I've played Texas Hold'em and came to next situation. This were the community cards (I can't remember the cards but this was more or less the situation):


There were 3 players playing:

  • Player A got T♣ and 8♣ → straight
  • Player B got K♥ and A♥ → two pair
  • Player C got 6♦ and 2♣ → one pair

Even though player A has the best hand, Player B was awarded part of the pot. How is that possible?

  • that does not completely make sense, I saw people with only high cards won the side pot. Doesn't make sense
    – pokerdead
    Oct 16, 2021 at 16:36

2 Answers 2


this is only possible if player A was all in, and player B had more chips in the pot after he bet with a third player (player C). Player A can only win the amount of his all-in from each player, then the rest of the chips in the pot forms a side pot. The side pot is then awarded to the player with the next best hand, in this case player B.

as an example:

Player A has 100 chips and is all in preflop, players B and C call and both have 50 chips remaining.

The flop comes and players B and C get it in for their last 50 chips.

The turn and river are dealt and player A has the best hand, he is awarded 300 chips (100 from each of the other players).

Player B has the next best hand, so he is rewarded the remaining chips (100) because there was no more action after his all-in.

  • 1
    There was indeed a third player and player A was all-in. I've updated my question. Sep 7, 2018 at 19:09
  • But what in next situation with the cards from the question? Player A goes all-in with $50. Player B and C calls also $50. After the flop player B goes all-in with $300 and player C calls. Total pot is $750 ($150 at pre-flop and $600 after the flop). After the river was dealt, player A wons. He got $150 from each other player. Player B wins the side pot that is $600. In this case player B won more money than player A. Is that correct or did I mis a rule? Sep 7, 2018 at 20:17
  • 1
    that is correct, player A wins a total of $150 and B wins a total of $600. B wins more than A due to the stack sizes, this is one reason why having a big stack is advantageous. @H.Pauwelyn
    – Clarko
    Sep 7, 2018 at 20:31
  • 1
    And if players B and C both got the same hand (e.g. each a pair of aces), the side pot will be splitted to players B and C. Each got $300 if side pot is $600. Difficult but nice poker rules 😃. Sep 7, 2018 at 20:38

It's very easy to understand if you think about it this way. You can only win as much money as you put in from each player. So if you win a three-way pot with $100 investment into the pot, you get $300 (minus rake) total.

It might seem funny to you that the side pot might be bigger than the real pot, for example, if the other two bigger stack bets $2000 each, the side pot would be $4000 and you would only win your $300 with the best hand. But it's perfectly logical. You are only risking $100 against 2 players, why would you win $4000? If the winner always takes the whole pot, then it would be logical to play smallest stack possible. If I all-in with $1 into high stake poker with 1 million dollar pots every hand, I will eventually come out a multi-millionaire easy.

You only win what you put in, you have no stake in the side pot if you are already all in with the main pot.

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