a list in alphabetical order.
- Ante – a predetermined amount that each player must pay at the beginning of the round;
- Aces Full – Full house. A combination of five cards, three of which are Aces and one pair.
- Ace-High – A combination of cards in which the strongest card is one Ace, there is no pair or scale or flash.
- Aces Up – A poker hand containing two pairs, one of the pairs being Aces.
- Board – community cards are thrown on the table that all players can use to have the strongest hand. The flop, turn and river make up the board and these cards are most commonly found;
- Bluff – to bluff, that is, to place a big bet and win, and you do not have the strongest card, nor do you have good cards at all;
- Check – check, i.e. stay in the game without investing;
- Call – follow the game by paying, i.e. pay as much as the player before you paid;
- Draw – an incomplete hand in which a player waits for a stronger card, suit, scale, etc. to get the desired combination;
- Flop – the first 3 cards dealt with the table;
- Gap hand – The starting hand in poker where there is a gap between the cards.
- Heads-up A situation where only 2 players remain at the table, or only two are left in the hand.
- Insta-call – send a bet or withdraw a bet without hesitation;
- MAP – an acronym for ‘make a play’ or ‘try to win’;
- Pot Odds – the ratio between the amount of money in the pot and the amount of money needed to place a bet;
- River – the last card thrown on the table. In Holdem, this is the fifth card, so it is also called the ‘fifth street’;
- Soul Read – crazy playing, allegedly because someone ‘read’ their opponent;
- Tilt – enter irrational moves after you have received bad cards in the deal or after you have suffered a defeat. For example, going all-in with 7 and 3 in different colors after you have previously lost a bet would be considered a tilt.
- UIGEA – An important term to be familiar with, since most gamble online nowadays, it stands for The Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act;
- Variance – statistical distribution of results over a period of time;
Skills one gains while playing can often serve as an asset in life. It’s all about reading the opponent, so when you learn how to do it, you will always be a couple of steps ahead of others.