Poker is a part of American tradition, a game the authorities have tried to kill off more than once without success.
It started in Louisiana, brought here by French settlers. They played a rudimentary version of the game called Poque, which traveled along the Mississippi to the west. There, it found a home in the dusty saloons of the Wild West and, for a while, was one of the most popular games out there. Eventually, it became a staple of Las Vegas casinos, a city that claims to be the home of poker to this day, hosting the World Series of Poker and some of the most revered poker rooms in the world. Nowadays, Texas Hold’em is the game of choice at the WSOP, having originated in, you guessed it, Texas during the Wild West era. The online game was effectively outlawed in 2011 but continues the thrive to this day thanks to relaxing laws.
Whilst poker is a game that has given us many terms in pop culture, such as poker face and raising the stakes, Texas Hold’em has its own unique language, much like football does. For every poker term you know, several are generated by the variant you will not be familiar with. In the modern world, where you can play poker online with people from around the world, it is very accessible, but only if you take your time to learn some of the unique language and terminology.
That’s where this article comes in—we’re explaining what is meant by four Texas Hold’em terms you might not be familiar with.
Poker is a game that involves lots of betting; if you’re playing a variant such as Texas Hold’em, there are five rounds of betting to get involved in. The first of those bets is the blind bet. The small blind in poker is the bet placed by the player to the dealer’s left, and it’s usually a set nominal amount as directed by the terms of the individual game. The next player around places the next bet, usually known as a big blind, and typically twice the amount of the small. These bets are placed without any cards being dealt, hence the term ‘blind’.
In Texas Hold’em, after the blind betting, each player is dealt two cards. These cards remain face down and only known to the player – they’re the unknown variable to the others around the table. These are known as the hole cards, contrasting with the community cards, which are the five that end up in the middle of the table for everyone to see. This also gives rise to other terms, such as ‘ace in the hole’, which means a player has an ace in their two cards others cannot see.
Texas Hold’em is a game of ever-changing odds. For instance, if player A is dealt two tens, they could statistically be the likeliest to win that hand over player B with two threes. However, if the first three community cards, known as the flop, have two additional threes, then it can change the odds. Essentially, a bad beat is an occasion where a player who at one time had the best chance of winning the hand ultimately loses. So, player B with the four threes might have been delighted on the flop, thinking he had the best chance to win, but if the last two cards are both tens, then the odds change again, he suffers a bad beat, and player A wins.
A side pot is another term found in Texas Hold’em. The nature of having multiple betting rounds is that at one stage, a person might go all-in, but there still be rounds of betting to go. For instance, if player A only has a few chips left, he might go all-in when there are still two cards to show. He cannot raise when the fourth and fifth cards hit, but other players might. Therefore, players B and C might see the fourth card and continue betting. If they do, a side pot is created, allowing them to effectively have a second round of betting conducted after the first player goes all in. Player A can only win what has been wagered up to his all-in shout, the side pot is then awarded to the winner from the other two players.