A card game with a long and storied history, poker is played worldwide by millions of people. It is not only a popular pastime, but also a competitive sport. While it involves some element of chance, its success is based on strategy and psychology. The game is incredibly complex and has numerous variations, but the basic rules are similar for most of them. To master the game, a player must understand poker terminology and learn the rules. The following glossary of poker terms should help new players familiarize themselves with the game and its lingo.
Ante – A small amount of money all players must put up before a hand begins. It gives the pot a value right off the bat and allows players to bluff more effectively.
Call – To call a bet means to put in the same amount as the player who raised it, or even more if you think you have an outstanding hand. This is the only way to remain in the hand after a raise and is required by most games.
Raise – To raise a bet means to put in more than the previous player did and possibly take the lead in the hand. It is an aggressive play that can be used to scare off weaker hands or to make a good player call a bad one.
The Showdown is the final betting round in a poker game where the players have a chance to reveal their cards and determine who has the best 5 poker hand. At this point you have two of your own cards in your hand as well as five community cards on the table that can be used by all players.
To have a good poker hand at the end of the Showdown requires having a pair, a straight, a flush or three of a kind. The highest poker hand is the Royal Flush which consists of a ten, jack, queen, king and ace of the same suit.
After the first betting round is complete, the dealer will deal a third card face up on the board called the flop. This is another opportunity to bet and raise. Once the flop is dealt a fourth card is revealed on the board, which is again a community card that everyone can use.
If you have a pair of 7’s and the flop is 7-6-2, then you have the “nuts.” This is considered to be the best poker hand at that point in time. However, if the river is a 7, then you no longer have the nuts as anyone who holds a 7 in their hand now has a better pair than yours. In this case, you have been “counterfeited.”