THE GAMETILT / BAD BEATSBAD FORMTHINK TWICETERMINOLOGY
Learn how to play poker with Teddy here

Poker is a family of card games that share betting rules and usually (but not always) hand rankings. Poker games differ in how the cards are dealt, how hands may be formed, whether the high or low hand wins the pot in a showdown (in some games, the pot is split between the high and low hands), limits on bets and how many rounds of betting are allowed.

In most modern poker games, the first round of betting begins with some form of forced bet. The action then proceeds to the left. Each player, in turn, must either match the maximum previous bet or fold, losing the amount bet so far and all further interest in the hand. A player who matches a bet may also raise, increasing the bet. The betting round ends when all players have either matched the last bet or folded. If all but one player folds on any round, the remaining player collects the pot without showing his hand. If more than one player remains in contention after the final betting round, the hands are shown and the winning hand takes the pot.

With the exception of initial forced bets, money is only placed into the pot voluntarily by a player who, at least in theory, rationally believes the bet has positive expected value. Thus, while the outcome of any particular hand is determined mostly by chance, the long-run expectations of the players are determined by their actions chosen based on probability and psychology.

Texas Holdem is by far the most popular form of poker played around the world, both online and in casinos. Texas Holdem can be played with as few as two players, and with up to ten. The game is well-liked both in the US and abroad because of its fast-paced gameplay and simple rules. A round of Holdem consists of four betting rounds. Each player receives two cards face down (known as hole cards), and five community cards are dealt face-up for all players to use. The player with the highest five-card poker hand at showdown wins the pot.

Any poker player, (Newbie or Novice) can tell long stories of Bad Beat or Tilt experience.

Tilt is a poker term for a state of mental confusion or frustration in which a player adopts a less than optimal strategy, usually resulting in the player becoming over-aggressive.

What makes it worse is when you know the odds; this is one of the most “costly” times. Placing an opponent on tilt or dealing with being on tilt oneself is an important aspect of poker. It is a relatively frequent occurrence due to frustration, animosity against other players, or simply bad luck. Experienced players recommend learning to recognise that one is experiencing tilt and avoid allowing it to influence one’s play.

The quicker one can deal with this emotional response, the better. In order to be a successful poker player (consistent winner) it is essential that you iron out “Post Bad Beat Syndrome” i.e. TILT.

It is crucial to accept the percentages. 96% of the time you will win, but 4/100 times, you are going to lose. Don’t play “emotional poker” and jeopardise a large proportion or everything you have built up over a Bad Beat or two.

Bad Form and how to get through it

Everyone goes through periods of bad form. This is when nothing seems to go your way for a period of time, sometimes lasting consecutive months. This is the time where a lot of players “do” their entire bankroll. The best way to get through this bad patch is to simply be patient and understand that it is part of the game. There is no need to be frustrated if you expect it and understand that poor form is inevitable. Being a good player means you can get through these “character defining” spells relatively undamaged. It’s all about damage control.

There are a few simple strategies for getting through these periods.

Take a Break

Sometimes a simple 5 minute break is all that is needed to change things up and regain composure. Sometimes a few weeks away is needed. This you will have to decide for yourself.

Change Tables

Not recommended as all the hard work you have done in the previous session is lost and you have to relearn the new players.

Play in a new environment

Change poker rooms all together. This could mean changing the online site. This normally helps a lot. All of the above still require a lot of patience, good decision-making, and tightening your game up in bad patches. Just hang in there because it will turn around and in no time your good luck will return and you will be hitting those “flush” and “straight” draws again. Don’t push for those and put yourself under unnecessary pressure when you have no “form” though.

There are hundreds of reasons why a player might win often, or end up not playing at all. But a definite “skill” element is clearly demonstrated over a period of time.

It’s typical to be lucky and/or unlucky in an evening or even during a weekend of play. However in the long-run, (spanning numerous sessions) the skillful and disciplined player comes out winning a lot more than the lesser, inexperienced player. This should not put anyone off, but rather spur one on to a disciplined style of poker play, thereby eliminating errors in judgement.

