Poker Terms – a beginner’s guide

Poker Terms – a beginner’s guide

The first time you sit down for a game of Poker it’s easy to be confused by the language barrier. From an Ace in the Hole and playing Blind to someone being a Shark, the terminology can be tricky. But with our guide, you’ll quickly master Poker talk.

Core Poker Terminology


To get started, you need to know how poker works. The dealer will deal three face-up cards, known as the Flop after the first betting round, then deal two face-down cards for each player. Ace in the Hole signifies that one of the latter cards is an ace.

Players are then free to Act – which means any action taken on their turn. Two will have to make a forced bet – a Blind – to start the hand. Then each player takes it in turn to Call – make or raise a bet – or Fold, throw down their cards.

Understanding Your Opponents' Actions


It’s important to get to grips with the actions that your poker opponents make and react accordingly. To do this you need to able to spot the Tells, those changes in behaviour that indicate a potential action and the strength of the player’s hand.

Good indicators of a strong hand are players who go All-In by betting all their remaining chips, while a player with a bad hand is Behind. However, be wary of the Bluff, when a player bets on a weak hand and pretends they have a strong one.

Poker Game Terminology


Some poker games require players to place a bet, the Ante, before cards are dealt. While going Back In means a player initially Checks (doesn’t bet) then meets another player’s Call (bet) in the first round. Whatever you decide, always be wary of Sharks or professional poker players.

Examples of Poker Sites

Additional Poker Actions To Be Aware Of

Beyond using Blinds and Bluffs, having an Angle suggests that a player is engaging in a tactic that is widely considered unethical, but just about tolerated. This is often done to misguide or deceive an opponent and is commonly used against players perceived as being inexperienced.

Players can also Add-on before they go bust by buying more chips. While Air is the term used for a player announcing they plan to draw at least one more card – often aimed at an opponent who is about to fold in an attempt to make the call.

Poker Rules and Restrictions


There are several rules regarding poker hands. For example, a Dead Hand signifies an illegal hand such as one having the incorrect number of cards. The Limit designates the smallest and largest amounts that can be wagered while a Cap restricts the number of raises allowed per round.

Further restrictions include a Misdeal, where the deal contains some kind of error and must be re-dealt. A Flash occurs when a card is seen by another player so the dealer must show it to all players and place it in the discard pile.

Additional Poker Tactics

Other terms of note include a Bleed, which means a player consistently loses through bad play. Placing a Blocking Bet discourages big bets from an opponent, while a loose-aggressive player, or LAG, plays lots of their starting hands, making small initial bets and raises to and try out-play opponents.


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Types of Poker Available


A key factor in your enjoyment of poker is the type of game you play. For example, Live Poker is played at a table with a real dealer, while Jackpot sees five cards drawn with an ante taken from all players and a pair of Jacks required to begin.

More Poker Types

Texas Hold’em is by far the most commonly offered and most popular poker option. Players hold two cards while trying to make the best possible five-card hand using five additional community cards. Alternatives include Caribbean Stud and Omaha. Less common variants include 7 Card Stud, Razz and Chinese poker.

Depending on your chosen casino, these options will vary. It’s important to understand the specific rules of each variant before attempting to play to prevent disappointment. For instance, you’ll need to know how many cards are held, whether there are community cards, how bets are run, and so on.

Poker is Fun – make sure it stays that way

Poker is a fun and strategic game, but knowing where and how to play, and which game variant to play is vital. Your success will be reliant on knowing the rules like the back of your hand, as bluffing will only see you lose money and enjoyment.

Online Poker Top Tips


Mastering poker is a tough task but it is possible by avoiding basic mistakes. For starters, always stick to your bankroll and only play poker games that you understand. Then always use a strategy, don’t feel pressured to take a hand and use bluffing wisely.

It’s also important to pay attention to other players’ actions, get a feel for when they have a strong hand or are bluffing, and know when to play and when to fold. Finally, always show respect to the dealer and your fellow poker players.

Choose your Online Poker Site Carefully

Now that you’ve got a grasp of the basic rules and terminology you may want to get started! There are many choices available but it’s vital to use a trusted site. Ensure the online casino you use is licensed. You’ll normally find that information at the bottom of their homepage.

Once you know that it’s a licensed site, check the payment options that the site allows and the security it has in place. For example, having SSL encryption in place to protect player data is also a good indicator for whether the casino can be trusted.

Maximise Your Poker Enjoyment

Does the casino offer lucrative bonuses that can maximise your enjoyment and chances of winning? Do they have tournaments to join? Do they offer free tournaments or bonuses allowing you to cash in a little even if you lose? Now you know the basics, get playing and enjoy!

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