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Poker Terminology for Beginners
IntroductionIn this article
- Various poker terms
- Why you should know what they mean
You've already come across some poker jargon in the Beginner's articles. You will continue to hear terms like, "set" and "trips" in other articles, coaching videos and in the forums. You don't need to learn them all by heart in order to take part in the strategy discussions, since you can look them up in the PokerStrategy.com glossary, but knowing some of the common terms will help you understand the strategy articles and videos, as well as the forum discussions, more easily.
Actions in a betting round
Here is a list of the actions a player can take in a betting round.
When a player places the first wager, he makes a bet.
When a player pays the amount of a previous bet, he calls.
When a player makes a second wager after one player has bet, he raises.
When a player makes a third wager after one player has bet and one other player has raised, he re-raises.
When a player throws away his cards without investing any money, he folds.
When a player passes the action onto the next player without making a wager, he checks.
A 3-bet (also re-raise), is the third bet in a single betting round. The action is as follows: 1) Bet -> 2) Raise -> 3) 3-bet.
The cap is the last possible raise in a betting round (Fixed Limit Hold'em). Players are generally allowed to raise up to 4 times in a single betting round, after which the action is capped.
The action is as follows: 1) Bet -> 2) Raise -> 3) 3-bet ->4) cap. Once a player has capped, the other players can only call/fold and are not allowed to raise until the next betting round.
When one player checks and another player sitting behind him checks as well, he checks behind.
You probably know what a flush or a full house is. The next section will cover the common kinds of made hands you will encounter most often.
A straight consists of five cards in numerical order.
A set is three-of-a-kind made up of your two hole cards and one community card.
Two pairs are simply referred to as 'two pair'.
Top two pair means you paired both of your hole cards with the two highest cards on the board.
Bottom two pair means you paired both of your cards with the two lowest cards on the board.
An overpair is a pocket pair higher than the highest card on the board.
When you hit the highest card on the board, you have top pair.
When you hit a middle card on the board, you have middle pair.
When you pair the lowest card on the board, you have bottom pair.
Incomplete hands are also called draws. This means you do not have a made hand, but with a little help from the coming community card(s) you could end up with a strong made hand. Here is a list of the drawing hands you can have.
When you have four cards of the same suit, meaning a fifth card of that suit would give you a completed flush:
An open-ended straight draw is made up of four cards in numerical order. A fifth card on either end of the sequence would give you a completed straight.
A gutshot draw means you are missing one card from the middle of the sequence - a 'shot in the gut' would complete the straight.
Overcards are cards that are higher than the cards on the board.
A backdoor draw is a drawing hand that needs help on both the turn and river. Hitting on the turn opens the backdoor for you to hit again on the river.
Here are a few other terms you will run across.
A pocket pair means that you were dealt a completed pair. Two kings, for example, are called pocket kings.
This means that no one raised before the flop. You've probably noticed by now that hands tend to play out differently when no one raises before the flop than when someone shows aggression from the very beginning. When no one takes the initiative and raises, you play for an unraised pot.
This is the opposite of an unraised pot and simply means that someone raised before the flop was revealed.
This refers to everything that takes place before the first three community cards are dealt.
This refers to everything that takes place after the first three community cards are dealt.
If your hand does not get better, it remains unimproved. You could say, for example, "I will fold unimproved on the turn," which means you intend to fold to a bet on the turn if the turn card does not help your hand.
This article has introduced you to the most common poker terms. Any time you don't understand what is meant by a certain poker term, you can look it up in the PokerStrategy.com glossary.
And remember, asking never hurts. Our coaches and advanced players didn't just wake up as pros one bright and sunny morning - they started off right where you are. Don't be afraid to ask them questions - that's why the forums and coachings are there.
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