Poker Terms

This is a quick glossary that will explain the fundamentals of poker and a few basic strategies.    If you read this article, one should already know the basic rules of Texas Hold’em.

Blind: This is the forced stake of a player before he gets his card. The player to the left from the dealer pays the small blind and the one next to the left pays the big blind.

Board Cards: The cards in the middle of the table which everyone is allowed to use.

Flop: The first three community cards that come on the poker table.

Preflop: The time before the flop when you have only two cards in hand.

Turn: This is the fourth community card that is being shown after the flop.

River: This is the fifth and final community card that is being shown after the turn.

Draw: The possibility to significantly improve your hand thereby that a certain card appears on the table. For example with a Flush Draw it is hoped that one card with a specific symbol (e.g. spades) comes.

Limit Poker: Poker with fixed bets. In a $1-2 limit game, all bets and raises are $1 in the first two rounds (preflop and flop), and all bets and raises are $2 in the last two rounds (the turn and the river).

Pot Odds: With the pot odds you calculate how much money value the next card has, to wit, how much you can pay at a max. When somebody is only missing one card for a diamond flush, then the chances to get a diamond with the next card are 18%. If there are 200$ in the pot, then you should go with a bet of maximum 36$ (0.18*200$=36$). If someone bets 100$, then it is not worth it to call, since the bet is too high and the chances are too low.

Implied Odds: Implied odds are the same as pot odds, except that also future bets are being implied in the calculation.

Longhanded: This way a poker game is called that includes seven or more players.

Shorthanded: A poker game in which less then seven players are participating.

Outs: This is the number of cards that can improve your hand.

If you have 7c 8h and the flop is 9h 10s 2d, then every 6 and J are going to complete a street. So you have eight outs (four 6 and four Jacks).

Sharks vs. Fish

This is also something that isn’t really associated with your skills at online poker, but again it can/will impact your potential profits.

A lot of new players tend to ignore who their actual opponents on the table are and for that reason they simply join the first game they see. THAT is one of the biggest mistakes you can do in this game! Again you can question why does it matter who I play against if I’m a good poker player? Well, the real question should be:” Why risking to lose a lot of money against a Shark if I could be as well winning a lot of money against a Fish? “

Shark = Very experienced player who probably plays semi/full professional (he pays his bills with online poker)

It won’t be easy to play a Shark since he will try as hard as possible to minimize your potential winnings against him, but also he is going to try to take as much money from you as possible.

You can determine whether a player is a Shark or not if you check his buy in and the number of tables he is playing. Multiple table players usually are very good and dangerous player and for that reason they are called Sharks.

Fish = This is usually a newbie to the game and he lacks a lot of experience. It makes him very profitable for you.

The most easy way to determine if a poker player is a Fish or not is to see how many tables he plays at the same time and also does he buy in with the max. buy in? If he neither does play more then one table nor does he play with the max or he is allowed to buy in then he is very likely a Fish.

Math in Poker

Good poker players know the important percentages. For example they know that they have a one to eight chance to get three of a kind out of a pair.

  • Understand the importance of outs. An out is a card that improves your own hand. If you multiply the number of outs with 2 and then add a 1 to that value then we obtain the approximate probability that you get one of the cards that will improve your own hand.
  • Learn how to calculate your pot odds. Just knowing the outs won’t cut it.You must apply them correct to make a good decision. If you know that you have a 30% chance to improve your hand what are you going to do with that kind of information? Quite simple;  multiply your own chances to win (e.g. 30%) with the money in the pot (e.g. 20$) and you know how much you should pay most to see the next card. In this case it would be 6$.

Bad Beats in Poker

Nobody likes to talk about the ugly side of poker the so called “Bad Beats”, but since they will hit you sooner or later we are forced to confront with them.

Her is what we are going to to talk about in this post:

  • What is a Bad Beat
  • Can we avoid it
  • How to handle them

What is a Bad Beat

In poker, bad beat is a subjective term for a hand in which a player with what appear to be strong cards nevertheless loses. It most often occurs where one player bets the clearly stronger hand and their opponent makes a poor call that eventually “hits” and wins.”

Can we avoid it

Now that you know what a B.B. in poker is you as well want to know if there is a way to avoid them? Well, the obvious answer would be a clear NO!

If you really want to avoid Bad Beats then you would have to play only unbeatable hands (if no card showing on turn or river could possible beat you), howsoever that is very rarely the case, so it is not worthwhile to wait for such occasions.

How to handle them

It’s hard to ignore Bad Beats, because they will always piss you off, especially if you did lose a big pot.

The only rational way to handle B.B. is to be prepared that it can hit you at any time, but if you manage to accept them as an unavoidable evil then you are looking into a bright poker future.

Poker Hand Rankings

Poker hands are ranked here in order of strength, from the weakest Poker hand to the strongest.

High Card
If a Poker hand has no other combinations, then it’s valued by the highest card.

Pair
Two cards of the same value (10, 10).

Two Pair
Two separate pairs (4, 4, King, King).

Three of a Kind
Three cards of the same value (5, 5, 5; or A, A, A)

Straight
Five cards in sequence, but not in the same suit (8 of hearts, 9 of hearts, 10 of diamonds, J of diamonds and Q of spades).

Flush
Any five cards of the same suit, but not in sequence (2, 5, 8, J and K of diamonds).

