Common Poker Terms

This isn’t a comprehensive guide to terms used in poker, but it can help you read and understand articles on sites like this that much more easily. You’ll often see a bit of crossover between these terms and others, but with poker’s rich history, that shouldn’t be much of a surprise. This list can also give you a brief glimpse at some concepts we’ve covered elsewhere and serve as a refresher of sorts.

Blinds: These are the forced bets that take the place of an ante in Hold ‘Em games. The person to the left of the dealer must pay the small blind, and the person after him must pay the big blind.

Board Cards: These are the cards in the middle of the table that are shared by everyone in a Hold ‘Em poker game.

Draw / Drawing Hand: Drawing means that you hope to improve yon the hand you’ve been dealt with cards that come out on the board. You are “on a draw” when you want other cards to come out to the board to complete the your hand. Let’s say that you are holding Tc9h and the flop reads JsQh2d. You want an eight or a king on the turn or river to make a straight.

Flop: These are the first three board cards revealed in Hold ‘Em. The flop takes place after the initial betting round in which players wager based on the cards they’re holding.

Implied Odds: These are the same as pot odds but take into account the fact that you’re going to have to engage in betting in the future. You may call a bet on the flop but have implied odds requiring bigger bets on later rounds if you hit your draw. For instance: you’re holding AdKd and the flop reads QsJd6d. Your implied odds at this point are what you have to call at the flop compared t how large the pot is going to be at the end of the hand.

Longhand: This term is used to refer to a table where seven or more people are playing. Many sites offer shorthanded or 6-handed events for players.

Outs: These are the cards that can improve your hand if you’re on a draw. If the flop is QhJs2d and you’ve got 10c9h in your hand, you want one of the eight kings or hearts (four of each) that are in the deck to show up. This means you have eight total outs.

Position: This is where you sit at the poker table. The player behind the dealer button has the best position because they’re betting last and get a great look at how others are betting before making a deception himself. The small blind is considered the worst position because they are forced to act first.

Pot Odds: These are the odds that you receive when you are drawing. Let’s say that you have Ah2h and the board is 2c7h6h. You are sure that another player has the king based on their betting. There are nine more Hearts out there, so you’ve got a roughly 18% chance of hitting a flush on the next card. If the pot is $100 and all you have to do is bet $10, you still have odds with your flush draw. However, if you have a pot of $100 on the turn and your opponent bets $300, you’re going up against odds of 4:3, which is not enough. The odds of you hitting that flush are 4:1 (or 12:3) against you.

The River and Turn: These are the two betting rounds that take place after the flop. There is a round of betting before each one of these, just like the flop, and then an additional one after the river card is revealed.

We know these terms are well worn by now but it’s never a bad idea to review the basics when it comes to poker. Frequently a new perspective on the game can emerge from innocuous places and every time you get a different prospective of the game, you can learn more about how to play.