Reading Poker Hands

When learning how to become a poker dealer in Las Vegas, reading poker hands is paramount in the training process. At our dealing school, Gold Star School of Gaming, we will make sure you have a firm understanding of the poker basics.

After Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in 2003, poker’s popularity exploded.  An event that used to attract hundreds now attracts tens of thousands of competitors in several different events and side games throughout Las Vegas.

Every spring the WSOP coordinators begin hiring dealers.  In 2012, Gold Star School of Gaming sent 15 students to audition for the series and 100% of our students who auditioned were hired.  Our success is due to the dedication and knowledge of our teaching staff.

Whether you are interested in learning poker to deal for the WSOP tournament or if you would like to deal in a card room year round, Gold Star School of Gaming will provide an excellent foundation.  You will of course begin by learning the Poker hand rankings and reading Poker hands (see below).

The most popular game in poker right now is currently Texas Hold’em.  Most students enter the school with a basic knowledge of Hold’em, so it’s easiest to begin there.  There are three types of poker games, as described below, and perhaps it’s easiest to read an example of dealing Limit Texas Hold’em to comprehend quickly.

  • ***************
  • Limit: Limit Poker has fixed betting limits.  Examples of games include: 1/2 Limit, 2/4 Limit, 3/6 Limit, etc.  The betting on the Pre-Flop and Flop are in increments of the first number.  The betting on the Turn and River are in increments of the second number.
  • No Limit: No Limit Poker has no betting ceiling each round.  Examples of games include: 1/2 No Limit, 2/4 No Limit, 3/6 No Limit, etc.  These numbers refer to the size of the small and big blinds.  In a 2/4 No Limit game, the small blind is 2 and the big blind is 4.
  • Pot Limit: Pot Limit Poker is similar to No Limit Poker in that a 4/8 Pot Limit game has a small blind of 4 and a big blind of 8.  But rather than having no limit, the betting may not exceed the size of the pot.  The maximum amount a player can raise is the amount in the pot after the call is made.  If a pot is $100 and someone makes a $50 bet, the maximum a subsequent player can bet is $250.  He can call the $50 bet and raise it to $200, making it a total of $250.
  • ***************

Poker definitely has its own language.  You will want to learn Poker card room lingo and Poker tournament vocabulary to be a successful dealer.  In other table games, players play against the house, so dealer errors are generally given favorable results to players, in an effort to provide excellent customer service.  In Poker, however, players play against one another, so dealer mistakes have a very specific procedure.

In addition to teaching Texas Hold’em, we will also make sure you are well versed in games such as Seven Card Stud, Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo, Seven Card Lo “Razz,” Five Card Stud, Omaha Hold’em, Omaha Hi/Lo, H.O.R.S.E., and a variety of other WSOP offerings.

Here are examples of nicknames for poker hands/situations:

Boat(Also called Full Boat): Full House

Bottom Pair: A pair with the lowest card on the board

Cards Speak: If there’s an error, the cards speak for themselves

Case: The last card of a certain rank in the deck. Example: If the flop is A-A-A, a player may have the case ace.

Crack : To beat a hand (esp. a big hand). Example: “My aces were cracked.”

Draw: A hand that is not yet good, but could become so if the right cards come.

Draw Dead : Trying to make a hand that, even if made, will not win. Ex: a player is drawing for a flush but another has a full house, the player is “drawing dead.”

Kicker: An unpaired card used to determine the better of two near-equivalent hands. If one player has A-K and another A-Q, A-K has a better kicker.

Nuts: The best possible hand. If the board is Ks-Jd-Ts-4s-2h, As-Xs is the nuts.

Out : A card that completes a hand. Ex: Any heart makes a flush, so that’s 9 outs.

Overcard: A card higher than any on the board. (Ex: A-Q and the flop is J-7-3)

Overpair : A pocket pair higher than any card on the flop.

Quads: Four of a kind.

Second Pair: A pair with the second highest card on the board. If a player has A-10 and flop is K-10-6, the player flopped second pair.  (A-K is an ex of top pair.)

Set/Trips: Three of a kind with two in your hand and one on the board.

Tell: A clue a player unknowingly gives about his hand.

Tilt : To play wildly or recklessly, typically from incurring a bad beat. A player is “on tilt” if he plays too many hands, tries wild bluffs, raises with bad hands, etc.

Top Set : The highest possible trips. Ex: 10-10, and the flop is 10-8-4.

Top Two : Two pair, with two hole cards pairing two highest cards on the board.

Wheel: A straight from ace through five.