What is Board?
The term board is associated with many things across the casino industry, some of which include regulatory boards, tote boards, and the betting expression across the board. The term can also refer to the decorated surface of a table game such as poker or craps.
However, its most common usage relates to a set of cards in poker – specifically, it is the selection of community cards in a game of poker. These cards are the ones that are dealt face up by the dealer, and all the players can see and use them as part of their hand.
In a game of poker, the term board describes the set of cards that have been dealt face up on the table for all players to see.
In community poker games, these are commonly called the community cards. Community cards are always dealt with their face towards the players, and they are available for all players to use as part of their final hand – hence the name community card.
In stud poker games, the word board can refer to either the face-up cards of one specific player, or the entire collection of face-up cards on the table.
Because the table top on which poker and other such games are played can also be referred to itself as the board, it makes sense for the cards associated with the central point of the game to also be named thusly.
Depending on what is on the board, the poker players at the table will be able to combine their face-down cards – otherwise known as hole cards – with those laid face-up on the table to make the best hand that they possibly can. If the player is unable to put together a valuable hand from the board, they are able to fold – that is, forfeit interest in the current hand or round. If they do this, they are out of the running for the pot.
The success of the poker player, then, depends largely on what is presented by the board.