Poker General Information

What is Poker?

The term poker encompasses an enormous variety of card games, many of which are among the most popular gambling games available. As these are games with an emphasis on skill they are very popular competitively. All of the different variants of this game involve betting in some capacity. Because of this they are popular table games which are adapted by live and online casinos both.

A common sight in live poker

An example of live poker.

Basic Rules for Standard Poker

The general rules in poker involve players drawing cards and gaining the best possible combination of these in order to win. As players hide their cards from other players they continue to bet, until a winner is chosen.

Most modern games start with an ante or a small blind and a large blind. For this a number of chips are taken from two players and put into the central prize-pool, or pot. The blinds rotate with each new hand, so eventually each player will have to give to the pot. The general order of the action starts with the player to the immediate left of the dealer.

In 5 card draw standard poker the players are then given five cards. From here the players can continue to bet based on how much value they believe their hand holds in comparison to the other player's. Alternatively they can quit, or fold, if they do not wish to wager. Once a player folds they cannot participate in any further moves in that hand. After  a player makes their decision the action proceeds clockwise. Each player can raise, call, or fold until an equilibrium has been reached.

A raise means that a player increases their bet, after which the other players can match this (a call), or fold. Once all action has stopped from that round a player can request up to five new cards, with each new one replacing one they have chosen to discard,following this another round of betting begins

Once this second round of betting has finished the players reveal their hands, and the person with the best combination wins.

Winning Combinations

There are nine main winning combinations that are possible through poker. These are listed as follows, from highest ranking to lowest.

  • Five of a Kind

This hand is only possible if the form of poker being played uses jokers, most poker games do not use this. For this hand a player must gain 4 of the same card over all 4 suits plus the joker.

  • Straight Flush

For this hand the player is required to gain 5 consecutive cards which all share the same suit. For example a 3,4,5,6 and 7 of clubs would count as a straight flush. The higher the highest card in the straight flush the more it is worth. This being the case the highest possible would be an Ace, King, Queen, Jack and Ten. This is what is known as a Royal Flush, and is the highest possible combination in most forms of poker.

  • Four of a Kind

This combination is just as it sounds. It requires all four of the same value card across all four of the suits.

  • Full House

A full house is a hand containing a combination of both a three of a kind and a two of kind. For example a Two of Spades and a Two of Clubs, which forms a pair, and a Five of Clubs, Diamonds and Hearts, which form a three of a kind. In this scenario it would be called Full House, fives over threes.

  • Flush

A flush is a combination of 5 card of the same suit, which do not have to be in sequential order.

  • Straight

A straight is the sequential order of 5 cards which do not have to be in the same suit.

  • Three of a Kind

Three cards of the same value in different suits, for example a five of Hearts, Diamonds, and Clubs.

  • Two Pair

A two pair is combination of two separate sets of cards which share the same value. For example a two pair would be a hand containing a three of Hearts and Diamonds and a seven of Clubs and Hearts.

  • One Pair

A one pair is a single pair of cards which share the same value, for example a four of Hearts and Diamonds.

  • High Card

The lowest possible value of all the hands. This is not a winning combination of cards, but rather whichever card is the highest. For example if the only remaining players in a game had no other combinations the player with the highest value wins. In the scenario where two players share the same highest card the next highest card is also valued and so on, until a victor is chosen.

Important Poker Information

To amateurs the game of poker might just seem as a game of luck, but in reality it runs much deeper than that. This is especially the case for playing live games. More than just cards, this is a game about reading people, about trying to figure out the cards they are holding. At the same time the player does want their opponents to know the value of those which they hold.

Achieving you goal of winning the overall game is done through subtlety. A skilled player might be able to read the giveaways which other player unconsciously give off, or bluff their way to victory with worse cards than their opponents.

If you've ever watched a professional poker tournament on television or online you would probably have noticed that some of the players wear hats, bulky clothing and sun-glasses which completely hide their eyes. These may look ridiculous, and they often do, but they also serve a very important purpose in that these hide not only what the player might be thinking of their own cards, but also who else on the table they think of as the greatest threat.

This also means that online version of poker are very different games from those played in person. Without the ability to see or read your opponents and the reactions the game is completely changed. Instead of playing their opponents the focus shifts to playing the odds. This means that understanding basic statistics can be a huge help to a successful player.

Common Terminology

There are many terms employed by the professional poker player. There are so many, in fact, that we couldn't hope to possibly cover them all. The terms below help cover some of the basics. National and even regional terms can be different, so keep that in mind.

  • Advertising

An obvious ploy by a player to lead the others to believe they posses a certain hand or will engage in a certain action.

  • Aces Full

This is a hand which contains a full house with three aces and a pair.

  • Aces Up

This refers to hand which contains two pairs, with one of these pairs be Aces.

