A Beginner’s Guide to Poker Terms

In poker, as in most card games, a good strategy requires both a solid understanding of the game’s rules and a bucket full of confidence. But even the best players can’t succeed without a comprehensive vocabulary, so here’s a list of poker terms to help you get your lingo on.

Ante – A small bet that all players are required to make before each hand is dealt. Antes help to create value in the pot early and discourage weak hands from calling too often.

Showdown – A player’s final hand after all betting is completed and the cards are revealed. A winning hand is one that contains at least 3 matching cards of the same rank, or two pairs with two unmatched cards. Straight – Any 5 consecutive cards of the same suit. Flush – Five cards of the same suit, but in no particular order.

Position – A player’s place in the betting order, which determines their opportunities to make a bet and/or call bets. Having better position allows you to see the other players’ bets and folds more easily, and gives you access to cheaper and more effective bluffing opportunities.

Read the Player – Paying attention to your opponents and learning how to read their behavior can give you an edge in poker. While many players focus on trying to pick up subtle physical tells, it is far more valuable to learn to read patterns in the way a player plays poker.