Is poker a galactic battle of good and evil for the soul of the universe? No. So why do we call each other Hero and Villain?
Sometimes we explain concepts in the Poker Basics series and other times we just explain the odd terminology we have in poker.
One such example of the confusing lexicon in the game is how we describe ourselves and other players in a hand. When you discuss a hand with friends, you have the Hero and the Villain.
That might make poker sound like it takes itself very seriously, but in reality it is just a simplified way of describing ourselves (the Hero) and our opponent (the Villain).
A way to put yourself in another’s shoes
The phrasing started in the early days of online poker on the forums and is just a tongue-in-cheek way of differentiating ourselves from our opponent.
It is also a way for us to put ourselves in the shoes of another player in a hand history. We cannot say “I had pocket sevens’ in a hand we did not play, but when we say ‘Hero has pocket sevens’ we can imagine ourselves in the position and give our strategy insights accordingly. You can even replay a hand from your opponent’s perspective, making them the Hero and you the Villain.
Of course the Hero is by no means heroic, and the Villain is not guaranteed to have done something wrong, but in the moment it certainly feels that way.