3

Scenario 1

Let's take a simple Texas Holdem no-limits cash game example:

Players: A (bust) | B (bust) | C  | D | E | F | G
Buttons: D        | SB       | BB |   |   |   | 

Now let's say Player A and B (Dealer and Small Blind) go bust - they went all-in and lost and are not rebuying into the game. How does the Dealer, Small Blind and Big Blind button move in this case?

Scenario 1 - Option 1

As Player C has already been Big Blind it would make sense they will be Small Blind now and deducting from that Dealer would be Player G. But this seems wrong as Player G already was Dealer one game round ago.

Players: A (bust) | B (bust) | C  | D  | E | F | G
Buttons:          |          | SB | BB |   |   | Dealer

Scenario 1 - Option 2

Another option would be to move the Dealer button forward so Player C is Dealer now. This way Player G wouldn't be Dealer twice in a short period of time. But this way Player C has missed being Small Blind. This is also not correct.

Players: A (bust) | B (bust) | C | D  | E  | F | G
Buttons:          |          | D | SB | BB |   | 

Scenario 1 - Option 3

If the options 1 and 2 are not correct is there another option to handle this situation?

Scenario 2

Let's take another example where all buttons go bust.

Players: A (bust) | B (bust) | C (bust) | D | E | F | G
Buttons: D        | SB       | BB       |   |   |   | 

Let's say Player A, B and C (Dealer, Small Blind and Big Blind) go bust - they went all-in and lost and are not rebuying into the game. How does the Dealer, Small Blind and Big Blind buttons move in this case?

Scenario 2 - Option 1

Clarko suggested "dead button" rule is used in this case - blinds simply move forward even if onto an empty seat. Dealer and Small Blind are "dead" for this round - only big blind is placed in the pot.

Players: A (bust) | B (bust) | C (bust)  | D  | E | F | G
Buttons:          | D (dead) | SB (dead) | BB |   |   |         

Scenario 3

Clarko in his answer below brought out another interesting scenario whereby both blinds and UTG go bust and won't re-buy immediately. If the "dead button" rule is used (buttons are moved to the empty seat) does this mean in the next round there are no blinds?

Players: A | B (bust) | C (bust) | D (bust) | E | F | G
Buttons: D | SB       | BB       |          |   |   | 

Scenario 3 - Option 1

Moving the buttons for the next round using the "dead button" rule. This way there are no blinds in the next round. It's probably not correct use of the "dead buttons" rule - what's the correct way to handle this?

Players: A | B (bust) | C (bust)  | D (bust)  | E | F | G
Buttons:   | D (dead) | SB (dead) | BB (dead) |   |   | 

OR should buttons move like this for the next round as there always has to be at least a big blind for pre-flop

Players: A | B (bust) | C (bust) | D (bust) | E  | F | G
Buttons:   |          | D (dead) | SB(dead) | BB |   |

EDIT: ANSWER - There are two rules one can follow

Using the "Normal moving button" rule

The button moves always to the last player who has paid for both blinds.

Scenario 1 - Solution

Round +0
Players: A (bust) | B (bust) | C  | D | E | F | G
Buttons: D        | SB       | BB |   |   |   | 
Round +1

Player G will get the button as they are the last player who paid for both blinds.

Players: (empty) | (empty) | C  | D  | E | F | G
Buttons:         |         | SB | BB |   |   | D
Round +2
Players: (empty) | (empty) | C | D  | E  | F | G
Buttons:         |         | D | SB | BB |   | 

Scenario 2 - Solution

Round +0
Players: A (bust) | B (bust) | C (bust) | D | E | F | G
Buttons: D        | SB       | BB       |   |   |   | 
Round +1

Player G will get the button as they are the last player who paid for both blinds. There is no SB in this round. Player D will commit BB.

Players: (empty) | (empty) | (empty) | D  | E | F | G
Buttons:         |         |         | BB |   |   | D
Round +2

Player G will still retain the button as they are the last player who paid for both blinds. SB comes back into game.

