When I first started playing poker it wasn’t the rules that freaked me out; I’m pretty smart, how hard can they be, I figured. Neither was it the strategy; I reckoned that I’d loose a bit, and before I knew it I’d be up to speed and on the ball. No, it was the terminology that got me; I had images of coming to the table and everyone immediately knowing that I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, and feeling like an absolute idiot. For that reason, I want to briefly explain some of the most common terminology used in the game; so that no-one else will have to feel the way I did and won’t be held back by it.
Antes: An ante is used in all table games and is the money that each player must put into the pot in order to buy into the game. The ante is a set amount for the table and this will not change. The money is paid before the first cards are dealt; anyone who does not pay the ante will not be dealt in.
Big blinds and little blinds: Tournaments don’t have antes per se because everyone has already bought into the hand, so to speak, by buying into the tournament. The buy in of a tournament negates the need for an ante as the pot is already set. The big blind and little blind therefore is an alternative to the ante and involves one player on the table paying a sum equal to the minimum bet and another paying a smaller sum equal to half the minimum bet. The big blind is paid by the person in the second seats to the left of the dealer and the little blind is paid by the person sat directly to the left of the dealer. When there are 2 players left the dealer is the little blind.
Board: This refers to the community cards, the cards that all can see and use. There will not be a board in all games, only in Hold’em games such as
Flop: This is the name given to the first three community cards. These cards are turned all at one go.
Turn: This is the fourth community card. The Turn is flipped by itself and is followed by a betting round. This card is sometimes also referred to as the ‘fourth street’.
River: The River is the fifth, and final of the community cards to be flipped over. Once the River is flipped there is only one more betting round.
Showdown: This is the show and tell of the Caribbean Hold’em game. Following the final betting round after the River, all active players must show their hands; the best hand out of the 5 community cards and the 2 personal cards takes the pot.
These are just the very basics of Caribbean Hold’em terminology; you will find that once you are familiar with a few terms you will see them cropping up in other games too. One step at a time and you will be speaking the lingo before you know it.