Poker Jargon for Beginners
This is a shortened glossary that explains the basic poker terms that are frequently used in the strategy articles at this site. It is assumed that you know the basic rules of Texas Hold'em. For a more complete glossary, visit our Full Glossary Page.
Blinds: The forced bets that take the place of an ante. 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: The cards in the middle of the table that are shared by everyone.
Draw: Drawing means hoping to improve your hand with the cards that will come on the board. You are on a draw when you want other cards to come out on the board to complete your hand. If you have 10 9 and the flop is Q J 2, you are trying to draw an eight or a king on the turn or river.
Flop: The first three board cards in Hold'em.
Implied Odds: The same as pot odds, but taking into account making bets in the future. Thus, you may call a bet at the flop, but have implied odds of making bigger bets on later rounds if you hit your draw. So, if you have A K and the flop comes Q 7 6, your implied odds are what you have to call at the flop compared to how large the pot will be at the end of the hand.
Limit Poker: Poker with fixed-size bets. In a $2-4 limit game, all bets and raises are $2 in the first two rounds (preflop and flop), and all bets and raises are $4 in the last two rounds (turn and river).
Longhand: A poker game with seven or more people.
Outs: Cards that can improve your hand. If the flop is Q J 2 and you have 10 9, you want a king or an eight to complete your straight. There are four kings and four eights in the deck, so you have eight total outs.
Position: Where you sit at the poker table. The dealer has the best position because he bets last and therefore has a better understanding of what other people have in their hand. The small blind has the worst position because he acts first.
Pot Odds: The odds you are getting when you are drawing. For example, say you have A 2 and the board is K 7 6. You are sure that someone else has the king. There are nine more diamonds out there (thirteen total minus two from your hand and the two on the board), so you have a roughly 18% chance of hitting a flush on the next card. Thus, if the pot is $100, and the bet is $10, even though you are losing, you have odds with your flush draw. However, let's say the pot is $100 on the turn (there is one card left) and your opponent bets $300. The pot is $400 and you must put in $300 to see the river. You are getting pot odds of 4:3 which is not enough, because the odds are about 4:1 (12:3) against hitting your flush. Another way to look at it is that you have only a 1 in 5 chance of hitting your flush, but you have to put in 3 of 7 dollars in the total pot.
Preflop: The betting round after you are dealt your two hole cards and there are no cards on the board yet.
River: The fifth and final card that comes on the board in Hold'em, after the turn.
Shorthand: A poker game with six or fewer people.
Turn: The fourth board card that comes out in Hold'em, the card after the flop.