Sep 19, 2019


Be the smart guy!

Every skill-based game has its own terms and poker has a long list of it. In the case of poker, it adds a kind of glamour to the entire routine of playing the game. 

So if you think you are lagging behind in the word game, here is a list of a few poker terms which will help you study the sport easily and maybe start a conversation with a poker pro!


An orbit refers to one entire cycle of the game in which one player is sitting at the dealer position. It is a common measure of the length of play. An orbit is similar to a lap in racing games.

Hole Cards

Hole cards are the playing cards dealt to each player on the table face down. In Texas Holdem, a player is dealt with 2 hole cards however, in Omaha, a player is usually dealt with 4 or 5 hole cards.


A c-bet or continuation bet is a bet made by a player who raised pre-flop. By doing so, he/she has continued in trying to achieve his/her goal of winning the pot.


It is a term that refers to the highest possible straight a player can hit in a game. The term broadway alludes to the length and popularity of the famous Broadway in Manhattan, New York. The hand is nicknamed in this manner because of the high-end building sprawled across the Manhattan skyline. For example: A-K-Q-J-10 (non-suited).

Sit and Go (SnG)

It is a poker tournament with no scheduled starting time that starts with whenever the players put their money in. Generally, operators host single table sit-and-gos with nine or ten players, but multi-table games are played as well.

Slow Playing

Slow playing is a deceptive strategy in which a player chooses to play passively or bets weakly with strong holdings. The purpose is to build the pot and lure players into it who would've otherwise folded to a raise.

Flat Call

It is a technique used when a player is slowplaying. A flat call or a smooth call is calling a bet with an above-average hand with which many players would like to raise.

Pot Odds

It is the ratio of the current size of the pot to the cost of a contemplated call. It is often compared to the probability of winning a hand with a future card in order to estimate the call’s expected value.


A term used both in cash games and tournament. It occurs when there is a bet, a raise and then a re-raise. The reason it is called a 3-bet is that the automatic posting of the blinds is considered the first bet, the second bet (2-bet) is when a player raises the blinds instead of calling and the third-bet (3-bet) is the re-raising of the 2-bet.


A four-bet occurs when a player re-raises a three-bet.

Dark Tunnel Bluff

It is a repetition of continuation bet (c-bet) on multiple streets (pre-flop, flop, turn, river) simply because you want to keep betting. However, you are doing so without thinking through. You are basically trying to bluff with below-average hands.

Hachem Syndrome

It is a condition in which players who have recently made it to the headlines for their deep runs at the WSOP (World Series of Poker) develop an unnecessary and unnatural sense of entitlement.

Squeeze play

It is generally a pre-flop bluff. It occurs when a player re-raises after there has been a raise and one or more callers. This situation can be dodged by trying not to limp especially in the initial stages.

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You've survived the early stages of the tournament with some tight play and now the competition has narrowed down a bit. With the blinds going up and the ante kicking in, you've entered the next phase of the tournament and things are about the heat up!

Generally, play in the middle stage of the tournament is looser and more aggressive because players are now incentivised to try and steal the pot, even pre-flop. 

With strategies set to change, how should you go about your play? Let's take a look.

Aim for value and bet small

With the blinds set to raise the minimum bet, your pre-flop raise should usually only be between 2X to 3X the big blind. This is because you want to conserve your stack as much as possible and don’t want to bleed chips in case a hand doesn’t go your way.

Even if you think you have a winning hand post-flop, value-betting will help you extract more from opponents who might fold if you raise too much. 

Look to steal blinds 

While in the early stage there's little incentive to bluff and pick up the blinds, the middle phase makes them much more valuable. When holding a half-decent hand, it can be worth trying to make a bluff a stronger hand by raising when on the button. This works especially when others have folded in the hand before you and the players to your left don’t look too keen. 

Maximise the all-in threat

While in most cases going all-in can seem like a drastic course of action, it’s usually best to just shove pre-flop when you have less than 20 Big Blinds, especially if someone raises before you in a hand you want to play.

Don’t confuse this with desperation though. The idea is to do it when you have a strong hand which has good odds. This is because you cannot afford to call/min-raise with such a small stack and then end up folding when you don’t hit the flop. Pushing all-in reduces the chance of variance hurting you and also gives you your best option to stay in the tournament by doubling up. 

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It's every poker player's dream to take home that big prize at the end of a major tourney, triumphing after hours of sharp play to come out on top. Getting there isn't easy however, and along with technical skills one needs to also play with the right mental readiness to truly win big.

 So what are some tips when it comes to the mental side of the game? Read on to find out.

Let Go of the Fear

Fear in poker is a good thing because it helps you survive. However, being too scared to make plays because you've bought in with a hefty amount is a mistake you'll eventually regret. At the end of the day, poker is a game with an element of risk. Being too attached to the money you invested will prevent you from playing aggressively and taking calculated risks, things which are essential to success when on the felts. So stop worrying about whether you're going to hit a bad beat and focus on playing your top-quality game.

Believe That You Can Win

Playing poker requires confidence, which you are sure to have. However, many times players who make it past the bubble get caught up in the fact that they are now 'in the money'. Relaxing too much when the playing field has narrowed to only the best can have lethal consequences to the rest of your time in the tournament.

Players who make it close to the top also think they have done 'good enough' and are probably not able win at the final table. While the chances of coming first are always slim, you only make it worse by believing you can't do it.

So don’t doubt that you can beat the pro in front of you. You may not always win, but you'll give yourself the chance and eventually come good.

 Stay Patient When Losing

It may just happen that you play the perfect game and still lose a big pot due to variance. You're now sitting with just a handful of Big Blinds with an extremely small stack. Most beginner players are unable to control their emotions at this stage and just push all-in with the first half-decent hand they get. More often than not, their hands don’t hold up to other good player calls.

