Flop, Turn & River: What Do They Mean in Poker?
Along with roulette and blackjack, poker is one of the most popular casino games in the world. This complex game calls for focus and skill, making it exciting and attractive.
To play poker successfully, you should first understand its rules. In addition to being aware of poker hand rankings, you should also learn about the betting rounds, namely poker flop river turn.
While there are different poker variations with different structures, these betting rounds are present in two of the most frequently-played variations — Texas Hold’em and Omaha. Keep scrolling to learn more about what flop, river, and turn mean in poker and why these terms are essential for players.
Actions in Poker
In poker, the goal is to make as strong of a poker hand as you can using your two hole cards and at least three community cards. Hole cards are the two cards the dealer deals to each player at the beginning of the game, and they are dealt face down.
- Check — If no players before you have placed any bets during the current betting round, you can check or pass the action to the next player. The betting round moves in a clockwise direction.
- Bet — Players can choose to make a bet if no other players before them have made one during the current betting round. Other players must “call” or match that bet to stay in the round.
- Call — Calling in poker means that you match the bet other players before you have made. You must fold if the bet amount is too high for you to match.
- Fold — To fold in a poker betting round means to discard your cards and stop participating in the current hand. Players usually fold if they don’t have enough money to call or think they have weak cards.
- Raise — Raising in poker means placing a bet that exceeds the amount of the previously-made bet. Players can raise only if other players have made bets during the current round. If the player before you raises, you must either call, fold, or raise again.
On the other hand, community cards are cards dealt face up so all players can see them. Community cards are dealt in stages during the game, with each stage followed by a betting round.
Before we answer questions like “What is a ‘flop’ in poker?”, let’s discuss the actions players can take during a betting round. Each poker game starts with players placing the ante bet and the dealer dealing two hole cards to each participating player. After that, a pre-flop betting round ensues, requiring that players make one of the following moves:
In addition to the pre-flop betting round, players can make these moves in all other betting rounds. Participants make their decisions based on their cards and other players’ behavior during the betting round. The flop river turn poker has four betting rounds, as you will see below.
What Is the Flop in Poker?
The first three community cards the dealer reveals are known as the flop in poker. After the first betting round is finished, the dealer will “burn” or discard the card on top of the deck on the off chance that the card has been compromised or revealed.
The dealer will then deal the first three community cards face up in the middle of the table. With three out of five community cards exposed, players can then evaluate the hands they may be able to make in combination with their hole cards. These evaluations help them make decisions for the next betting round.
Over the years, many have speculated about why the name “flop” is used for the first three community cards. The most popular theory is that the term comes from the sound the cards make when the dealer reveals them.
What Is the Turn in Poker?
After players have bet on the flop, the dealer deals another community card. This is called the turn or fourth street. Players now have two hole cards and four community cards to make their five-card hand. After the dealer deals the fourth card, players bet again.
One possible explanation as to why the term “turn” is used for the fourth community card is that this card can turn the tide of the game. According to other accounts, however, the flop used to be called “turn”. After its new name became commonly used, the term “turn” passed over to the next community card.
What Is the River in Poker?
The final and most eagerly awaited community card in a game of poker is called the river. Also known as the fifth street, the river reveals all five community cards, making it clear what kind of poker hand each player can make.
The players still in the game evaluate their hands and bet accordingly. After the betting round is complete, players show their hole cards, and the best hand wins. Players can use one, both, or none of their hole cards to make a hand, but they must use at least three of the community cards.
The term river is speculated to originate from the fact that poker was a popular game on Mississippi gambling riverboats in the 1800s. Players who would cheat at the end of the game and get caught would be thrown overboard into the river, thus the name of the fifth poker card.
Another possible origin is from the French verb “river”, which means “to clinch” or “to settle”. Indeed, the river settles the hand, and the winner takes their prize home.
Now that you know what the terms flop, turn, and river mean in poker, you can start to perfect your poker skills and strategies. Your actions in these three game stages can make or break your gambling budget. Therefore, make sure to pay close attention to your cards and the actions of other players, so you can get the best result possible.