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Poker: Advanced Betting


Advanced Betting: The title may be a little confusing. There’s advanced betting maneuvers? There sort of are, actually. I guess I could have called it “More on Betting” but this is a confusing section and Advanced sounds appropriate.

See, one of the things about poker is that there are “No Limit” games, meaning that at these games, there is no limit to how much a player can bet at any single time in any round. One of the things about these games is that pots then have to be sorted to track who has money where and who has dibs on what.

Let’s say we have four players. Let’s do a chip count for them:
Player One: 2000
Player Two: 1800
Player Three: 3600
Player Four: 4000

That’s a decent range of money there. Now, for the sake of betting, let’s say that Player Two goes “All In” (meaning they put all their money in the pot). Everyone that wants to stay in has to put at least 1800 in. Note I say at least. Well, if they want to put more in, Player Two shouldn’t have access to it, and he doesn’t. Since he’s the person with the least money (the “short stack”), and he’s all in, his money goes into the main pot and all future bets go into a side pot. If Player Two wins the round, he gets the main pot. Then, everyone else looks at their hands, and whoever has the second best hand wins the side pot.

Things can get confusing when multiple people with different betting amounts all go “all in.” At that point, if Players One, Two, and Three were all in on that round, Player Two would have access only to the main pot, Player One would have access to the main and one side pot, and Players Three and Four would have access to all three pots (since they both could pony up all the cash to play). That’s an extreme example, but it does happen.

To save your sanity, and hopefully give you a better comprehension of what I just said, here are some illustrations:

So here's those players I told you about. As you can see, I've given them all the chips they need to play that round. Chip counts are marked so you can easily follow along.

Player Two goes "all in." His "1800" is added to the main pot, and that makes the default bet that everyone has to match or beat "1800."

Player Three matches (for now) the "1800" bet, which goes into the main pot. That leaves him with "1800" still in his posession.

Player Four also matches, putting his "1800" in the main pot.
That leaves him with "2200" in his posession.

Player One starts the big difficulty now. He goes "all in" also, which puts "1800" of his chips into the main pot. But, he still has "200" left over. That means that "200" goes into a side pot. Player Two will get skipped since he has all his money in already.

We'll take a moment to let the Dealer clean up the chips into a more manageable pile.

To add to the fun (and potential confusion), Player Three also goes "all in." Now, remember, he already put in the base bet of "1800" that's in the main pot. That's covered. All he has to put in now is at least "200" to match the side pot. But no, he goes all in, so now we have the Old Side Pot, which is "200" from any player with enough money that's staying in (which also leave Player Three with "1600"), and a New Side Pot, which is made up of the "1600" Player Three has left to put in.

And finally, Player Four matches all the bets. Of his original "2200" from the prvious cycle past him, he puts "200" into the old side pot, and "1600" into the new side pot. He is left with "400" of his own money that, for this round, he can't do anything with.

So what do the players do now? Since all but one person are "all in," everyone would show their cards. The rest of the cards for the hand would be dealt out, and everyone would wait to see who wins. As a breakdown:

Player Two can win only from the Main Pot.
Player One can win from the main pot and the old side pot.
Player Three and Four can win all three pots, if their hands can beat the other players.

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