There are several meanings in card games. The record for the number of meanings was set by the term cap in poker. There are at least five interpretations in total.

What does cap mean in poker

In card games, several secondary translations are used for the word Cap: “lid”, “top”, “plug”. In general, a cap in poker is a limitation, a maximum, a limit of something.

The main translation options for Cap: “cap” or “hat”.


Visitors to casinos and poker clubs in English-speaking countries use this short word in a broader sense, unlike Russian players, meaning any financial maximum in bets or payouts. Three main meanings have taken root in Russian.

in rail

Rake cap is the maximum commission that a poker room can take. Usually the organizer withholds 5% of the value of the pot from the hand. The cap allows you to reduce the costs of players when a large pot is formed. The upper limit of the commission also depends on the number of participants who received the cards.

5% rake is a lot. Indeed, in this case, the commission from winnings is an average of 8.5%. And this is if several participants in the distribution are watching the 6-max flop on the table.

When evaluating the range

In poker, it is necessary to evaluate the strength of the opponent’s combination. The set of possible opponent’s hands is a range. Synonyms for the term are spectrum and range. The range is evaluated based on statistics, board structure, opponent’s position and his previous actions.

A cap for a range of hands is a limitation on the strength of an opponent’s combinations post-flop. In such a situation, poker players say: “He can’t have that.” For example, a set or a flush.

For a situation where some strong combinations are impossible, there is the term Capped Range. There are two translation options: “capped” or “capped” range.

Example 1. Let the opponent 3-bet preflop and the flop was 8-6-4 offsuit. Villain’s 3-Bet stat is 5. These are JJ+ and AQ+. On the flop, the opponent has a capped range: there are no sets and two pairs in it – only an overpair is possible.

Example 2: The preflop raiser bet on the flop and turn. The river hit the flush. The aggressor checked. There was a situation of capping the range of combinations on the river: the opponent does not have a flush, otherwise he would bet at least a little to add.

Limit Poker

Otherwise, these disciplines are called “fixed limit” or “limited” (Fixed Limit or simply Limit). In such games, there is a rule of three raises (raises) in each street. In this case, the value of the first bet is limited.

Distribution example. Let two players have good combinations on the flop. Both want to invest as much money as possible. The one who moves first has the right to put only one chip. An increase is also possible only by one chip – “flat”.

No limit game

There are several tables marked CAP in the PokerStars No Limit Hold’em lobby section. It’s simple: each participant in the hand can only post 20 big blinds. This counts as an all-in. In fact, the game is played with an effective stack of 20 bb, regardless of the number of opponents’ chips.

Offline games

In Russian offline clubs, both the staff and the opponents will understand all three of the listed meanings of the term “cap”. Sometimes there is a non-standard use of the word.

One of the translation options for Cap is “to cover from above”. The expression can be used by an English-speaking participant in the distribution, using chips as a card protector. That is, he put a stack on the cards, which means he is not going to fold.

This is done in situations where it is necessary to move away from the table for half a minute. If you do not put protection on the cards, the dealer will immediately take them to the fold when the participant in the distribution is not in place.

Another option for using the action is to put chips on potentially losing cards with which the poker player is going to call all-in. This is a signal to the dealer: “Don’t take it, I didn’t give up!”

In casino disciplines (Oasis Poker, Hold’em, etc.), placing chips on cards seriously speeds up the pace of distributions. When a visitor does this, the dealer may not ask the poker player if he is playing. If chips equal to the Bet bet are placed on the cards, the croupier immediately opens his box.

At home games

In casino clubs, the distribution is controlled by cameras and a dealer. This is not the case in home games. In an unfamiliar company, they often agree to limit the number of raises in a round or in a hand. Such a cap is introduced to protect against collusion, so that two dishonest players cannot increase rates indefinitely.

Advantages and disadvantages

It’s about the cap in no-limit hold’em. This format is available on PokerStars in 2023. Cap-tables will be useful in the following situations:

Transition from tournaments to cash. The specifics of games for money are complex decisions with a stack of 100 bb. In most modern tournaments, the average stack at the end of the tournament is almost always less than 50 bb.

Finishing a protracted tournament session. This is a situation when by 5:00 am Moscow time there are 1-2 events left that are simply boring to complete. The problem of game tone is solved by opening 2-3 cap tables.

Promotion by limits in the cache. With a small pot size, a possible loss in the distribution is not terrible – adaptation to a higher level of blinds will be easier.

The format has an advantage for fans of excitement. It’s one thing to risk 100bb on regular tables, but it’s another to bet all-ins for luck at a cap table.

In general, CAP cannot be considered for a permanent game. The reason is the inability to beat the rake of the poker room.

In cash, the main money is made in large banks – when 100 bb are exposed. In this case, the rake can be overcome. It is noticed that the game with a stack of 40 bb is near zero in the long run. But on cap tables this limit is 2 times lower – 20 bb.

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