What is ‘In the Pocket’?
Any cards dealt ‘in the pocket’ are for use solely by that individual, unlike community cards which are shared by all players in that round. ‘In the pocket’ is also a slang term used by poker cheats to describe a card temporarily withdrawn from the game, with the intention of returning it at an opportune moment.
’In the Pocket’ Explained
If a poker player talks about cards ‘in the pocket’, they are referring to any card which is hidden from the rest of the table and which is available for use solely by that player. It describes the cards more commonly known as ‘hole cards’. The term is perhaps best known is games of hold’em poker, especially Texas Hold’em, where players receive two cards to their hand and share a further five with the table. The cards held ‘in the pocket’ are concealed from the rest of the table, and players must assemble a winning hand from the seven at their disposal. In stud games, cards dealt face down are also referred to as ‘in the pocket’.
The term also lends itself to some other poker phrases. A player with an A-A starting hand will often call this ‘pocket aces’ or ‘pocket rockets‘. In both high and low versions of poker, A-A is the best possible starting hand for a stud or hold’em player.
An offsuit hand with no chance of a straight, such as the 2-7 combination, is usually referred to as the worst hand to have ‘in the pocket’. Poker cheats also use the phrase to describe cards which are literally or figuratively held in the pocket; these cards have been removed from the game with the intention of bringing them back later.