The ultimate hand — interrupted! Part 2.5 of a very limited series

February 15, 2018

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Feb. 15, 2018

I interrupt my series on royal flushes to offer a short primer on sorting all-in pots. (The reason for this will become apparent in part 3 of my very limited series.)

When three or more players go all in, multiple pots are typically formed. This isn’t always the case: If all but one of the participants have exactly the same amount of chips and the last participant has more chips, there would only be one pot. Be that as it may…

Let’s say that after the flop, player A goes all in for 3,000 chips, player B goes all in with 4,000 chips, player C goes all in for 10,000 chips and everyone else at the table folds. Player A can win 9,000 chips — her own 3,000 plus 3,000 apiece from B and C — plus whatever was in the pot prior to the flop; this is called the main pot. Players B and C can win the main pot plus a side pot containing 2,000 chips. Because B can’t cover C’s stack, all C risks is 4,000 chips; because B has 1,000 more chips than A, the side pot contains B’s last 1,000 chips and C’s match of 1,000 chips.

If C has the best hand, she collects the main pot and the side pot. If A has the best hand, she collects the main pot but B or C gets the side pot.

Take the same situation with one change: A fourth player, D, goes all in after the flop for 6,000 chips. In this case, A can win 12,000 chips — her own 3,000 plus 3,000 apiece from B, C and D — plus whatever was in the pot prior to the flop; again, this is called the main pot. Player B can win the main pot plus the first side pot, which contains 3,000 chips — 1,000 from himself plus the same amount each from C and D. Players C and D can win the first two side pots plus a second side pot containing 6,000 chips — 3,000 from C and 3,000 from D; the remainder of D’s 10,000 chips, which is 4,000, is not at risk.

If C or D has the best hand, she or he collects all three pots. If B has the best hand, he collects the main pot and the first side pot but C or D gets the second side pot. If A has the best hand, she collects the main pot, with the two side pots awarded as appropriate.

That concludes today’s lesson.

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