  • Action

This refers to the moves in a game which contain checking, raising and betting. Since the game being played is action this is where the name comes from.

  • Add-on

This is when a player purchases more chips in order to continue playing.

  • All-in

This terms refers to when a player bets all of their remaining chips in a hand which is obviously a huge gamble, and not all games support it.

  • Ante

This is the money which is placed into the pot before the start of the hand. Some games use blinds instead of antes.

  • Bank

This refers to the person who is responsible for keeping track of buy-ins, handing out chips and ensuring the winners get paid at the end of a game. Also called the house.

  • Bankroll

The amount of money that a player has to play with.

  • Bet

The act of betting and places chips into the pot.

  • Big Blind

This is the money placed into the pot by the player sitting in the second position and located clockwise from the dealer.

  • Bleed

A slow loss of chip through bad luck or unskilled play.

  • Blind

The money added to the pot by the two players to the left, or clockwise, from the dealer. The first of these players gives the small blind, the second the big blind. As the dealer usually rotates so too do those who pay the blinds and in the case the the dealer does not physically rotate the blinds still do. A player who buys in must automatically pay the big blind.

  • Blind Raise

The risky act of raising without looking at your cards.

  • Bluff

Making other players think that you have better cards that you actually have in order to get them to hesitate or fold. This is done by raising when you have no hand, or a hand which you suspect might be worse than you competitors.

  • Board-cards

There are the cards which are dealt face up at the start of the round in specific type of poker. The players are then able to combine these with the cards they hold in order to create a winning combination. Also called community cards.

  • Bully

A player who uses aggressive tactics to cause the more cautious players on the table to quit or fold. This is commonly achieved through high raises.

  • Bump

Another term for a raise.

  • Burn  Card

The term given to a card which is discarded before dealing which is a method used to deter cheating.

  • Bust

When a player loses off their chips and cannot continue to play.

  • Button

This is a small disk handed around to each player to identify who is the dealer of each hand. Especially helpful when the dealer is static in order to illustrate who needs to pay the blinds.

  • Buy-in

This is minimum amount which is required for a play to enter a game, this is then added to their chip count. Smaller games have smaller pots whereas games with higher amounts on the line require higher buy-ins. This is to ensure that players gambling similar amounts of money are sitting with each-other, to keep everything fair and efficient.

  • Call

The is the term used when a play meets the previous raise.

  • Cold Call

When a player calls both the bet and any raises.

  • Cap

A limit placed on the amount of raises allowed in a single betting round which varies per game and house rules but is usually somewhere around three or four raises.

  • Card-room

A room used in traditional poker player which has selected specially for the game.

  • Case Chips

The last chips which a player has left.

  • Cash Out

When a player decides to leave the game and convert the chips that they have into cash.

  • Chase

When a player continues to bet in order to draw more cards which they hope will give them a winning combination. This is often carried out by players without much of a hope of drawing a winning combination.

  • Check

When it is a players turn to act but they do not choose to raise or fold then they check. In this case the next player gets their turn, or the turn ends if they are the last player.

  • Chip

The small disks used to represent money in most forms of both in person and online poker.

  • Chop

Also known as splitting the pot. This occurs when the blinds are returned to the players who posted them and the next round begins. This happens when no other players call.

  • Collusion

The term given to when players work together in order to cheat in a game.

  • Community Cards

These are the cards which are displayed face up to be used by all of the players.

  • Donkey

A disrespectful term given to player considered to be weak.

  • Draw Poker

This is the type of poker in which each player is dealt five cards. After these cards have been dealt the player has the option of discarding the cards they don't want to keep and replacing them with more cards.

  • Drop

Another term for fold.

  • Ducks or Deuces

Both of these terms refer to a pair of twos.

  • Five-card Draw

One of the most common forms of poker. In this version each player is dealt five cards, after which they are able to replace the cards they don't wish to keep from new ones randomly dealt from the deck.

  • Flop

The term given to the first three of the community cards which are revealed by the dealer.

  • Flop Games

There are the variants of poker where community cards are placed on the board to be used by all players.

  • Fold

To quit a given hand which happens when a player is not confident about their odds.

  • Forced Bet

This is the bet that is required in order for the game to start in the first round.

  • Full Ring

A game with more than six players involved. This usually occurs with online poker.

  • Grinder

A grinder is a player who consistently wins small quantities over a long period of play, rather than in large individual pots.

  • Hero Call

This refers to a call performed when a player has only a weak hand but believes that their opponent is bluffing.

  • Horse

A player who is backed by another person or organisation rather than sponsoring themselves.

  • Improve

When a player removes cards and requests more in order to better their hand. The type of replacement depends on the variant of poker being played.

