The homeland of poker is considered to be the Prairies of the Wild West, and the first players of this super-popular card game were cowboys. Many poker fans are interested in the origin of poker terminology, as most of the names have caught on in Russian or have been interpreted in their own way.
The game begins even before the moment when the participants see the cards of their starting hand – making obligatory blind bets – the small and big blinds, then they look at their cards and make the first decisions – this is the first street of poker.
But already from the flop, activity begins, which will keep everyone in intrigue until the showdown. Bidding in poker is a confrontation between players and with each new street they become more serious and more interesting.
Let’s take it in order, street in poker is a stage of the game consisting of several events, namely the handing of cards, the opening of common cards on the board and the bidding. In English, streets are called Street and the word has nothing to do with the existing combination Straight, which, by the way, should be pronounced in Russian as Straight, not Street.
In the bidding of all poker streets, the stakes are gradually raised and the pot of the game is formed and increased. Some manage to strengthen their hand, while others leave the game by folding bad cards.
A lot of confusion is caused by the word Street as the name of a poker combination, which has taken root among Russian-speaking poker players. The fact is that the consonant English word Street is translated as “street”, so a completely logical question arises: why is it used to denote a combination of several consecutive cards at face value, if each round of betting in a poker hand is also called a street?
In fact, the answer is very simple: the name of this combination in English is Straight, it is not “street”, as the combination is often called, it’s “straight”. This word can be translated as “sequence” or “order”. The incorrect pronunciation is the result of an interpretation that has become common in the poker environment of Russian-speaking players.
The English Street means what it should – one of the distribution rounds. Since the name “Street” has taken root in Russian for a combination, in books, articles and specialized sites dedicated to poker topics, it is customary to use the Russian word “street” by default to indicate the phase of the game. This way you can avoid confusion and put everything in its place.
In those types of poker where community cards are provided, such as Texas Hold’em and Omaha poker, the names of the streets and their order are the same. In Omaha, players have more personal cards, and the same number will come out on the board.
Let’s take Texas Hold’em as an example. So there are four streets in poker – preflop, flop, turn and river in that order.
Preflop – first street in poker
Preflop – the time when the players receive their pocket cards (starting hand), while there are not more than one in common. Recall that until the moment when the players see their two cards, they must make blind bets – blinds, and in some cases – antes.
The flop is second street in poker
Three community cards appear on the flop, the post-flop period begins from this street. This street is where the most community cards are dealt and players can evaluate the range of available or potential options to improve their starting hand (pocket two cards).
The turn is the third street in poker
The street of the turn opens up another one for the participants – the fourth community card. At this stage, everyone has six cards to make or improve the combination, as well as try to understand the range of possible hands of their opponents. This is the penultimate street and the game is already quite intense.
River – fourth street in poker
On the river, players have seven cards – two personal and five community cards in order to collect the best possible hand. More precisely, to strengthen the combinations collected on the previous streets. By the river, often, the number of participants is significantly reduced. The river is the last chance to gain strength, there will be no further cards.
The end of the game is a showdown – each player who has reached this stage reveals his cards, here everyone can already see the cards of opponents and the strength of their hands, and the winner is determined by the available five-card combinations.
On each of the streets of poker, players are bidding – competing with each other, making decisions. Only after it is completed, the game will continue and move to the next street.
It is important to know that in those types of poker where the rules provide for blinds, “positions” change after each completed round, the “positions” change – no one, of course, moves anywhere.
But those participants who bet first – the small blind (SB) and the big blind (BB) preflop and made the decision (make any bets) the last of all, will now be in a less advantageous position and will be the first to “walk” at the postflop stages . This means that they will not see the actions of their opponents. Recall that the blinds are made by the players sitting first to the left of the button (the participant with the dealer’s chip or from the croupier).
Summing up, let’s repeat the main material again. Poker street is a term for a specific hand. There are four of these streets in total and they go in the following strict order – preflop, flop, turn and river. Each post-flop street gives players the opportunity to improve their hand with community cards.
The game starts with the handing out of pocket cards – this is the preflop, then comes the flop – three common cards are placed on the board, after bidding the flop we move on to the next street – the turn. On the turn there is a fourth community card and again after bidding on the turn we go to the river street.
The last community card will open on the river – card number five – it will be a coveted out for someone – the missing card to strengthen the combination, and for someone a reason to fold and leave the game without waiting for the showdown.
Of course, bidding on any street in poker is done in a certain order, and each player must speak his word exactly when his turn comes. But then the question arises – who will be the first to say this word?
Especially since the player who bidding last is considered to have an advantage over the other biddings, as he can already get a rough idea of the strength of their hands from their bets.
A concept used in poker to define the order of bidding is the “button”. It is essentially a chip that moves clockwise around the table each hand. At the same time, the player who is in the position of the button is the last to say his word in bidding, therefore he is in the most advantageous position. And the two players who sit immediately after him must put their obligatory bets pre-flop – the small and big blind.
Exploring the origins of poker terminology is an exciting and thought-provoking experience.