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Poker All-in Betting Help

A player can never be forced out of a hand because he does not have enough chips to call a bet but ... a player can only win (from each opposing player) as many chips as he bets. If a player only puts 50 chips into a pot, he can only win 50 chips from each opposing player.

A side pot is a pot containing the chips over and above what an all-in player has contributed to the main pot. For example, if two players each bet 100 chips and a third player goes all-in with 60 chips - there would be a main pot of 180 (60 x 3) and a side pot of 80 (40 x 2). All three players would be eligible to win the main pot but only the two players who contributed chips to the side pot would be eligible to win that side pot.

It can get complicated when two or more players go all-in, causing multiple side pots. As a general rule - the first player to go all-in is eligible for only the main pot, the next all-in player is eligible for the first side pot and the main pot, the next all-in player is eligible for the second side pot and the first side pot and the main pot, etc..

What Happens When a Player Can't Cover a Blind? (All-in on a Blind)

1.  The minimum bring-in and allowable raise sizes for the opener are specified by the poker form used and blind amounts set for a game. They remain the same even when the player in the blind does not have enough chips to post the full amount. Robert's Rules - Section 4 - Button and Blind Use

2.  The minimum bet size is the amount of the minimum bring-in, unless the player is going all-in. The minimum bring-in is the size of the big blind unless the structure of the game is preset by the house to some other amount (such as double the big blind). The minimum bet remains the same amount on all betting rounds. If the big blind does not have sufficient chips to post the required amount, a player who enters the pot on the initial betting round is still required to enter for at least the minimum bet (unless going all-in for a lesser sum) and a preflop raiser must at least double the size of the big blind. At all other times, when someone goes all-in for less than the minimum bet, a player has the option of just calling the all-in amount. If a player goes all-in for an amount that is less than the minimum bet, a player who wishes to raise must raise at least the amount of the minimum bet. For example, if the minimum bet is $100, and a player goes all-in on the flop for $20, a player may fold, call $20, or raise to at least a total of $120. Robert's Rules - Section 14 - No Limit and Pot Limit

If a player in the big blind position does not have enough chips to post a full big blind, he must go all-in with all his remaining chips. Even though this all-in bet is less than the full big blind, the 'bring-in' (minimum bet) is not lowered for the other players. If the blinds are 100-200 and the big blind goes all-in with 125 chips - the other players must still post 200 to remain in the pot. The 'bring-in' remains at 200 and the small blind must post 100 additional chips to call (assuming no raises). The big blind player all-in for 125 may only win 125 from each other player in the hand, he cannot win the full 200 big blind from each player.

Example: Assume the blinds are 200-400. The small blind posts 200 but the big blind posts only 150 (all-in) instead of 400. The remaining players must call the normal big blind bet of 400 to remain in the pot. The bring-in (opening bet) is not lowered to 150. The small blind must add an additional 200 to the pot to stay in the hand (assuming no raises). The big blind (all-in) player may only win as many chips as he bet (150) from each opposing player. A twist to this example is that if one player calls the 400 big blind and then the small blind folds, the player who called is refunded 300 from the pot instead of 250. He receives 250 to make his bet equal to the big blind all-in bet of 150 and he also receives 50 of the 200 bet that the small blind posted. The pot is now 450 (150 x 3 players).

Awarding Pots

Award the pots in reverse order to how they were created. The main pot is awarded last and the final side pot is awarded first. Begin by awarding the final side pot to the winner of the card showdown. The winner of that pot then has a showdown with the preceding all-in player (the preceding side pot created) and the winner of that goes against the preceding all-in player(s) until the main pot has been awarded.

All-in Betting Examples

Two Players

PlayerA bets 100
PlayerB goes all-in with his remaining 60 chips

There are now two pots:

  • Main pot contains 120 (60 from PlayerA and 60 from PlayerB).

  • Side pot contains 40 from PlayerA and 0 from PlayerB. PlayerB is not eligible to win this pot.

PlayerA automatically wins the side pot since PlayerB did not contribute to it (A player can only win as many chips as he bets). There is a card showdown between the two players for the main pot (120).

Note: In a situation such as this - the dealer will not actually create a sidepot (place the chips in a separate pile on the table). What usually happens is PlayerA moves 100 chips forward as his bet, PlayerB then moves 60 chips forward as his (all-in) bet, the dealer then removes 40 chips from PlayerA's bet and returns them to him, the dealer then scoops 60 chips from each player into the pot.

Three Players

PlayerA bets 100
PlayerB goes all-in for 60
PlayerC calls the original 100 bet

There are two pots:

  • Main pot contains 180 (60 from players A, B and C).

