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What is all-in in poker – all-in rules

As you know, in each of the existing streets of poker – in the preflop and postflop rounds – participants are bidding to make one decision or another. Players bet, raise or pass by choosing to check, fold on a bad hand, and sometimes make the bold decision to go all-in.

This review will focus on the all-in, which is the decision to bet your entire stack and risk the maximum. We’ll try to figure out what exactly could be the reason for this cardinal bet and what it hides under itself.

We will also look at the existing difference for an all-in in limit and no-limit types of poker, and find out the features of all-in for tournament competitions and for ordinary poker cash tables.

What is an All-in in poker


Let’s start by explaining the term. All-in literally translates to “All in” and means the same thing – to bet everything as a single bet. This action is also called – go for broke. The use of this solution must be well thought out and considered, as a mistake can lead to the complete loss of your stack (all your chips).
The reasons for such a drastic, in the truest sense of the word, betting are quite different – some players are aggressive and may go all-in, bluffing – trying to put pressure on their opponents, some are so confident in their combination that they want to take the whole game pot once they get a fair number of bets.
Professionals consider every decision made at the poker table as a long-term move, and going all-in is no exception. But you need to act with the maximum caution, you must admit that the risks here are as great as the desire to hit the big jackpot.
We note one more nuance – the return of the difference. Let’s look at an example right away – the player “Ivanov” made a bet in the amount of two thousand any monetary units, and the player “Petrov” decided to go all-in and put all his available chips – 1600 similar monetary units in response to the bet “Ivanov”, the rate will be accepted, but despite the result of the current auction, “Ivanov” will receive the difference back. That is, 2000 minus 1600 equals 400 monetary units – they will return to the player, regardless of whether he wins or loses.

All-in bet in different types of poker

As a reminder, poker has three main areas of acceptable betting limits – no-limit poker, limit poker and pot-limit poker.
In all no-limit variants, a participant can go all-in on any of the bidding rounds. This is due to the fact that the maximum bets are not specified in such games.
In pot-limit, all-in is rare, as the rules of the game limit the maximum bet size. A prerequisite for all-in in pot-limit poker is that the stack must not exceed the size of the game pot – that is, if Ivanov’s stack is 1,000 chips and the game pot is 900, then Ivanov cannot all-in.
Limit poker also has strict rules for all-in – a participant can make an all-in decision only if his stack is less than the size of one designated bet. For example, “Ivanov’s” stack is equal to 99 monetary units, and the fixed size of the bet at this table is 100 monetary units, the player can bet “all”.

All-in in cash game and tournament poker

Since the rules of cash games do not allow players to buy additional chips in the process, a participant may only call-in their existing stack, even if their opponent has staked a larger amount. Opponents do not like to risk their money, fearing that the player going all-in has a strong hand ready.
As for tournament types of poker, the important point here is the right time for such a bold bet as all-in. It is also important whether rebuys are provided in the tournament – the opportunity to buy an additional stack equal to the original stack. And when exactly it can be done.
Many players decide to take a risk when they know they will soon have an opportunity to add to their pot if they lose the stack. Once the rebuy period is over, if it has been, the risk of losing out on a badly played all-in increases.
Pay attention to what we talked about earlier – the return of the difference – if your opponent’s stack is larger than yours and he calls your all-in – if he wins, you will leave the game. And if your opponent’s stack is smaller than yours, then if you lose, you will still remain at the table, getting back the difference in stacks, which will leave you chances for further improvement in the situation.
In a large number of poker rooms there is a special, one might say very specific poker format, which is called “All-in or Fold”, which literally means “Go all-in or fold”. As you probably already understood, this game gives the participants only two possible solutions – to bet all-in or to fold. This type of entertainment is not for everyone, it is almost impossible to use any logical or mathematical tactics and strategies in it.
To draw simple conclusions – an All-in decision in poker is a dramatic bet. Sure, it can promise the player a very big win, but it can also completely empty his stack, and sometimes losing can cost him entry into a tournament and the loss of paid-in buy-in. All-in, especially, requires reasonableness; think about the risks correctly when making such a decision.

Practical tips


When deciding to play all-in, you need to be aware of the riskiness of such a move. A mistake will quickly lead to an exclusion from the table. And if large sums of money have been spent on the cash game, it will be lost forever.

When starting a game of all-in, you need to have a clear goal in mind. If there are good cards in hand, it may be to increase winnings or to reduce the number of opponents. In some cases, this approach will force opponents to bet higher than originally planned. If the hand combination is not strong enough, then going all-in is not recommended.

An important factor when playing poker is psychological. Therefore, when choosing an all-in technique, you should try to hide your true intentions from the other players. To disorient opponents in the following way: if there is a strong combination, pretend to be bluffing. Otherwise, there is no need to hint to others about the real cards in your hands. It’s worth remembering that when playing all-in, the frequency of revealing cards is higher.

The rules may vary depending on the type of poker. This affects the number of times you can bet all-in. For example, if no-limit Texas Hold’em is selected, the all-in can be played at any stage of the game.

In limit poker, all-in can only be used in the following situations:

An automatic all-in can occur for a small stack player. In this case, it has the last opportunity to win.  Although in this case the probability of losing a place at the table increases, this is the last chance to stay in the game.

For fans of frequent all-ins, there is a special type of game called all-in shootout. The essence of the game is to knock the participants out of the game. To do this, players often go all-in. Everything ends once a single winner is determined.

Gemma Heathcote
Gemma Heathcote.

Gemma Heathcote – Editor @ Superlenny

Gemma is the Editor of SuperLenny.com, where her main responsibility outside of editing and writing content is overseeing everything published online. She’s also ensures the day to day operations of SuperLenny are kept running smoothly, including keeping Josh and Matt in check!