When it comes to casino games that heavily rely on strategy and skill, you can’t skip poker. Some new players find the game challenging to play, mainly because it has its own unique language. Indeed, you can’t enjoy playing poker if you’re unfamiliar with the terms.
Here, we’ll explain some of the most basic ones, including call, bet, check, raise, and fold. So, if you want to start playing the classic game, you should read on.
What is Call in Poker?
Here’s one of the basic actions you can take during a betting round while playing poker. Calling means matching the highest stake that is currently on the playing field without increasing it. Such an action signals you want to continue participating in the hand. This is one of the basic things to learn immediately you begin playing poker.
Let’s take an example:
If a player bets $10 and then you call, you’ll also place $10 in the pot. Hence, you match the amount staked by the first player. Calling ensures you’re still competing for the pot as the game progresses to the next betting round.
This move is often employed as a strategy because it lets you see additional cards without increasing the bet. It’s especially more beneficial in games like Omaha and Texas Hold’em. Calling can also indicate you have a decent hand to win the pot. However, you call if you’re unsure your hand is strong enough to warrant a raise.
There are professionals who use calling as a cover for their hand strength, but be careful not to flop the nuts. For instance, a player with a strong hand can decide to call, giving others the impression that their hand is weaker than it is.
What is Bet in Poker?
Like other table games such as Blackjack and Roulette, betting in poker refers to you placing your wager. Traditionally, you’ll put chips or money into the pot. In a more specific sense, it’s the initial money placed in the pot during a round before any other player adds to it. You’ll bet if you believe you have a strong hand or want to give the impression of having one.
When you decide to bet, the amount you wager becomes the baseline that other players must match if they want to continue in the hand. Suppose no one has bet during a round. If that’s the case, any player can either bet or check. Checking means passing to the next player without putting in additional money. We’ll discuss more on it next.
After a bet has been made, the other players have three main options:
- Call: To remain in the hand, match the present wager amount.
- Raise: Place an amount larger than the current bet.
- Fold: Discard the hand and opt out of the current game, losing any chips they’ve previously contributed to the pot.
How much you bet and how frequent can provide insights into your playing style and the strength of your hand. So, it’s a move you should make with caution. Note that bets can vary in size depending on the poker variant. Mainly, there are fixed limits, where you can’t exceed a set account, or no-limit games, where you can wager any amount.
What is Check in Poker?
As previously stated, checking is giving up control of the turn to the following player without placing a wager or adding chips to the pot. It’s a way to remain in the hand without committing any more money during a particular betting round. Usually, you can verify if there are no bets from anyone else.
Suppose another player has already made a bet. Then, you cannot check if you’re next. You can only call, raise, or fold. In some cases, all players in the hand may decide to check during a round. When such happens, the play moves to the next round without any money going into the pot.
You can employ checking for various strategic purposes. For instance, you can check with a strong hand so others can bet. Then, you raise later – this tactic is known as slow-playing.
On the other hand, it’s possible to check with a weak hand. With that, you can get a view of a free card on the next round that could improve your hand. Furthermore, checking can also be a cautious approach if you’re unsure about the strength of your hand compared to others.
What is Raise in Poker?
You can take raise to mean its literal definition. In other words, when you raise in a game of poker, you boost the stakes. Like other terms already discussed, such an action can mean your hand is strong or you want to pressure other players.
To raise, you’ll add more chips to the pot than the previous bet amount or the big blind in the initial round. You must at least match the current bet and then add an amount to exceed it. For instance, the current bet may be $10. Then, if you want to raise, you can decide to make the total $20 or more.
Players in poker have multiple options after a raise has been made. You either call the raised amount, re-raise with an even higher amount, or fold your hand. Sometimes, it leads to situations where multiple raises occur in a single betting round, and that significantly increases the size of the pot.
Regarding strategy, you can employ a raise for various reasons. If you have a notably strong hand, you can raise it with the hope of building a larger pot to win. Alternatively, you can raise with a weaker hand as a bluff. That way, other players will think you have a stronger hand, forcing them to fold.
What is Fold in Poker?
When talking about folding in poker, it basically means discarding your hand and forfeiting any chance of winning the current pot. When you fold, you’re telling the other participants that you don’t think your hand is good enough to compete with them. Also, it means you won’t contribute any more money to the pot for that particular hand.
Folding can happen at any stage of a poker hand in any variant of the game, from the initial dealing of cards to the final betting round. For instance, if you receive unfavorable hole cards, you can fold them immediately before the dealer places any community card on the board. On the other hand, you can decide to fold later in the hand if the community cards don’t improve your card value. Likewise, you can fold if another player makes a large bet or raise that suggests they have a stronger hand.
Even the greatest poker players know when to fold. It’s important to know when to fold as much as when to raise or bet. It might seem counterintuitive, but sometimes, the best decision is to let go of a hand to preserve your chips for subsequent ones. It’s most useful in tournament play.
Other Poker Terms You Should Know
Terms like call, bet, check, raise, and fold are primary when playing poker. However, there are other essential phrases you must know to have a firm grasp of the game. Check them out below:
The word ante refers to a forced bet every player must place before the start of a hand. It’s a predetermined amount usually set by the dealer before gameplay commences. Primarily, antes serve to seed the pot, ensuring there’s always something to play for.
