All-in before the deal
If a player does not have sufficient money to cover the ante and blinds due, that player is automatically all-in for the coming hand. Any money the player holds must be applied to the ante first, and if the full ante is covered, the remaining money is applied towards the blind.
If a player is all-in for part of the ante, or the exact amount of the ante, an equal amount of every other player’s ante is placed in the main pot, with any remaining fraction of the ante and all blinds and further bets in the side pot.
If a player is all-in for part of a blind, all antes go into the main pot. Players to act must call the complete amount of the big blind to call, even if the all-in player has posted less than a full big blind. At the end of the betting round, the bets and calls will be divided into the main pot and side pot as usual.
- For example, Alice is playing at a table with 10 players in a tournament with an ante of $100 and blinds of $400/$800. Alice is due the big blind but she only has $800. She must pay the $100 ante and apply the remaining $700 towards the big blind, and she is all-in. Bob, next to act, calls $800, the full big blind amount. Carol raises to $1600 total. All remaining players fold, the small blind folds, and Bob folds. The amount in the main pot is $1000 (the sum of all antes) plus the full $400 small blind since Alice had this amount covered, plus $700 from Alice and every other player who called at least that amount, namely Bob and Carol. The main pot is therefore $1000+$400+$2100=$3500. The side pot of $1000 ($100 in excess of Alice’s all-in from Bob, and $900 in excess of Alice’s all-in from Carol) is payed immediately to Carol when Bob folds.
If a player goes all in with a raise rather than a call, another special rule comes into play. There are two options in common use: pot-limit and no-limit games usually use what is called the full bet rule, while fixed-limit and spread-limit games may use either the full bet rule or the half bet rule. The full bet rule states that if the amount of an all-in raise does not equal the full amount of the previous raise, it does not constitute a “real” raise, and therefore does not reopen the betting action. The half bet rule states that if an all-in raise is equal to or larger than half the bet being raised, it does constitute a raise and reopens the action.
- For example, a player opens the betting round for $20, and the next player has a total stake of $25. He may raise to $25, declaring himself all in, but this does not constitute a “real” raise, in the following sense: if a third player now calls the $25, and the first player’s turn to act comes up, he must now call the additional $5, but he does not have the right to reraise further. The all-in player’s pseudo-raise was really just a call with some extra money, and the third player’s call was just a call, so the initial opener’s bet was simply called by both remaining players, closing the betting round (even though he must still equalize the money by putting in the additional $5). If the half bet rule were being used, and the all-in player had raised to $30 instead of $25, then that raise would count as a genuine raise and the first player would be entitled to reraise if he chose to (this would create a side pot for the amount of his reraise and the third player’s call, if any).
Opening all-in hands
When all players are all in, or one player is playing only against opponents who are all in, no more betting can take place. Some casinos and many major tournaments require that all players still involved open, or immediately reveal, their hole cards in this case—the dealer will not continue dealing until all hands are flipped up. Likewise, any other cards that would normally be dealt face down, such as the final card in seven-card stud, may be dealt face-up. This rule discourages a form of collusion called “chip dumping”, in which one player deliberately loses his chips to another to give that player a greater chance of winning the tournament.