Getting to Grips with Texas Hold’em Poker Terminology

There are many new terms to learn when playing Texas Hold ’em, but with this handy guide, you’ll be able to get started quickly. From betting strategies and hand rankings down your bets for each turn of cards at a poker table – here’s what they mean!

Starting a Game

The Cards

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  • Buy-In: the minimum amount of chips required to join a game or tournament
  • Dealer: the player who actually or theoretically deals the cards
  • Button: sometimes called the ‘buck’ or ‘hat’, this is a marker that indicates the (nominal) dealer, and therefore the person who plays last in the current round. This moves clockwise around the table after each round
  • Burn: discarding the top card from the deck, face down, to prevent a player from seeing the first card dealt
  • Blind: in Hold’em, a pre-agreed sum that must be bet by the player to the left of the dealer each turn. The player on the immediate left contributes the small blind, the next player, the big blind
  • Extra Blind: a player entering a game, or returning to the table, may be expected to put in a blind regardless of their position relative to the button
  • Post: the act of contributing the blind

The Cards

The football game is not over until the final whistle blow. The three points are up for grabs, but you’ll have to know how each point can affect your chances first!

  • Hole Cards: the first two cards dealt to each player
  • Community Cards or ‘The Board’: the shared cards which are gradually presented face-up on the table
  • Flop: the first three community cards laid out, face-up, together
  • Turn: the fourth community card, sometimes called the fourth street
  • River: the fifth and final community card, sometimes called the fifth street
  • Kicker: a card used to assess which of two near-equal hands wins, usually by face value


You can’t win if you don’t play -The best move is always to stay and fight, but that does “t mean we should go down without putting up a fight. There will be times when the odds seem impossible, so it might make sense for us to take their offer instead of continuing with our attempt at victory; however long shots do exist! The key here is t give into defeat because then they’ll know what kind of player YOU are: someone who throws games when going all-in typically means anything other than “I have nothing left.”

  • Call: matching the most recent bet or raise, and the proper way to say, “I’ll see that bet”. You can’t call/see a bet and raise on the same turn
  • Raise: Increasing the current bet
  • Check: a bet of zero, used when you don’t need to call and don’t want to raise
  • Fold: laying down your cards and forfeiting the game, as well as any bets already in the pot
  • All-In: when you don’t have enough chips to call or raise, and bet everything you have left; a win will award a matching proportion of the pot
  • Muck: the folded cards at the end of the game, and the act of conceding without showing your hand
  • Rake: this is the percentage of a pot taken by the house (casino/host) as a commission

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The colourful language of poker is not only found on the table. Some favourites include: A few gambling terms that you might need to know if your game includes playing with other players or betting in real-time games like blackjack are “hand” (a set of cards), rounder (someone who plays both sides) and four sinks – when all five digits can be used for counting credits at once!

The Cards

  • Tell: a sign a player unknowingly gives about his/her hand
  • Rock: a predictable player whose approach is tight and not very creative
  • Tilt: when a player is being reckless in their approach, they’re ‘on tilt’
  • Calling Station: a passive player who calls a lot, but rarely raises or folds
  • Coffee Housing: deliberately misleading players about the strength of a hand

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