For the Beginner: A Poker Primer

For more than a year I’ve been posting news about tournaments, players and other things for players who have some semblance of knowledge of the game.

But what about all of you who are just interested in learning.

I apologize for ignoring this vast number. When I blog about backgammon or blackjack then I often do postings for beginners.

Here then a primer for poker.

If you already know the game, then please check back with me later in the week. There is plenty of news about the WSOP europe… to talk about.

First, terms. You have to know what people are talking about when you sit down to play.

This is a shortened glossary that explains the basic Texas Hold em poker terms that are frequently used in the strategy sessions. If you think I need to be more basic, PLEASE let me know.

Blinds: The forced bets that take the place of an ante. The person to the left of the dealer must pay the small blind, and the person after him must pay the big blind.

Board Cards: The cards in the middle of the table that are shared by everyone.

Draw: Drawing means hoping to improve your hand with the cards that will come on the board. You are on a draw when you want other cards to come out on the board to complete your hand. If you have?[[cards 10c 9h]] and the flop is?[[cards Qh Js 2d]], you are trying to draw an eight or a king on the turn or river.

Flop: The first three board cards in Hold’em.

Implied Odds: The same as pot odds, but taking into account making bets in the future. Thus, you may call a bet at the flop, but have implied odds of making bigger bets on later rounds if you hit your draw.

If you have?[[cards Ad Kd]]and the flop comes?[[cards Qs 7d 6d]], your implied odds are what you have to call at the flop compared to how large the pot will be at the end of the hand.

Limit Poker: Poker with fixed-size bets. In a $2-4 limit game, all bets and raises are $2 in the first two rounds (preflop and flop), and all bets and raises are $4 in the last two rounds (turn and river).

Longhand: A poker game with seven or more people.

Outs: Cards that can improve your hand. If the flop is?[[cards Qh Js 2d]] and you have?[[cards 10c 9h]], you want a king or an eight to complete your straight. There are four kings and four eights in the deck, so you have eight total outs.

Position: Where you sit at the poker table. The dealer has the best position because he bets last and therefore has a better understanding of what other people have in their hand. The small blind has the worst position because he acts first.

Preflop: The betting round after you are dealt your two hole cards and there are no cards on the board yet.

River: The fifth and final card that comes on the board in Hold’em, after the turn.

Shorthand: A poker game with six or fewer people.

Turn: The fourth board card that comes out in Hold’em, the card after the flop.

I hope this helps. Let me know.

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