Poker Guide PDF Print E-mail
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Article Index
Poker Guide
Learn the Basic Rules of the Game
Know the Lingo
Bet Smart
Some Variations of the Game

3. Know the Lingo

By reading this SYW, your poker vocabulary has already increased tremendously. Still, we don't feel comfortable releasing you to the card sharks without further stepping up your savvy. To avoid getting taken to the cleaners - or having your knees broken over a bad bet - be sure to study up on the following terms:

Bluff
Aggressive Play
Conservative Play
Action
Tell

Bluff

"Bluffing" - or pretending to have better cards than you actually do - is a fundamental strategy of the game. A player who bluffs usually bets higher than his/her cards warrant. The desire of the bluffer is to scare the other players out of the hand by making them think he/she is holding phenomenal cards.

Aggressive play

An "aggressive" player is one who bets high early and forces others to abandon their comfort zone. He or she frequently bets the maximum limit and stays "in" until the end. Depending on your skill level, aggressive play can be a quick way to cough up a lot of cash.

Conservative play

A "conservative" player usually bets the minimum and is quick to fold if the cards are not in his or her favor. Conservative play can be a good way to keep more money in your pocket, but many times will not win you big pots. Why? Because if people know that you're a conservative player, they'll bail any time that you bet more than the minimum. A conservative player is often susceptible to the trickery of the bluffer.

Action

To those in the dating game, this word refers to gettin' busy. To poker players, it denotes the amount of betting going on at a given table. In a casino, you may hear a professional player say, "I'm leaving, there's not enough action at this table." That means that not enough money is being risked.

Tell

A "tell" is a mannerism that you inadvertently repeat that lets the other players know how good your hand is. No one EVER wants other people to know their tell, but everyone has one. When you lie, you inadvertently give little clues. A player may wipe his brow when he has a good hand, trying to contain excitement. Another player may grit her teeth when she has a low hand, a nervous reaction to the bluff she's about to make. Whatever it is, you should always try to figure out what the other players' tells are, and you should always try to hide yours. Try to play as stoically as possible, eliminating the possibility that someone will discover your tell. Practice that poker face.