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StrategyPoker Basics

Poker Terminology for Beginners

Introduction

In 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.

Made hands

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.

Hand
Flop

A set is three-of-a-kind made up of your two hole cards and one community card.

Hand Flop

Two pairs are simply referred to as 'two pair'.

Hand Flop

Top two pair means you paired both of your hole cards with the two highest cards on the board.

Hand Flop

Bottom two pair means you paired both of your cards with the two lowest cards on the board.

Hand Flop

An overpair is a pocket pair higher than the highest card on the board.

Hand Flop

When you hit the highest card on the board, you have top pair.

Hand Flop

When you hit a middle card on the board, you have middle pair.

Hand Flop

When you pair the lowest card on the board, you have bottom pair.

Hand Flop

Incomplete hands

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:

Hand Flop

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.

Hand Flop

A gutshot draw means you are missing one card from the middle of the sequence - a 'shot in the gut' would complete the straight.

Hand Flop

Overcards are cards that are higher than the cards on the board.

Hand Flop

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.

Hand Flop

Other terms

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.

Conclusion

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.

 

Comments (145)

#1 kipperkalle, 01 Jun 09 07:25

Might be silly, but maybe update with Full Ring (FR), Short Handed (SH) and Heads-Up (HU). Had some trouble with those early on :)

#2 Koshburger, 16 Jan 10 10:27

ok

#3 Rap1d007, 05 Mar 10 21:38

Must read

#4 ReaZoN999, 16 Jan 11 03:05

SSS is good to know for beginners like me :)<br /> <br /> Short Stack Strategie.

#5 roboh1, 29 Jun 13 22:33

good article very helpfull to beginners

#6 genia2q, 10 Jul 13 16:40

its good to have this article printed out and keep them next to you when playing thank you.

#7 lollo1588, 27 Jul 13 11:24

ok

#8 madrik, 25 Aug 13 18:12

Good

#9 Japt1, 07 Sep 13 03:02

Ok

#10 akxxiv, 14 Sep 13 13:00

o yeah, tnx.

#11 miamia78, 11 Oct 13 14:50

OK

#12 kanpoker, 01 Nov 13 04:28

thanks

#13 dimas2345678, 10 Nov 13 09:21

thanks

#14 yuli06, 10 Nov 13 13:53

Wow

#15 leosam18, 02 Jan 14 08:38

ok

#16 dacer58, 15 Jan 14 17:24

k

#17 kejsix, 01 Feb 14 20:53

thanks

#18 tinetotRNMD, 04 Feb 14 16:13

ok

#19 vyaly2014, 05 Feb 14 13:09

very nice

#20 remy18, 12 Feb 14 11:17

sweet

#21 rusfraj, 26 Feb 14 13:29

nice

#22 azheist11, 02 Mar 14 23:50

its help and work to me

#23 ILuvUSD, 04 Mar 14 05:37

good article

#24 Pokerproindia, 23 Mar 14 07:41

Very Nice article for a begginer like me!!!

#25 DONELIKADONK, 20 Apr 14 13:11

helps alot

#26 braddon1964, 23 May 14 16:33

very nice

#27 zagdaa12, 29 May 14 08:55

0

#28 Petersey611, 04 Jun 14 15:43

ok

#29 andrew3168, 19 Jun 14 14:25

Ok

#30 mrkhaan, 07 Jul 14 21:17

ok

#31 allmymagic, 08 Jul 14 23:57

Great Head Start!

#32 wirra, 11 Jul 14 11:40

ok

#33 satlol, 30 Jul 14 02:50

Good start, but could use additional terms.

