Tonight your co-workers invited you to a game of poker. What should be a fun night, can quickly become embarrassing if you don’t know what your boss means when he says “pocket rockets”.
But don’t worry. We’re here to help out with the key words so that you can sound like a pro.
Let’s start with the parts of the game. In poker, not only are you dealt your own cards, but there’s also a shared pile of 5 cards on the table. The first three cards are dealt at the same time and they’re called the flop.
After a round of betting, the fourth card — the turn — is dealt, and is followed by another round of betting. And finally, the river, or the fifth card, is uncovered.
In between all these card reveals there’s a series of bets. The first bet is the ante, which is a small bet that every player must make before the round starts. Then, you have the blinds, which are also required bets that the first two players to the left of the dealer must make. The first is called the small blind, and the second is called the big blind.
Matching or raising a bet that was made before you is known as calling the bet. And players who call too much are given the insulting nickname “calling station“.
Why is it bad to call too frequently? Well, for starters, it reveals that you are an amateur because only players who don’t know the correct pot odds call often. And secondly, amateur players get lucky and end up with winning hands when they do this — which naturally annoys the pros even more.
Pot odds, by the way, is a ratio of the money in the pot to the amount it will cost you to call the current bet. Sounds complicated, but all it means is that if there is $US100 in the pot, and the bet will cost you $US10, you have 10-to-1 odds.
And even though betting is great, sometimes the odds are low and you don’t have great cards. When this happens you have several options.
First, you can check. By quickly tapping their fingers twice on the table, players signify that they want to stay in the game but do not want to bet extra money.
Other players may want to raise your check anyway, after which you need to decide if you are willing to throw in the chips. Otherwise you can fold — or quit the round — and throw your cards into the dead pile, or muck.
Another option is to bluff, which is when a player makes a bet, knowing that they do not have the best cards, and hopes that his opponent will panic and fold in his place.
Unfortunately, even with a great hand (known as a monster) a player with even better cards might beat you. This is called a bad beat. And to make things worse, it’s usually because of a lucky last minute draw for the other player.
After a series of bad beats, some players start getting desperate and play too aggressively and carelessly. Others will refer to them as tilts. Needless to say, you want to avoid this nickname.
While we’re on this, you don’t want to be called a donkey or fish either. That’s someone who plays poorly and looks like he’s throwing away his money.
And if you’re feeling really lucky, you might consider going all in, a move when a player bets all his chips. Afterwards, he can no longer bet and a side pot may be created for other players to continue betting. You either win big, or you’re done.
Finally, here’s some slang terms for cards you might have in your hand:
- Two Aces are usually called Pocket Rockets. Star Wars enthusiasts call them Admiral Ackbar when a player holds the aces to trap another player.
- An Ace and King is called Big Slick because it is a slippery hand with which one can easily loose a fortune. Tennis fans call it the Anna Kournikova because it “looks good, but doesn’t win.”
- Two Kings are called Cowboys
- Two Queens are called Canadian Aces, referring to The Queen of England’s relationship to Canada.
- A Queen and Jack (QJ) is called the Oedipus, referencing Queen Jocasta from the Greek Tragedy
- Two nines are called the Wayne Gretzky.
- Two eights are called snowmen.
- And two fours are called the Midlife Crisis.
Now get out there and don’t make a fool of yourself.
NOW WATCH: Money & Markets videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.