I am writing an online poker game software in which I want to conduct tournaments.
In tournaments sometimes players remain to "sit out" throughout the tournament. There is 1 case that's happening that I want to discuss.

First of all, If a player is sitting out in a hand then usually I fold his hand if he is not Big Blind or All In.

Suppose there are 5 players on a table with the following chips distributions:
p1(Dealer): 14812 [Not Sitting out]
p2(SmallBlind): 426 [Sitting out]
p3(BigBlind): 2 [Sitting out]
p4: 4597[Sitting out]
p5: 5475[Sitting out]

Blinds are 125/250 Ante is 25.
When hand starts I first take the ante from the players, In this scenario, since p3 has not enough amount to meet the ante I will take his 2 chips with the rest of the players and create a side pot of 10 in which (p1, p2, p3, p4, p5) are there
Then I took the remaining 23 of ante from the remaining 4 players [p1, p2, p4, p5] and create another pot of 92 in which [p1, p2, p4, p5] is there
Since p2 is Small Blind I will take 125 from him and add to second pot

So now we have the following pot Structure:
Pot#1: 10 [p1, p2, p3, p4, p5]
Pot#2: 217[p1, p2, p4, p5]

After this betting round begins:
p4 is sitting out so FOLD
p5 is sitting out so FOLD
p1 is not sitting out but "times out" SO FOLD
p2 is not sitting out so FOLD

Now whenever a player folds or times out he gets removed from the pot of which he is part of
So after the betting round, we have the following pot distributions:
Pot#1: 10[p3]
Pot#2: 217[No player as all player folded or timedout]

So when the hand ends Pot#1 goes to p3
but Pot#2 doesn't resolve which leads to fewer chips when the tournament ends

My question is how I should deal with this scenario and in particular when players are sitting out what should be their responses in tournaments

1 Answer 1


The situation you have described should not be possible in your software, every hand will always have a winner if cards are dealt. In the situation you have described where every player folds/times out, the final player to act will automatically go to showdown with the all-in player without being given the option to make a decision. In poker, one of two conditions have to be met for a pot to be awarded to a player:

  1. there is one player remaining who has not folded their cards, pot is awarded to that player
  2. the river has been dealt and all action has been completed, all remaining players showdown their cards and the player with the best hand is awarded the pot.

I'll do my best to describe how your presented situation should play out, this will be for tournaments only.

Preflop action is the same as you have described, a side pot of 10 is allocated for p3 and the main pot of 217 is still in play.

p4: sitting out so folds
p5: sitting out so folds
p1: times out and folds
p2: is awarded the main pot because he is the last eligible player to win that pot that still has cards. p3 and p2 then go to showdown because p3 is all in, whoever has the best hand is then awarded the side pot.

Players who are sitting out in online tournaments are still eligible to win pots and will go to showdown with players when they are all in due to blinds and antes. This is the only situation in which they will win pots because it requires no action from their end to play the hand.

  • So technically if only 1 player has remained in pot then I should not pass the turn and should run the (next round) or (hand complete) function whatever is applicable
    – Shiv
    Sep 10, 2020 at 7:57
  • yes with exceptions when there are players all in. If there is only one player left though you can guarantee that that player is awarded the pot. If there is one player all in and it folds to another player and they are the only two in the pot, then it goes to showdown. @Shiv
    – Clarko
    Sep 10, 2020 at 19:26

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