Take the Time to Think

Take a look at all the top players, they take their time to really think about their next move, not only concerning the current hand. It’s summing up the opponent’s entire session into a story. The good players think long and hard to figure out what the hell is going on in the hand. You can never act too quickly as there is always so much to take into consideration before each and every move at the poker table.

Just remember, it takes one silly error of judgement at a crucial time and all the preceding hard work can be tarnished on a mere single betting round. Carefully analyse the hand and make sure to get your chips in ahead

A Hand: Five cards, which a player collects from pocket cards and community cards.

Action: Money that is being bet.

All-In: A bet that places all of a player’s chips into the pot.

Ante: A small bet all players are required to make before a hand is dealt.

Big blind: An amount of chips that the second player to the left of the dealer has to bet, depending on stakes.

Buy-In: The minimum amount of money required to join a game; the actual amount of money used to join the game.

Call: To put in to the pot the minimum amount of money necessary to continue playing.

Check: To pass on betting.

Check Raise: To check initially, then raise a bet made later on in the same betting round.

Cold Call: Calling a bet and raise at the same time instead of calling a bet first, then later calling a raise.

Community Cards: Cards that are dealt face up in the center of the table, available for all players to use in making a hand.

Dealer: A person who shuffles a deck and deals cards to players.

Dealer button: A red button which indicates the dealer. It is passed clockwise after every hand.

Draw Out: To receive a card that transforms your hand from a losing hand to a winning hand.

Flat Call: To call a bet without raising.

Flop: The first three cards that are dealt on the board.

Flush: A poker hand consisting of five cards of the same suit.

Fold: To give up by placing your cards face down on the table, and losing whatever you have bet so far. You only “fold” when you think your hand is too weak to compete against the other players.

Four Flush: Four cards to a flush

Four of a Kind: A hand containing all four cards of the same rank.

Full House: A hand consisting of 3-of-a-kind and a (different) pair.

Heads Up: Playing a single opponent.

Holdem: a poker game in which players receive a certain number (2 to 4) of hole cards and 5 community cards. Normally, there are betting rounds after dealing the hole cards, then after dealing 3 upcards (flop), after dealing a 4th upcard (turn) and finally, after dealing a 5th upcard (river).

Hole Cards: The face-down cards dealt to each player in stud and Holdem games.

No-Limit Poker: A poker game where there is no maximum bet – players can wager any amount up to the amount of money on the table in front of him.

Omaha: A variety of Holdem in which players receive 4 hole cards and must use exactly two of them (together with 3 of 5 board cards) to make a hand.

Open: If no betting has been done when your turn comes, you may “open” the kitty. This allows you to make the first bet (any amount up to the betting limit).

Open-Handed: A category of games characterised by a part of each player’s hand being exposed.

Overpair: n. In Holdem, a pair in the hole that is larger than any community card on the board.

Pair: Two cards of the same rank.

Pocket Cards: First two cards that were dealt by dealer.

Quads: Four of a kind.

Rainbow: In flop games, a flop in which no two cards are of the same suit. “The flop was a 9 7 rainbow.”

Raise: To wager more than the minimum required to call, forcing other players to put in more money as well.

River card: Fifth card of the board.

Royal Flush: An ace-high straight flush, the best possible hand in regular poker.

See: When you “see” another player it means that you match their bet. Whatever the other player bets, if you still want to stay in the game, you have to “see” their bet by placing the same amount into the kitty.

Showdown: At the end of the final betting round, all active players turn their cards face up to see who has won the pot.

Small blind: An amount of chips that a player to the left of the dealer has to bet, depending on stakes.

Straight: A hand consisting of 5 cards in sequence but not in suit.

Straight Flush: A hand consisting of 5 cards in sequence and the same suit.

Table Stakes: A standard rule whereby, during a hand, players can only bet the money they have on the table. If the bet to a player is more than the player’s stack, that player may call with all his chips and be eligible to win only that portion of the pot he contributed to equally. A side pot is created, for which only the remaining players may compete.

Three of A Kind: Three cards all the same rank.

Turn Card: Fourth card of the board. It is called fourth river as well.