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.

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.

When to call it a day

Most good players know when they call preflop and when they fold. This decision that is made preflop can be crucial for the further game. Of course depending on the table you are playing and also on the character of your opponents you should adjust and vary your poker game as much as possible.

However, in general you should always play strong hands preflop, because a medium strong hand will only cause you trouble. Cards like K4 are to be thrown away at any position. Maybe Heads-Up it could be played, but that is another story.

The described preflop situations are very important. Still, that is not all what matters! After that you may have to make three more important decisions. Of course theories like Pot Odds can help you to make a good decision, especially if you need one more card for a straight or a flush, but what are you going to do if you already have a strong hand and you don’t know if it’s good enough to beat the other ones?

Here is one example: 

You have AQ and the flop shows KQ5. Somebody did raise preflop, so how are you going to bet on the turn? This depends a lot on the other players moves. If one player is making a bet, another is raising him and the next player calls it then you can be sure that your pair of Q won’t have a chance.

This is just a small insight in the world of important poker decisions.

Small vs. Big Mistakes in Poker

In Limit Texas Hold’em your own bet is making just a little part of the pot. This encourages poker players to see the flop, because they can look at it with a little investment to maybe later win a big pot. This aspect of Limit Texas Hold’em especially attracts new and inexperienced players (fish) to make a bet preflop. Most bad players often lose their money because they are making continuously small mistakes. Those poker players keep betting even though the Pot Odds clearly tell them not to, or they simply have the weaker hand. Every time you keep betting despite the fact that you shouldn’t you commit small mistakes.

A big mistake in Limit Texas Hold’em is to fold a hand when you actually should bet, or even raise! Why is this such an immense error? Well, the problem is that within this kind of situations you are making the biggest winnings and since you did throw away those cards you won’t win anything. Let me make one thing clear, I didn’t meant that you fold and then later you see that you could have won this. I’m talking about the situation where you hold the best hand and still throw it away.

Here is one Example: You are holding AQ, you did a raise preflop and three other player did call. The flop shows KQ4. You bet, another one is raising you and two player do call. The turn brings a 6. The guy who has raised before is betting now and all other player are folding.

So what are you supposed to do? By now there are 18 small bets in the pot (8 preflop, 8 flop, 2 turn). Probably you are beat. If you want to see the river as well you will have to pay another 4 small bets. After the river card there is a total of 24 SB in the pot, so you have to win one out of six times to justify seeing the river. Lets say you have five outs then you have a 12% chance to get your card. You only need to be about 4% confident that you have him beat. This indeed is very small.

So in this case you should go ahead and call down, even though you probably are beat. However, many newbie poker players will fold this and that would be fatal if the other player was bluffing.

The Second Best Hand

When you are playing Black Jack the worst thing you can get is a 16th. The chance of winning is the lowest. Compared with Poker that would be 7x 2x. The difference is that in Poker you won’t lose any money with 7x 2x, because you will not play it. That is the reason why I’m not bothered with this hand, because I know it’s value and what I can expect from it. However, I have way more respect of AA preflop, since this card has a great potential to either bring me a lot of money or make me lose a lot. The paradox of having more respect from better hands is based on the poker concept relative value of a poker hand.

Everyone should be aware what the point in poker is and how you will make money constantly. You have to maximize your winnings and to minimize your losses. In this case maximizing your profits is the simple task. For example when you set a trap, or you slow play you can make a lot of money with a strong hand. However, basically every idiot can win with a good hand. The main difference between a pro and an amateur poker player is the way they are losing their hands. The good player knows when he has lost and throws away his cards. A bad player keeps betting until the end and loses at the showdown.

The psychological difference between the two players is that the bad poker player absolutely needs to know what the other player had so he can be sure that he lost for the “right reasons”. Like a cop he makes sure that nobody bluffs. On the other hand the professional poker player has overcome that urge.

Limit Poker

Playing the second best hand until the very end in Limit poker won’t hurt you that much. On the short run this will not have much of an impact. Howsoever, on the long term this will lead to a negative effect on your finances. A good way to avoid losing much money with second best hands is a good preflop strategy. Don’t play hands with low kicker like A7 or K4, because these cards will be easy dominated by hands with a high kicker like AK or AQ.

No-Limit Poker

At No-Limit it’s a whole other story. While in Limit poker you won’t lose all your money with the second best hand, that very likely can be the case playing No-Limit Poker. For that reason it is immense important to play hands that have the potential to become “The Nuts”. Those are usually either pairs which can turn into three of a kind or even a Full House and of course draw cards who have the potential to become a flush or a straight.

The key for success in No-Limit Poker is to throw away second best hands if needed.

Psychological Games in Poker

No-Limit Hold’em ring games require more psychological tricks and bluffing skills than any other popular poker games. These tricks should always depend of the opponents you are playing against.

When you play in no-limit areas with low stakes (50$ buy-in or less), then I would not recommend applying psychological games. A bluff on the flop with less players may work from time to time, but usually on those tables your opponent will bet until the end. In such games it is wiser to wait for a good hand and then take their money with pot large bets.

Once you start to play at tables with 100$ buy-in and higher psychological games will play an important role, especially if your opponents have larger stacks (100 * Big Blind and more). First thing you have to do on those tables is to categories the other poker players.

The six kinds of poker players 

  1. Fish
  2. Weak-Tight
  3. Policemen
  4. Tight-Aggressive
  5. Hyper-Aggressive
  6. Tilt Player