Players: (empty) | (empty) | (empty) | D  | E  | F | G
Buttons:         |         |         | SB | BB |   | D
Round +3
Players: (empty) | (empty) | (empty) | D | E  | F  | G
Buttons:         |         |         | D | SB | BB | 

Scenario 3 - Solution

Round +0
Players: A | B (bust) | C (bust) | D (bust) | E | F | G
Buttons: D | SB       | BB       |          |   |   | 
Round +1

Player A will retain the button as they are the last player who paid for both blinds. There is no SB in this round. Player E will commit BB.

Players: A | (empty) | (empty) | (empty) | E  | F | G
Buttons: D |         |         |         | BB |   | 
Round +2

Player A will still retain the button as they are the last player who paid for both blinds. SB comes back into game.

Players: A | (empty) | (empty) | (empty) | E  | F  | G
Buttons: D |         |         |         | SB | BB | 
Round +3
Players: A | (empty) | (empty) | (empty) | E | F  | G
Buttons:   |         |         |         | D | SB | BB

Using the "Forward moving button" rule

The button moves always to the next player.

Scenario 1 - Solution

Round +0
Players: A (bust) | B (bust) | C  | D | E | F | G
Buttons: D        | SB       | BB |   |   |   | 
Round +1
Players: (empty) | (empty) | C      | D  | E  | F | G
Buttons:         |         | D & BB | BB | BB |   | 
Round +2
Players: (empty) | (empty) | C  | D      | E  | F  | G
Buttons:         |         | SB | D & SB | SB | BB | 
Round +3
Players: (empty) | (empty) | C | D | E | F  | G
Buttons:         |         |   |   | D | SB | BB

Scenario 2 - Solution

Round +0
Players: A (bust) | B (bust) | C (bust) | D | E | F | G
Buttons: D        | SB       | BB       |   |   |   | 
Round +1
Players: (empty) | (empty) | (empty) | D      | E  | F  | G
Buttons:         |         |         | D & BB | BB | BB | 
Round +2
Players: (empty) | (empty) | (empty) | D  | E      | F  | G
Buttons:         |         |         | SB | D & SB | SB | BB 
Round +3
Players: (empty) | (empty) | (empty) | D  | E | F | G
Buttons:         |         |         | BB |   | D | SB 

Scenario 3 - Solution

Round +0
Players: A | B (bust) | C (bust) | D (bust) | E | F | G
Buttons: D | SB       | BB       |          |   |   | 
Round +1
Players: A | (empty) | (empty) | (empty) | E      | F  | G
Buttons:   |         |         |         | D & BB | BB | BB 
Round +2
Players: A  | (empty) | (empty) | (empty) | E  | F      | G
Buttons: BB |         |         |         | SB | D & SB | SB 
Round +3
Players: A  | (empty) | (empty) | (empty) | E  | F | G
Buttons: SB |         |         |         | BB |   | D 
1

It depends on where you are playing. There are two distinct sets of procedures for moving a button. One is called forward moving button, the other set of procedures does not really have a common title in slang or other wise.

The forward moving button is increasingly rare. It has been extinct in Las Vegas poker rooms for at least three decades. It is used widely in California where time is paid on the button. Surviving in Wendover NV at least up until about ten years ago. (I know this because I was working in Wendover when it was changed. I don't know if my occasional mention to the manager about how stupid a forward moving button is had anything to do with that)

To contrast the two a forward moving button always moves to the next player in line at the table and everyone posts the blinds they may owe. In the case of the two players going busted in the big and small blind, the button would move to the next player. Who if the players had not gone busted would of been due the big blind. This player posts the big blind on the button. The two players under the gun also post big blinds. Next hand the button moves and there will be three small blinds, one from each of the players that posted the big blinds last hand and a large blind. Next hand the hands would (finally) be normalized. This can go on as others players might go busted on those blinds. This way is not that difficult once it is grasped. Where it becomes stupid IMHO is that it confuses players and seems to be an endless source of debate and even confused floor decisions when it gets a little complicated. It also has the splash pot effect on a hand when all of a sudden there are three or four blinds out there. It is also very unwieldly when the game is short handed and players are lost. And although this way is zero sum over the long run a player gets a huge short term advantage when they get to post blinds in late position, not that big of a deal for a cash game but can be a game changer in a tournament.