Full House
Three of a kind combined with a pair (9, 9, 9 with 7, 7; or Q, Q, Q with 6, 6).

Four of a Kind
All four cards of the same value (5, 5, 5, 5; or 10, 10, 10, 10).

Straight Flush
Any five-card sequence in the same suit (7, 8, 9, 10, J of spades; or 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 of hearts).

Royal Flush
This is the unbeatable hand in standard five-card Poker. A, K, Q, J, 10 and all of them with the same suit.

Reading Your Poker Opponents

Reading your opponents is probably the most vital and at the same time most underestimated aspect of the poker game.

The newbie player usually thinks that it would be enough if he knows the poker rules for becoming a good poker player, but that’s far away from reality. As a matter of fact not being able to estimate your rival’s hand range may cost you a lot of money in some difficult situations.

Magician Card Gamble Poker Play  - Peggy_Marco / Pixabay

Lets make one thing clear. Reading your poker opponents is not an easy skill to learn. It takes discipline and a lot of time and even after that there is no 100% telling what the guy on the other side of the poker table has, but you should be able to narrow down his hand range to a few options left and with that you can work out a plan how to play against him.

Recognize the Board Combination

The first thing you need to do is to determine what is the best possible hand out of all combinations that the board offers. It is crucial to know how good your hand is against the other possible hands that your opponent may hold.

Narrow your Opponents Hand Range

You need to analyze what actions did your opponent take on each betting round. This way you will realize to what showing card he called, raised and if he raise how much did he bet? All this individual pieces will give you an insight of his hand range.

Discipline in Poker

Good poker players need to have an edge to win. What differs a good poker player from a bad one? A bad poker player does not expect to win, while a good poker player does. Why? The bad player hopes he gets lucky and the professional relies on his skills!

A good poker player understands that different games require different kinds of discipline.

For example, a disciplined no-limit player can be a bad limit player. He or she does not play too many hands, but only the good ones, which also have a chance to win.

The main difference between a disciplined no-limit and fixed-limit player is that the fixed limit player takes care not to lose his money slowly and bit by bit, while the no-limit player has to take care not to lose his whole money with one hand.

A good poker player knows when he should play and when to stop. He recognizes when he doesn’t play good and when he lacks discipline. That’s the moment when a good poker player calls it a day.

A good player knows that he is not perfect and that he makes mistakes. If he makes a mistake, he learns from it and doesn’t begin to cry or blame others for it. It’s not bad to commit an error. It’s just bad commit a mistake twice.

Psychology in Poker (Limit vs. No-Limit Poker)

A good poker player is not egocentric. He may be a selfish asshole, but when he sits down at a table to play poker, he tries to see things from his opponents perspective. He tries to understand how the other gambler are playing and what they are thinking. A good poker player asks himself this three question:

  1. What kind of hand does my opponent have?
  2. What does my opponent think I have?
  3. What does my opponent think that I think that he has?

The first step is to know the answer to these three questions. The second, much more important step is to manipulate the answers to the questions. If you have a pair of kings and your opponent has a pair of aces, and we both know what the other one has, then it makes no sense to continue playing? A pro manipulates the last two questions by the way he plays and bets. The fact that he never plays the same, but instead varies his game, makes it harder to see through him.

Poker Card Game Casino Cards  - Rollstein / Pixabay

Psychology is a lot more important in no-limit games than in limit poker games. Limit has much more to do with mathematics while no-limit has an important psychological component.

Starting Poker Hands

If you are playing Texas Hold’em then you should know what are good and what are bad starting hands. Also you should be aware which you should call, raise or fold. Of course there are a lot of factors who can impact your actions. Some of these factors are:

-the number of players
-loose or tight opponents

Howsoever, for a beginner, who is playing in low-limit poker following classification of starting hands is fully sufficient.

Note: The following poker guidelines are only for fixed-limit Texas Hold’em

Starting hands you should raise with:

AA, KK, QQ, JJ, 1010, AK, AQ

These are preflop hands that you should raise for the pot to increase and give you more potential winnings.

Starting hands you should call with:

AJ, KQ, KJ, QJ, J10, 99, 88, 77

With these above hands you want to see what the flop is bringing you and if you want to continue playing with them. With those poker starting hands you should not call three bets. Call only one ore two.

Why Play Poker

Why would you play poker? It seems to be a simple matter, however, the answer is complex and personal. There are many reasons to play or not to play poker and often the reasons give you a clue about your poker character and what limit one should play.

Reasons for playing poker

Social gatherings: This is one of the main reasons for the traditional game of poker in your own home. Friends are playing cards together and sometimes you even meet new people with who you become friends later on. If this is one of your main reasons, then you should play low stakes poker. This will keep the game friendly and it’s fun.

Entertainment: Poker is a competitive game. To win, you have to have skill and a little luck (the longer you play the less luck becomes a factor). Many compare poker to sports, because you can compete with other players and at the same time you can have a lot of fun. On the other hand you have to be carefully as well. Since you play with real money you can also lose a lot of money.

Education: The skills and acquirements you need as a good poker player can also help you in everyday life. While playing poker you will learn to better judge other people on a logical and strategically level.

In order to make money: Most people play poker for fun, but there are also a few people who earn a lot of money with it. Not everyone can win a lot of money with this sport, but the desire to win more cash should be a reason to improve your poker skills.