#34 biggood, 02 Sep 14 21:01

good good good, nice articel, fight now

#35 walbenilton, 05 Sep 14 12:02

ok

#36 banfica4, 20 Sep 14 21:14

ok

#37 SLYDOC11, 04 Oct 14 02:41

ok

#38 ofirka, 07 Oct 14 11:23

OK

#39 tashaleigh3, 09 Oct 14 09:54

ok

#40 Juglinjugglo, 11 Oct 14 06:09

cool

#41 catblank, 14 Oct 14 08:58

oke

#42 Socialhabit, 16 Oct 14 17:12

Thanks

#43 mirestrategy, 19 Oct 14 19:35

ok

#44 4soul, 20 Oct 14 17:53

thnaks!

#45 FacePoka, 08 Nov 14 20:01

Some good info for beginners

#46 BenBlakeIsTilting, 14 Nov 14 03:40

cool

#47 kibancwb, 16 Nov 14 21:55

good job

#48 markselmerV5, 12 Dec 14 12:52

cool one

#49 kalkalshi, 21 Dec 14 21:26

Ddd

#50 zyznz84, 23 Dec 14 16:50

i see that

#51 KosttuxxRNMD, 29 Dec 14 23:39

ty

#52 Pumkinspiced, 01 Jan 15 14:33

Good to know

#53 niekadanelaimiu, 02 Jan 15 12:25

ty

#54 AcesNFace, 08 Jan 15 03:22

Excellent Starting Point.

#55 magiccarp, 09 Jan 15 01:52

good explanation of poker terms especially the 3 bet.......thanks

#56 MijatS, 10 Jan 15 01:02

easy

#57 PROstarik, 11 Jan 15 15:32

Good article for star play poker :)

#58 STELPPL, 20 Jan 15 05:21

nice ty

#59 mrteeser, 31 Jan 15 15:09

ty

#60 Dannybr29, 02 Feb 15 21:29

good one

#61 kirane, 05 Feb 15 16:42

start at the beginning

#62 Yakut228, 07 Feb 15 01:42

пгв

#63 Kolinalinas, 08 Feb 15 11:00

ok

#64 Dolja25, 15 Feb 15 14:56

ok

#65 ceflamas, 23 Feb 15 23:22

beleza

#66 hud400, 17 Mar 15 01:55

Well written , very important article for getting new player firmly in grip with <br /> the meaning of the most common terms referring to the players turn a poker table.

#67 lebeka89, 25 Mar 15 02:57

ok

#68 D0cHoliday, 13 Apr 15 13:12

ok

#69 redde, 15 Apr 15 19:18

sounds good!

#70 soldner666, 19 Apr 15 12:26

s

#71 limangchuen, 21 Apr 15 13:55

good

#72 fivericketRNMD, 28 Apr 15 04:49

thanks

#73 prd94, 01 May 15 23:40

Good

#74 vaso014, 08 May 15 17:50

nh

#75 terrymoserie, 19 May 15 00:54

.

#76 MarakesasM, 26 May 15 16:21

Ok

#77 pneuma1337, 04 Jun 15 19:49

Thanks

#78 CikaMisa, 06 Jun 15 12:57

good

#79 qstreb54, 07 Jun 15 13:36

good

#80 Madolite, 10 Jun 15 10:23

Hmm, I've never heard about Cap tbh. Is that only a rule in certain types of games? I've never seen that on Full Tilt Poker, and I don't think I've seen it in any live poker videos either.

#81 Madolite, 10 Jun 15 10:24

Oh nvm, Fixed Limit. I totally overlooked that lol

#82 Kyle2109, 15 Jul 15 14:56

NICE

#83 tokenroll, 22 Jul 15 23:57

cool

#84 titto841118, 02 Aug 15 17:28

Excelente aporte, pautas y conceptos muy claros a tener en cuenta para llegar a ser el mejor jugador

#85 sibotolungun, 05 Aug 15 02:13

sangat membantu,khususnya untuk pemula kawasan asia tenggara memerlukan ini

#86 deniavigacil, 06 Aug 15 17:27

LUCKY PAIR

#87 Marius19810513, 10 Aug 15 04:52

ok

#88 pokermaster2222, 10 Aug 15 17:04

nice

#89 souksakhone, 11 Aug 15 10:47

nice

#90 misiliukasRNMD, 15 Aug 15 16:38

thanks

#91 dimoti112, 17 Aug 15 18:49

g

#92 RLdiamond5, 06 Sep 15 17:31

e

#93 zenule, 08 Oct 15 12:45

even though I play poker for several years now, I still did not know some of these terms..

