The release of neurotransmitter from synaptic vesicles represents the final event by which presynapses send their chemical signal to the receiving postsynapses. Prior to fusion, synaptic vesicles undergo a series of maturation events, most notably the membrane-delimited docking and priming steps. Physiological and optical experiments with high-time resolution have allowed the distinction of vesicles in different maturation states with respect to fusion, the so-called vesicle pools. In this review, we define the various vesicle pools and discuss pathways leading into and out of these pools. We also provide an overview of an array of proteins that have been identified or are speculated to play a role in the transition between the various vesicle pools.