Suppose there is some situation where Player A moves all-in and ALL Players call such that all players are all-in (they have equal amounts of chips, so no side-pots). Is there a possible distribution of cards such that Player A is drawing dead BEFORE THE FLOP? And if so, how likely is it, and what is the lowest number of players for which this is still possible?


No possible chance for Player A to win the pot or split it

All players who are dealt a hand will call (No cards can be folded)

No other player may have a hand identical to Player A (disregarding suit, of course); for example, if PLayer A has pocket twos, no player may have pocket twos except for Player A

The number of players may not be so high that there aren't enough cards to deal the flop, turn, and river (including burn cards)

One deck only

Texas Hold-em (Two cards per hand)

Obviously, the cards to come are not known (You can't just say "A misses his flush draw and loses to Aces; therefore, he's drawing dead")


  • Define how many 'All players' is equaled to? – Grinch91 Sep 9 '18 at 22:17

This is an interesting question. The key consideration to me is "Player A cannot win the pot via a split pot", meaning that there should be no scenario whereby the board contains the nuts.

This is essentially the error with the 2 answers above. IF the board comes A♠2♠3♠4♠5♠, then someone other than player A needs to be holding the 6♠, otherwise it is a split pot. same for straights on the board (i.e. 7♠8♣9♠ T♥J♥). In that scenario, someone other than player A needs to hold a Q. (or KQ if player A holds a Q).

edit: I thought it required 20, but I think I have a solution with 8.

Player 1: 4♠4♣

Player 2: 5♠5♣

Player 3: 5♦5♥

Player 4: T♥4♥

Player 5: T♦4♦

Player 6: T♠T♣

Player 7: A♦A♥

Player 8: A♠A♣

All TTTT5555 are in villians' hands, therefore there are no possible straight/straightflush options for the board (every straight will have to hold either a 5 or a T).

All Aces are in villians' hands, therefore it is not possible to splitpot with a 4 of a kind nuts on the board (i.e. KKKKA or any XXXXA combination).

Player A cannot draw to straight (no 5s), flush, set, or hope to play the board and split. Player A is drawing dead.

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  • This is the first correct answer so far; maybe not optimal, but it does avoid the 5-way splits. – Lee Daniel Crocker Sep 10 '18 at 16:36
  • It is actually the best answer. I cannot come up with a better one myself. As this one already contain the minimum number of players needed to prevent any potential ties that involved the first player (that player can't win nor tie). – Ying Li Sep 10 '18 at 20:53
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    You can do it with 7. I think 6 may be possible, maybe but haven't gotten anything for 6 yet. I can post the answer with 7 if people want, but I'll preface this with it's not my work, found it online to this very interesting situation. – Grinch91 Sep 13 '18 at 17:15
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    @Grinch91 Add an answer and give the reference? – sakon Sep 14 '18 at 6:13
  • Sorry was away, will add later. – Grinch91 Sep 16 '18 at 15:39

As I mentioned in a comment above, this was not my answer, found it here. Although I did find you could also substitute the 7s with 8s, and then the Queens with Jacks, 10s or 9s. Suits matter in the solution.








Can check it out here.

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  • what a great answer. (I'm hoping this was done through thought and not computer trial-and-error). The 2x 7s are integral to the answer though (they block the 6-high straight flush on the board), which 8s do not block. – sakon Sep 18 '18 at 6:25

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