Antes are separate from blinds, which you’ll find in games like Texas Hold’em and Omaha. Typically, blinds are found in community card poker games posted by specific players. Meanwhile, antes are more common in stud poker games where every player contributes.
By requiring an ante, the game demands more action and participation. That’s because players already have an investment in the hand before the dealer releases the cards. So, undoubtedly, an ante can influence players’ strategy and decision-making as the game progresses.
Before cards are dealt by the dealer, blinds are required wagers placed by two individuals at the table in poker. The reason they’re called blinds is simple. It’s because players must make them without viewing their cards. As previously stated, games like Texas Hold’em and Omaha usually have this functionality.
By default, the blinds will be posted by both participants to the left of the dealer button. The following player posts the big blind, and the person nearest to the dealer button puts the small blind. The amount of these blinds often increases at different intervals if it’s a tournament and voluntary blinds called straddle can be incorporated in some games.
Here, the word stands for Continuation Bet. It’s a bet made by the player who took the lead in the previous street, especially after having raised pre-flop. Such a continuation bet happens on the next betting round, typically the flop in Texas Hold’em.
C-Bets are helpful if you want to continue showing strength and seize the hand’s initiative. It’s not necessary to always use your strongest hand. Instead, you can use drawing hands or even as a bluff with a weak hand. Whether your C-Bet will be effective depends on board texture and table dynamics such as your drawing oddsΩ. Player tendencies also contribute.
Poker hands that are not complete but have the potential to become strong with the right community cards are known as draws. Essentially, such hands need specific cards on the upcoming streets to improve their strength.
For example, you may hold two hearts, and there are two more on the flop. That gives you a flush draw, which you can finish with an additional heart on the turn or river. Also, suppose you have sequential cards, like 5 and 6, then you see a flop of 3-4-7. It means you have a straight draw.
Draws are essential in poker strategy as they majorly influence betting decisions. Most players decide whether to bet, call, or fold based on the strength and potential of their draws.
We’ve already explained what a raise is. So, a re-raise is more or less when players repeat the action. One player may place a wager, for example, while another may raise it. If a third player — or the first bettor — increases the wager again, that’s a re-raise.
Re-raise is an approach many expert poker players use to put pressure on opponents. They either aim to accumulate more money in the pot with a strong hand or to push players out.
Simply put, kicker refers to the highest card in a player’s hand that doesn’t determine the hand rank. You can call it a tie-breaker card, and it’s relatively common during gameplay. Dealers refer to the kicker when two players are at a draw.
For instance, two players can have a pair of aces; then, the kicker will decide the winner. You can have an A-A-8-5-3 combination, while another player has an A-A-9-4-2. The other player would win because the 9 kicker is higher than your 8.
However, if you both had the same pair and the same kicker, the dealer would consider the next highest card in the hand. You can use kickers to choose when to fold or remain in a hand.
This term refers to the pile of discarded cards placed face down on the table. If you choose not to show your hand during a showdown, you can muck your cards instead. That means you discard them without showing the other players.
Mucking can be a strategy to hide information about your playing style. Additionally, after a completed hand, you’ll typically add losing cards to the muck.
It’s essential to be careful when mucking your cards. That’s to avoid prematurely discarding a winning hand. Once cards are mucked, they are out of play for that particular hand, and you can’t get them back.
If a pocket pair is higher than any cards displayed on the board, it’s an Overpair. For instance, you get an overpair if you have pocket Kings and a flop of 10-7-4. These pairs can be strong hands, especially on boards that don’t appear to have significant drawing opportunities. Also, you can leverage overpairs if there’s no threat from other potential hand combinations.
Expert poker players value bets with overpairs. Most expect to get calls from weaker pairs or draws, but the strength of an overpair can be relative. That’s because board texture and other players’ actions can influence confidence in the hand.
Gutshot is a drawing hand where a player requires a specific card to complete a straight. For instance, if your hand is 5-7 and the board shows 4-6-9, you need an 8 and no other card to complete a straight from 5 to 9.
This type of straight draw is more challenging to hit than open-ended straight draws. As a result, a Gutshot is relatively risky, meaning you should approach it cautiously.
Without understanding the different terms and actions in poker, you can’t enjoy the game either when playing in a top Las Vegas poker room, or at a legitimate online casino like Bet999 as you will find it difficult to come up with a decent strategy to attack the game. Thankfully, we’ve outlined the basics and other important terminology you should know. You can play the traditional card game once you are acquainted with these words.
Frequently Asked Questions
How are poker calls made?
To call in poker, you match the current highest bet placed by an opponent. When you call, you indicate that you wish to stay in the hand without raising the stake further. So, you’ll put an equal amount of chips into the pot as the previous bet or raise.
What is the name of the initial wager in poker?
The first bet in poker is usually known as the ante or blind. It depends on the specific poker variant. The ante is a predetermined amount all players must contribute to the pot before dealing cards. Even so, when it comes to blinds, the two participants on the left of the dealer post the big blind and small blind, respectively. In well-known poker variations like Texas Hold’em and Omaha, blinds are a given.
What does ATB mean in poker?
ATB stands for “Any Two Broadway.” It usually refers to cards, but it’s not a standard term in poker. You may encounter it within specific poker communities or games as slang or an exclusive term.
What is check-fold in poker?
Check-fold in poker refers to a situation where players check when it’s their turn and fold if another player makes a bet. This strategy is common when players believe they have a weak hand that isn’t worth continuing.