  • Jackpot

A large collected pot which is rewarded for a bet, often a bad bet, is referred to as a jackpot. There is also a variant of poker named Jackpot poker which is similar to five-card draw.

  • Kicker

The highest card a player a player has which is currently unpaired.

  • Kitty

A term used for in-person poker to refer to a small pool of money which is taken from pots in order to purchase refreshments for the players.

  • Limit

Limit can refer to either the maximum or minimum possible bet that it is possible for a player to make though no-limit games can void this rule.

  • Live Poker

The most common term which is given to poker which is player in person rather than online.

  • Made Hand

A hand which is already a winning combination. This is a hand with which card replacements are deemed unnecessary.

  • Maniac

A player without any discernible solid style who bets wild and loosely.

  • Mark

A player who is the focus of attention from the other players, usually due to their lack of experience.

  • Match-the-Pot

Betting an equal amount to all the money which currently sits in the pot.

  • Nit

A conservative player who is unlikely to take risks and only bets on hands with high chances to win.

  • No-Limit

A game with no upper limit on bets which allows the players to bet all of their chips in a single hand which is often the case for player who want to go all in.

  • Off-suit

Cards of different suits.

  • Open

The first bet in a game.

  • Option

This refers to an optional bet or the right to raise available to the big blind if there have been no other raises.

  • Paints

The terms given to the face cards of Jack, Queen and King.

  • Pocket Cards

These are the cards held by the players in community variants of poker.

  • Poker Face

An expression which does not convey anything about the players cards. A common expression which has become a common English saying.

  • Pot

The chips which have been placed in the centre of the table which are available for all of the players to win.

  • Purse

A purse is the total prize pool which is drawn from in a poker tournament.

  • Rake

Where money is taken from the pot in order to compensate the hold for services rendered.

  • Re-Buy

Money needed to add to a players stack of chip, this is common when a player loses out and wants to rejoin the game.

  • River

The river, also called the river card, is the last of the cards dealt in a hand. After the river card is dealt the final round of betting can begin. In some forms of Hold'em the river refers to the last card on the community board to be revealed.

  • Royal Cards

Another term given to face cards. These include Jack, Queen and King.

  • Satellite

A common term for a smaller tournament which is held where the winners can gain entry into a larger tournament.

  • Scoop

To win all of the pot.

  • See

Another term for call.

  • Shark

The name given to a professional or otherwise very skilled player.

  • Showdown

Occurs at the end of the final betting round where all remaining players place their cards face-up in order to determine who has won the pot.

  • Small Blind

The smaller of the two blinds put into the pot at the start of the round. The small blind is the player directly to the left of the dealer.

  • Stack

A stack refers to the pile of chips which a player currently hold. Sometimes this specifically means a collection of 20 chips which are smartly arranged.

  • Stud Games

A popular variant of poker. in stud games the players are dealt 5-7 cards and must use those cards to form the best possible hand.

  • Super Satellite

This is a tournament in which the players compete for the opportunity to win a place to a regular satellite tournament in which the players can then win entry into a large tournament. This tends only to be the case with the largest of poker tournaments.

  • Tell

A giveaway which a player has which lets other players have a general idea of the quality of their hands. Skilled players will try to avoid letting players with a tell know that they have a tell, in order to better profit off them. Likewise other skilled players might fake a tell in order to manipulate less skilled players.

  • Texas Hold'em

Also commonly called Hold'em, which is the most popular form of poker and the focus of many major tournaments.

  • Tilt

The term given to a player who loses their cool and acts in a way which hurts their chances at winning.

  • Top Pair

In a game with community cards this refers to a pair which is possible with one of the players cards and one of the highest ranking of the community cards.

  • Turn

The card flipped by the dealer in community poker in the round after the flop and before the river.

  • Trips

Another term for three of a kind.

  • Up Card

This refers to any card which is dealt face-up.

  • Webcam Poker

A type of online poker where the players all play with webcams,  which is a way to combine the convenience of online poker with the community and reading aspects of live-poker.

For more on the popular forms of poker click here

For information on general winning strategies in poker click here


Author: Steve Jackson

Pokie reviewer, casino reviewer, article writer and all around hilarious and humble Steve Jackson is one of the main writers here at With an interest in writing and games, Steve has worked for years as a freelance writer covering a wide variety of topics. From video-games to umbrella sales - the experience he has gained in his career, combined with his degree in psychology, help him cover what people want, and what they didn't know was important to them. Now together with, Steve and the rest of the staff work together to bring the reader a website which covers a wide range of gambling relating reviews and topics. From the standard pokie and casino reviews to tutorials on casino games and even fun stories on gambling relating topics, Steve has been first on the ground, helping shape the website into what it is, and what it will one day be. Despite knowing a great deal about gambling he has not yet won any major prize pools. If he did you could bet he would be bragging about them here.

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