What is Good?

In poker, ‘good’ has various meanings depending on the context in which it is used. It can mean a legitimate hand or game which meets house rules, or a qualifying hand in a game where this applies. It can also mean a winning hand, often where an opponent declines to show their hand and instead submits to the winner. ‘Good’ also describes a player who is betting to ‘make good’ or protect their blind ‘investment’, and it appears in lowball poker to describe a ‘smooth’ hand with a high card with the lowest possible straight.

Good Explained

Poker players might use the word ‘good’ in many different ways, and you will have to listen to how and where they use it to figure out what they mean. In its simplest sense, ‘good’ means fair and above board, or legitimate and legal. A ‘good’ hand is one that qualifies for the game (for example, having a starting pair) and which cannot be declared ‘foul’, i.e. it has been properly dealt and handled.

‘Good’ also refers to a player who is seeking to protect a blind they made in the game, and who therefore opts to call even on a weak hand. The player is trying to ‘make good’ their investment, so they bet to stay in the game and see it through – presumably hoping their opponents will fold.

During the showdown of a poker game, one player may show their cards and be declared the winner without their opponent showing their hand. The beaten player may simply say that the winning hand is ‘good’ and hand back their own cards, surrendering any claim to the pot in the process.

‘Good’ in this sense is an acknowledgement that another hand was better and has won the game.

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