All-in Rules in Poker + Free Side-Pot Calculator

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Side-Pot Calculator - Unique Free Tool

This tool lets you check who wins what when several players are all in. Your home game or private tourney won't have any more gun fights now. Enjoy!

Type in the stacks of the participating players and click on calculate. Click "instructions" for, um, more instructions.

Learn more about side pot calculations below!

Rules for all-in situations in poker

The all in concept was invented to prevent über-rich mobsters from running over small, honest guys at the poker table.

Before the all-in rule was invented, if you had $500 at the table and $10,000 in the bank, if an opponent bet $20,000 into the pot, you could not call him, even if you ran across the street and withdrew all your money from the bank. Even if you had the absolute nuts.

To avoid people betting their cars and farms and wives (or husbands) some humanist genius introduced a rule called "table stakes."

It states that in a poker hand you can only bet whatever money and chips you had on the table when the hand started. You cannot reach for your wallet and get more money. You cannot go to the bank and mortgage your condo.

To handle the case where one player bets all his money and the opponent has less money at the table, the all-in rules were introduced. We'll walk you through them.

Calling is always allowed

No matter how little you have in your stack, you can always call with the rest of your chips. When you call with all your remaining chips, you call all in.

All-in example with two players

There's $200 in the pot. You have $50 left and your opponent bets $200. If you want to call, you call all in by placing your last $50 in the pot.

In this case, the opponent first gets $150 back - the amount you couldn't match. Then there is a showdown and the player who shows down the best hand picks up $300 - the $200 originally in the pot plus $50 from each of you.

So, you can always call, but you can only win as much from your opponent as your call legitimates.

More players = side pot calculation

All-in rules for two players are pretty straightforward, as we saw above. When three or more players are involved, things can get pretty messy with one main pot and several side pots. Especially if you're in a home game and have to balance a beer jug while doing the math.

RULE: The ruling principle is that each player matches as much of the opponents' bets as she has left in her stack.

METHOD: This is how you do it. First, the smallest stack matches all opponents' bets. These chips are put in the "main pot". Then the second smallest stack matches the remaining opponents' bets with whatever is left in his stack and creates a side pot. And so on.

Side pot example

There are three players with stacks as follows:

Player A: $10

Player B: $50

Player C: $200

All players move all in. Let's start with the smallest stack and create the main pot. Player A has $10 and matches $10 each of the other players bets. A main pot of $30 is created. This is the money that player A can win.

The remaining chips of player B are then matched to the bet of player C. Player B has $40 left, so we take $40 from player C and make a side pot of $80.

When all matching is done, player C still has $150 left in his bet. This money is returned to player C immediately, and then the remaining cards are dealt and the showdown is performed.

The following pots are contested:

Main pot: $30, contested by A, B and C.

Side pot: $80, contested by B and C.

Tip: Go ahead and check this out in the side pot calculator above!

Now if player A has the best hand, he wins the $30 main pot. Then players B and C compare their hands to see who wins the $80 side pot.

If, on the other hand, player B or C has the best hand, this player wins both the main pot and the side pot.

Betting in All-In Situations

Typically, if a player goes all-in for less than half the amount of a full raise, his bet is considered to have no effect on the betting options.

That is to say, if a player bets $100, another player goes all-in for $125 and a third player calls, the original player could not now re-raise, as this would be in effect raising himself.

The third player, on the other hand, could still raise instead of call as he has not yet had the option to raise.

Exposing Cards During All-In Situations

Providing there is not more than one player who still has more chips in his stack involved in the pot, there is no penalty for exposing cards once a player is all-in and called.

In tournaments, in fact, it is mandatory. However exposing a card while a player is considering whether to call an all-in usually merits a penalty.

In most card rooms, exposing cards to reduce or encourage action, especially in a tournament, is not allowed.


In a rebuy tournament, if you go all-in and lose all your chips, you can buy more chips if you are still within the prescribed rebuy period.

If you do this, you must do so immediately. You cannot leave the table and come back.

If you do not have the money on hand to rebuy, you are out of luck, unless you can borrow from someone else at the table, buy the chips, then go get money to repay him or her.


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Comments on this Article

Stoyan (Aug 13, 2010)
I have a technical question - in 5/10 table there is a rise to 20 (so far is OK). Next player is call and the next is all in 32. This is not a complete rise so does the original riser nave the option to go all in after this 32 all in or he can just call

an (Jul 20, 2010)
the "house" rule that I've been playing won't allow the person behind to re-raise if the person in front raise all-in that is less than double of 1st bet. Let's say #1 bets $10, #2 is all-in at $18, then #3 can only call and cannot re-raise. Is that the correct rule?

