• July 31, 2021

Basic Poker Terminology Defined

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If you’re new to the world of poker and have only sat at a table a few times, chances are you’ve struggled to understand the conversation of the players. That’s because the language of poker can be as foreign as Chinese, to those who aren’t natives.
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Poker players are unique individuals in many aspects; the terminology is just one. To get you started, here’s a short guide to the basic lingo.

  • Action: Indicates which player’s turn it is and what’s going on in the game.
  • Button: Marker used in many poker games to determine where the action starts each hand.
  • The Flop: First three cards displayed on the board in the middle of the table.
  • The Turn: The fourth card turned up on the board.
  • The River: The final card added to the center of the table.
  • Check: A player wishes to pass on the option to bet.
  • Bet: A wager made in turn by a player.
  • Raise: An increased amount of the original bet.
  • Call: Player matches the bet or raise and is still included in the competition of the hand.
  • Fold: Player decides not to call the bet or raise and discards their hand instead.
  • Muck: The pile of unused and discarded cards.
  • All-In: A move players make when all of their chips go into the pot.
  • Pot: The accumulation of chips that are available to win during a hand.
  • Donkey: Slang term used by people at a table to reference the player at the table who is the most unsure about the game.
  • Shark: The player who is waiting to pounce on a weak player.
  • A Set: Refers to a hand that includes three of a kind. A set means having a pocket pair and then making the hand with one on the board.
  • Pocket Pair: Two matching hole cards.
  • Hole Cards: The two cards dealt to a player at the start of the game.
  • Straddle: A blind raise put out before the dealer deals cards and action has started.
  • Bluff: Refers to a player pretending to have a better hand. A player makes bets and raises trying to fool other players.

These terms are basic terms that are standard for online and live casino plays. There are other terms, more advanced phrases, and some words that are specific to certain rooms. In general, the terminology is consistent.
To play poker, is to learn poker. Learning poker also includes lessons on how to talk the talk-to help you walk the walk.
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Steve Carr

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