#94 rickuba, 11 Oct 15 02:48

No problems on this one too. :D

#95 joon420, 25 Oct 15 09:22

poker is the best

#96 RodGilotti, 26 Oct 15 17:41

ok

#97 Shumis1988, 27 Oct 15 17:04

ty

#98 moou1126, 30 Oct 15 15:24

yes..

#99 gohomeman2690, 31 Oct 15 15:19

supi

#100 minsa0123, 12 Nov 15 05:36

Thanks

#101 fuijongsan, 20 Nov 15 11:30

love poker!

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nice

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nice

#105 Jasko1, 25 Nov 15 20:41

nice

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ok

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ok

#108 Marsovac1987, 02 Dec 15 17:29

i know

#109 bonniebellRNMD, 13 Dec 15 17:56

ok

#110 retake21, 28 Dec 15 14:56

ok

#111 AApoKKer, 04 Jan 16 17:35

Simple and easy to understand, THANKS.

#112 jaskob93, 13 Jan 16 15:06

ok

#113 bubamarasr, 20 Jan 16 18:06

Read it. Thank you.

#114 juanpamc, 04 Feb 16 06:13

Thank you for the explanation

#115 mausy1967, 08 Feb 16 12:32

ty

#116 DrussDLegend, 14 Feb 16 15:17

Well presented way of teaching the fundamentals of poker.

#117 TimG1967, 21 Feb 16 19:27

great job

#118 chocochips, 25 Feb 16 12:46

ok

#119 Nhoxalone, 03 Mar 16 09:59

Cảm ơn

#120 Cagoubird, 06 Mar 16 16:14

Good job

#121 VasMit123, 12 Mar 16 18:57

ok

#122 notiltzone, 19 Mar 16 02:08

ok

#123 swampyking, 28 Mar 16 22:42

Ok

#124 sedinbsng, 01 Apr 16 11:36

ok

#125 Fortizr, 05 Apr 16 16:51

Well, Amazing I'll apply it.

#126 pharaonsgold, 07 Apr 16 00:25

ok

#127 mrsbachelor, 09 Apr 16 08:40

its rally help

#128 Dopesmoker, 18 Apr 16 05:53

Ok

#129 CroZoZo, 26 Apr 16 13:17

ok

#130 sinalonse, 01 May 16 14:40

ok

#131 herbalist23, 04 May 16 18:24

useful thanks alot :D

#132 TetonSouix, 16 May 16 01:39

cheers

#133 tsilok, 28 May 16 11:31

ok

#134 HectorhedgeRNMD, 01 Jun 16 08:32

THANK YOU

#135 smoothazeros, 09 Jun 16 18:49

great beginners article!

#136 izzy0607, 11 Jun 16 15:23

THANK YOU

#137 Alsuc, 16 Jun 16 22:02

Thanks

#138 kerpen1980, 29 Jun 16 01:20

Cool. thanks.

#139 manicjason7, 11 Jul 16 16:03

thnakyou

#140 Mazais7777777, 01 Aug 16 15:33

i am ready!

#141 Lakkeger, 06 Aug 16 11:29

Lots to take in, but that's why we are here :) Just slow and steady!

#142 GamBrit, 09 Aug 16 09:58

Good Starting Point For The Beginning Of Grasping No Limit Hold'Em

#143 Robinsko, 09 Aug 16 16:52

nh

#144 nunkpoker, 15 Aug 16 21:58

Every beginner must read it carefully.

#145 muska411, 12 Sep 16 15:59

nice