Pam (May 26, 2010)
In response to Mike's question Apr.6, 2010. 2nd winner would be which ever one has the best five cards. If they have the same best five cards they both take their one chip back.

Pam (May 26, 2010)
In response to Dima's question. Player A had the other players covered and so there wouldn't be 2nd and 3rd places.Only if player A had less than the other 2.

mike (Apr 06, 2010)

if 3 players are in a hand.

Player one goes all in....player 2 and 3 both have only one chip and go all in as well with their ONE chip each.

Player one wins.....being player 2 and player 3 both only had one chip at the beginning of the hand, who finishes 2nd?

sam (Mar 06, 2010)
I put my chips to raisen the dealer flop the turn card out at the same time I put down my chips because the dealer forgot that I was still in the pot. But anyway the card that he flop it would made got a full-house for my hand, but since he flop the card at the same time as my bet my hand he had to put the card into the deck. Was this right? It's not fair because it was not my fall the dealer should pay attention

Lobster (Feb 10, 2010)

The player who had the most chips when the hand started places first. In this case player B.

Take care,
Poker Junkie Team

Dima (Feb 09, 2010)
Hi I have a question. There were three players all went all-in player A had 200 chips, player B 190 and player C had 100. Player A won the whole pot. Can u tell me who is on the 2 nd and 3rd places?

Taylor (Dec 21, 2009)
Got a question, Need an Answer

Three players-
Player A goes ALL-IN on the Flop with $50.
Players B

Lobster (Oct 12, 2009)
Hi Pavel

Yes, as I understand your question, C takes all the chips from both A and B.

The players have the following stacks, right?

A - $50
B - $100
C - $200

A moves in with his 50, B moves in with his 100, and C calls 100. C shows down the best hand and wins 50 from A and 100 from B.

Is that how you meant it?


Pavel (Oct 10, 2009)
Help me please with this situation:

Player A goes all-in - 50$
Player B goes all-in (call 50$) - 100$ in hands
Player C goes all-in (call 50$) - 200$ in hands

Player C wins.
So player C takes all chips from A, but how many chips takes from B? 50$? Or all his chips? 100$?

Lobster (Aug 14, 2009)

In your example it's the player with the most chips who comes second.

lea (Aug 13, 2009)
In an all in hand where there are three player's left going for first, second, and third and player three has less chips than player's one and two player one wins all the chips who comes second the one with the most chips or the one win the next best hand i need help on this please if you could help me and some rules on this thanks

Lobster (Aug 05, 2009)

The answer is no. If player B folds he cannot contest the first pot either.

This is why, in tournaments, many players choose not to continue betting once one player is all in, not to scare off a hand that could have busted him.

Heather (Jul 29, 2009)

If player A goes all in and player and player B and C call.

Then a side pot is made with player B and C if player B folds can he still win the first pot?

Lobster (Jul 29, 2009)
Hi Louis

If the third player has yet to act in the hand, you cannot show your cards to anyone since showing your hand could affect the third player's decision. It's not allowed.

On the other hand, if the third player had already acted, if there's no betting left in the hand, I don't see why you couldn't show your hand if you wanted to. But then you should show it to all players.

Team Poker Junkie

Louis (Jul 25, 2009)
Very important question. I was in a poker room playing and I went all in after the person to act before me had bet $20 the player next to act also went all in for more than me he happened to show me his cards and so I did as well to him. Both of our hands were mucked. Is this right?? I always thought I can show my cards in an all in situation to another player all in because there is no action left at the table between us. Am I wrong?

Michael Lorne (Jun 17, 2009)
No limit - in the exact situation as stated above, if I intitiate the action, player pushes with less than 50% of the min. raise, third player only calls. Why is it in these situations with that 3rd person still having chips in front of him as do I, that I am not aloud to protect my hand with atleast the min. legal raise or more? (given the 50% rule)specifically for tournament play. Is there a difference for cash or high stakes games?

robert (Jun 08, 2009)
could anyone explain me the pot sharing in "all in" when several players go all in, how to count side bets??

PokerJunkie (Mar 12, 2009)
Hi Gary,
glad you like the format.
You are correct. In limit you usually use the half bet rule. Which means that the betting is reopened if an all-in bet is equal to or larger than half a minimum bet. In no limit the full bet rule (see above) is used (you can only raise an all-in bet if the amount exceeds a minimum bet).

Gary Wallo (Mar 11, 2009)
Thank you for the easy format when asking questions about the rules. I wish that on the "all in bet" you made a distiction between limit and no limit, and when does the 50% of the bet rule apply? Only limit?

richard (Dec 21, 2008)
texas holdem--after the river and you muck your cards are other players alowed to show your cards.

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