The other way, which I will call the "normal way" the player getting the button is always the last player whom has paid both blinds. (rather it is posted to buy the button or just posted in normal game play is irrelevant). In this case if both the blinds went busted the button would stay with the player whom had it last. The player under the gun would would post a single big blind, there would be no small blind. Next hand the button still stays with that same player whom is still the last player whom has posted two blinds and the two players under the gun post big and small blinds respectively. Then things proceed normally.

Extra:

With a forward moving button the argument is that it is fairer because everyone can only get the button once a round. That argument has some validity. However in my opinion that sense a fairness is more then neutralized when players get to post blinds on and behind the button. Add to that the added layers of confusion the forward button causes, a normal moving button is by far the better choice in a casino or home game.

I just looked at clarkos answer and he mentioned the concept of a "dead button". I would like to clarify that there is no such thing as a dead button. A button as far as the game goes is simply an indicator of the last player to be dealt cards and act. If it is in a empty seat it indicates nothing except that the player a couple feet right of the button is the last to be dealt in and act. Look at it another way the button in a poker game with a center dealer who deals all the cards and keeps the game in order is merely replacement for a deck of cards that is now in the hands of a center dealer rather then passed to the next player to deal. You cannot have a dead button anymore then you could have a dead deck. The procedure that determine the next player to pitch the cards are also the same procedures that determine what player the button is in front off. For all practicable purposes the term dead button is a mute term, nil, null #totallymeaningless. In a game moving the button to an empty seat then calling it dead adds more confusion then clarity about whom is supposed to post and where the action is supposed to start. In a answer, by the same token, the term does nothing to make an answer more clear. Clarko this little bit is not about your answer, it is my pet peeve about the term dead button. My apologies if this came off as directed at you, it is not.

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  • Thanks for the comprehensive answer @Jon. I added visual representations of what you said to my post under the "EDIT: Answer" section for both rules. Can you check if I got these right? – Robert May 5 at 11:53
  • I think you got it right. – Jon May 5 at 22:33
  • quick explanation about a major contextual edit. Forward moving is not near extinct but still widely used in California where the players pay time on the button. – Jon May 5 at 22:35
  • Under the "Forward moving button" section -> Scenario 1 - Solution -> Round +1 Player C is paying Big Blind twice in two rounds. Once without the button and then when button moves to them. Is this correct or should this be handled differently? – Robert May 6 at 10:04
  • Hey Jon. Can you confirm that the abovementioned examples are correct? I'd accept your answer if I know for sure the presented examples are verified by someone who knows the specifics of the rules. – Robert May 24 at 15:04
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This situation results in what is called a "dead button" where the button rotates to an empty seat.

I am not sure exactly what happens in edge cases (like small blind, big blind, and utg all busting the same hand), but what normally happens is the button is rotated to an empty seat and the players still play their blinds normally. If both of the blinds are knocked out in a hand (as in scenario 2 in your question) a small blind is not posted and the button moves to the empty seat left of the dealer.

This can vary a bit in cash games from casino to casino, but tournaments usually follow the rule described above. If a player in the blinds leaves when they would normally have to post a blind in a cash game, they might move the button to an occupied seat but still require the player to post a blind. Same goes for a player entering a game where they would normally post a blind. If they wish to play the hand they will post a blind while the other players post their blinds as normal.

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  • Couldn't properly create the example code block in comment. I added your suggested scenario to my question under "Scenario 2 - Option 1". See if I got it correct? – Robert May 4 at 13:15
  • yes @Robert that is correct for that specific scenario – Clarko May 4 at 19:54
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Big Blind will be small blind on the next hand. UTG will be big blind. The player on the cut-off will be the button

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