  • Side pot contains 80 (40 from PlayerA, 0 from PlayerB, 40 from PlayerC). PlayerB is not eligible to win this pot.

Place the main pot in front of (or towards) PlayerB, it will be awarded last, after all other pots. You place the pot in front of, or near, PlayerB to remind you that these are the chips that he is eligible to win (and no more!).

Place the side pot between PlayerA and PlayerC to remind you that further betting may take place between these two players (PlayerB has no chips remaining). Place any additional bets into this side pot.

Note that the actual location of the main and side pots is immaterial. It may be easiest to leave the main pot in the middle of the table and locate the side pot off to the side of the table. Use whatever method you prefer.

Award the pots in reverse order - award the sidepot first and then the winner of the sidepot faces off against the all-in player. In this case you would award the side pot to the winner of PlayerA vs. PlayerC and then award the main pot to the winner of the side pot vs. PlayerB.

Multiple Side Pots

PlayerA bets 100
PlayerB goes all-in for 60
PlayerC calls the original 100 bet
PlayerD raises to 500
PlayerA goes all-in by betting his remaining 250
PlayerC calls by betting 400

There is now one main pot and two side pots.

  • Main pot contains 240 (60 from players A, B, C, and D).

  • Side pot contains 870 (270 from players A, C, and D). PlayerB is not eligible to win this pot.

  • Another side pot contains 300 (150 from players C and D). PlayerA and PlayerB are not eligible to win this pot.

There is a main pot of 240 between all 4 players.
4 players x 60 all-in bet of PlayerB.
This main pot should be placed in front of PlayerB.

There is a side pot of 870 between Players A, C and D.
3 players x (350 - 60 already in the main pot).
This side pot should be placed in front of PlayerA.

There is also another side pot of 300 between Players C and D.
2 players x (500 - 290 - 60).
This side pot should be placed somewhere between these two players.

Example 1

A bets 50
B calls all-in 20
C calls all-in 30

Main pot contains 3 x 20 = 60
Side pot with A and C contains 2 x 10 = 20.
A gets back 20 regardless of the outcome.

Cards are dealt and A > B > C
Side pot showdown between A and C is done first so A gets 20.
Main pot showdown between A and B is done next and A gets 60.

Cards are dealt and B > C > A
Side pot showdown between A and C is done first so C gets 20.
Main pot showdown between C and B is done next and B gets 60.

Cards are dealt and C > A > B
Side pot showdown between A and C is done first so C gets 20.
Main pot showdown between C and B is done next and C gets 60.

Example 2

These examples are a bit more mathematical.

A player goes all in for x.
Take the number of players, n, who put at least x in the pot.
x
*n goes in the main pot. Everything else goes in the side pot.

Example:

A bets 10
B calls
C goes all-in for 7
D calls

37 was bet on this betting round
x = 7
n = 4
Main pot = 7*4 = 28
Side pot = 37-28 = 9

Example 3

A bets 10
B calls
C goes all-in for 7
D raises to 20
A calls
B raises to 30
D calls
A folds

$87 was bet on this betting round.
x = 7
n = 4
Main pot = 7*4 = 28
Side pot = 87-28 = 59

Example 4

It gets tougher when there are multiple all-ins and multiple side pots, but the principle is the same.

A bets 10
B calls
C goes all-in for 7
D raises to 20
A goes all-in for 12 (total).
B raises to 30.
D calls.

x(C)=7
n = 4
Main pot = 7*4 = 28 (eligible to A, B, C, D)

x(A) = 5 (12-7 already in the main pot)
n = 3 (C is not in this side pot)
Side pot 1 = 5*3 = 15 (eligible to A, B, and D)

x(BD) = 18 (30-12 already in the other pots)
n = 2 (A and C are not in this side pot)
Side pot 2 = 18*2 = 36 (eligible to B and D)

Example 5

Here is a graphical example.

Player A: #####(all-in)
Player B: ##########(stayed/paid to the end)
Player C: ########(all-in)
Player D: ##########(stayed/paid to the end)
Player E: ##(folded)

Player E can't win anything

Because he folded ...
Player A can win a maximum of 22 (5 from A-D, and 2 from player E).
Player C can win a maximum of 31 (5 from A, 8 from B-D, and 2 from E).
Players B and D can win everything (35).

The pots are:
Main pot: 5a + 5b + 5c + 5d + 2e = 22
Side pot 1: 3b + 3c + 3d = 9
Side pot 2: 2b + 2d = 4

Side pot 2 between B and D is awarded (4) first,
then Side pot 1 between B, C, and D is awarded (9),
then the main pot between A, B, C, and D is awarded (22).

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