Even when short-stacked, the possibilities to steal blinds and bluff opponents by value-betting at the right time do exist. You will also get more opportunities to use your threat of going all-in more subtly and effectively, thereby getting people to fold more often when you want them to.

 So don’t just look to shove pre-flop when you're short-stacked. Tighten up and play aggressive when the chance presents itself, even if it takes time.

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Strategy tips for Poker Tournament

For the serious poker player, participating in tournaments is an absolute must if you're looking to grow in the game. With attractive entry rates, guaranteed prize pools and great winnings, India's tournament poker circuit is in a great phase, and you should look to take advantage of it. 

If you're new to tournament poker however, you may be nervous about spending on entry fees and then crashing out early. Don’t worry though, we've got some great tips to help you make it through to the later stages of tournaments. 

Play Tight

In the early rounds of a poker tournament, the blinds are small in comparison to your stack, meaning it's easy to keep calling with mediocre hands in the hope you hit something on the flop. This is a mistake made by many beginners and is something you should absolutely not do. 

The blinds may be small, but ten hands in you'll suddenly find that your stack is a lot shallower if you aren't winning. Even if you do get the chance to double up, it’ll be on a smaller stack and so the rewards won't be quite as great. 

If you find yourself at a table with a lot of players like this then you're in luck. When you have a good hand/and or are in position, don’t be afraid to raise the pre-flop bet by 3X or 4X. Players without a good hand will usually fold, but loose beginners will still likely call. Even if you don’t hit anything on the flop, small continuation-bets are still a good idea because such players are also likely not to hit anything.

Overall, being tight but playing good hands aggressively will net you big winnings against such players in the long run. 

Play from late positions

Position is critical to success in any poker game, and this applies equally to tournaments. Not only does the relative value of each hand go up the later you play at the table, but you also get more information on your opponents hands when they bet first. 

Eg. If you are holding 5-6 suited and are playing early, it usually best to fold because you don’t know how the opponent after you is going to play. If he makes a steep raise, you'll be forced to fold and give up the money you put in the pot. However, if you are last to bet and everyone before you has simply called, then you are in a much safer position to call as well, letting you see the flop. 

This also works with pot sizes. When last to play you get to see how large the pot is, basis which you can decide if it makes sense to call with your hand. If everyone before you has played and you only have to make a small bet to see the flop, then in many cases it makes sense to call. 

Practice in Free-To-Play Tournaments

PokerBaazi lets you take part in free-entry tournaments and earn money. Not only can this help you practice and improve your tourney game, but you can also bankroll your tournament entries from these winnings. With a game happening every 10 minutes, it's a great way to start your journey in poker tournaments. 

Free Entry Tournaments

Get into big events through satellite tournaments

Satellite tournaments (Sattys) are smaller qualifying events with low entry fees that let you take part in the bigger tourneys if you win. As such, they are a great boon and a must-play for good poker players who want to maximise their winnings with a small investment. 

For example, PokerBaazi's GameChanger tournament with a guaranteed prize pool of Rs. 2 Crore has an entry fee of INR 5,500. However, you can take part in sattys on PokerBaazi for just INR 250 and win an entry to the tournament at a much cheaper rate!





Note: This article deals with starting hands in Texas Hold 'em Poker.

One of the basic mistakes that new poker players make is playing too many hands. This mistake does not get caught out when a group of beginners are playing together, but it can lead to heavy losses in online games.

While it can be tempting to see the flop and see how your hand plays out, good players can use their cards to control the game even before the flop is seen. Understanding the strength of your hand pre-flop can help you make the right plays according to the situation, maximising your returns in the long run.

So whether it's cash games or tournaments, these hands are a must-know:

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Great Hands

  • Pocket Pairs from Aces through to 10s
  • Ace-King to Ace-Jack (suited and unsuited)
  • KQ, KJ, QJ, J10 (suited)

These are some of the best hands you can be holding pre-flop. With pocket pairs and hands with Aces, we recommend playing aggressively regardless of your position. When it's on your turn you should raise, and if someone raised before then you should re-raise.

The other hands are still strong and can be played from any position, but require a little more thinking in case your opponent might also have a good hand.

Whenever you get these hole cards though, try and make the most of them and win a big pot!

Good Hands

  • Pocket pairs from 9s to 6s
  • Ace-10 (suited & unsuited) , Ace-9, Ace-8 (suited)
  • KQ, QJ, J10 (unsuited)
  • K10, K9, Q10, Q9 (suited)

 While these are all good hands, they become much stronger when in a late position from where you can call or raise. This because playing later lets you gain information from other players and determine the strength of the table.

In early positions, you will only want to play the better half of these hands and avoid cards like K9 suited. On a player where everyone tends to call pre-flop rather than raise, these can be good hands. Otherwise, on an experienced table where players raise a lot pre-flop, you'll want to be more selective about how you play.

OK Hands

  • Pocket pairs from 5s to 2s
  • Ace-7 to Ace-2 (suited & unsuited)

While it's always nice to have pocket-pairs or hold an Ace, it can be dangerous to get carried away with such hands.

Small pocket pairs can be great if you hit your set, but otherwise become largely redundant because the chance of other players having a larger pair post-flop become quite high.

The case can be similar with an Ace and low kicker. You might hit the Ace-pair, but if your opponent is betting aggressively then it is likely they have the same pair a higher kicker. 

It's best to play such hands in a late position almost exclusively, because if you call and betting escalates, then it's unlikely your hole cards will be good enough. It's better to fold pocket 2s when your first to call if the table is aggressive, otherwise you'll just lose your money on an aggressive table.


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