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Side Pots Explained

Often, one or more players wlll go all in while there are other players who wish to continue betting. The player who has gone all in can only win from the remaining players the amount he has been able to bet. The standard way of keeping track of this is to split the pot into a main pot and a side pot. If more than one player goes all in with different amounts, there will be more than one side pot. There can be as many side pots as are needed in the hand.

One thing to remember is that there are always 2 ways to compute the main and side pots. You an either compute the main pot and everything else goes into the side pot, or vice versa. In some cases, one of the ways will be easier than the other. It's very important that only one person divides up the pots - two or more people trying to divide up the chips at the same time gets VERY confusing! Each table should rely on one experienced player to divide up the pots. The player dividing up the pots should say his/her calculations out loud, so that others can verify that the math is correct.


Example One Player 1 goes all in with $50. Player 2 bets $120 and player 3 calls the $120 bet. Nobody else bets.

Player 1 can only win back his $50 bet, plus $50 from each of the other 2 players. This is the main pot and it will contain $150. The side pot will contain the extra $70 from players 2 and 3, for a total of $140. Players 2 and 3 can continue to bet into the side pot, as long as they have more chips to bet. Let's say that's all the betting that took place in this hand.

If player 1 has the winning hand, he will take the $150 main pot only. Whomever out of players 2 and 3 has the next best hand will win the $140 side pot.

If player 2 or player 3 has the winning hand, he will take both the main pot and the side pot, for a total of $290. Player 1 is eliminated and needs to sign out.


Example Two Player 1 is the little blind with $300. Player 2 is the big blind, but only has $500, which he must post. Players 3 and 4 follow and must still match the big blind, which is $600. Player 1 folds his hand.

Player 2 can win the little blind ($300), the $500 he put in, plus $500 each from players 3 and 4. This makes a main pot of $1,800, which can be won by either players 2, 3 or 4 and a side pot of $200, which an be won by either players 3 or 4.

After the flop, player 3 goes all in with $2,000. But, player 4 only has $1,200 left, which he puts all in.

Player 3 has put in more than can be matched by anyone still betting, so he automaticlly gets $800 back. This $800 is referred to as an over bet. The $2,400 is added to the side pot for a total of $2,600, which can be won by either players 3 or 4, but not by player 2.


Limited Raise

Riddle me this Batman: When is a raise not a raise? Answer: When the last person to bet goes all in with more than the current bet amount, but less than twice the current bet amount and nobody else has raised yet. Remember the rule that says The first raise of every round of betting must be greater than or equal to the big blind? Consider this example.

Example Three The flop has been dealt. Player 1 bets $1,200 and player 2 calls. Player 3 goes all in with $1,500 and there are no other players in the hand. Because player 3 couldn't meet the requirement that his "raise" is greater than or equal to the current bet amount, this increase in the bet amount isn't considered to be a raise.

The result is that neither player 1 nor player 2 can raise when their turn comes back around. They must call the $300 to stay in the pot, or they can fold. But, they can't raise on this round of betting. The entire pot becomes a main pot and any betting in the final round becomes a side pot. Player 3 can only win the main pot, in this case.