When I first played at a card room, I had only previously played in home games and you had to borrow money if you could not cover the bet although I do not recall this happening much probably because we played low-limit and i do not think we had the concept of "buying the pot" because your opponent could not cover the bet -- it was a friendly game.

So when I was in my first game, I did not understand table stakes but it of course made a lot of sense. However, I spoke to an old guy who said that games like were played in A Big Hand for the Little Lady and The Cincinnati Kid where you had time to raise money but if you could not, you would lose the pot. In Jim Thompson's autobio, he discusses a big game his father played in with president (or future prez) Harding in which someone suggested that he (Thompson's opponent) could buy the pot because Thompson was tapped out but IIRC, that was considered bad sportsmanship.

Sometimes you see someone putting up cash and his opponent takes out a pocket watch of apparent value (like it's gold) and often the other guy inspects it. That implies to me that the guy with more cash does not have to accept the watch (although in movies, the often do because they are sure of their hand).

Does this mean that if you are tapped out you can't bet but only call? That is, if the rules of the game say if someone bets money you can't cover you have, say, 24 hours to raise it, that does not mean you can say, "I bet 10k but I need 24 hours to raise it" (perhaps if everyone agreed but I bet that would be hard to manage)?

  • I'm really confused by what you mean? Any card room that someone can say I bet 10k, haha you don't have that I win, is not a room you want to play in. Even if a player has 10k in their stack, and you only have 100$, if they go all-in and only you are left the bet is 100$.
    – Grinch91
    Commented Sep 27, 2023 at 15:44
  • @Grinch91: I am talking about history of poker when table stakes was not the rule.
    – releseabe
    Commented Sep 27, 2023 at 17:03
  • There is a saying in English, cash is king, if you're playing open stakes or in your case historically speaking, the majority of people would value cash more than anything else. However that's not to say that another player may not value say a car that is wagered as part of the open stakes. I'd imagine cash would trump everything else for the majority of people, as it has a defined fixed value, but we could never say that absolutely. Someone just might really love that pocket watch you mentioned, even if it wasn't worth the value when appraised.
    – Grinch91
    Commented Sep 28, 2023 at 9:33
  • 1
    Isn't this entirely subjective and depends on what rulings the table run on? If you're playing an underground table where they make you waiver off the rights to extract your blood it's pretty much not a trait of open stakes but instead your own fault for playing in it. None of the points you made in the post contributes towards or against any conclusion that can answer the premise - "if you are tapped out can you still bet instead of calling?" It depends on which table you are on
    – Unihedron
    Commented Oct 3, 2023 at 9:23

1 Answer 1


All modern and puplic card rooms play table stakes games, almost everything about poker you see on Television or Movies, is made wrong for dramatic effect especially like in big hand for the little lady, and on star trek when data says I call and raise, then sits and ponders about how much to raise, he will be limited to the minimum raise or will be not allowed to raise and be forced to call the rule in public poker is table stakes, meaning people can go all in, short of covering a bet without losing their interest and claim to the pot at show down. you might find a private game where the rule is different, but the ideal all bets must be covered, is impractical for a public poker room.

  • This is not an answer. I am very aware that every game you would play in a casino or card room is table stakes. I am interested in how open stakes is played: if you have a 5 carat diamond or a ferrari, i assume no one has to accept it against their bet.
    – releseabe
    Commented Oct 3, 2023 at 3:53
  • @releseabeIt oes not seem to be a real question, Open limit is not a way poker is played except in the movies., I doubt in the history of the world no poker players have had a discussion about playing this way. much lees if a game has ever been played this way. if it was ever played this way I think the players would have a discussion, about the value of xash and its magig modifiers.
    – Jon
    Commented Oct 4, 2023 at 21:53
  • and you are wrong. I have spoken to old timers (men who would be well over 100 today, born near the turn of the 20th century), read about open stakes in non-fiction books, and of course seen it portrayed in movies. My question is about poker history not whether anyone is playing this way today and i do not see this as a game anyone would want -- sure slows the pace to say the least.
    – releseabe
    Commented Oct 4, 2023 at 22:01

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