How are the pots computed when in a tournament deal when the big blind posts his full ante but then doesn't have enough to post his big blind?

To take a concrete example, here's a hand history from a tournament deal where the big blind posts the ante but then doesn't have enough to post the big blind, so he's all in (he has 45 chips in total before starting the deal). Ante/SB/BB are 40/200/400.

The deal reads like this:

villain1 posts ante 40
villain2 posts ante 40
villain3 posts ante 40
hero posts ante 40
villain4 posts ante 40
villain5 posts ante 40
villain6 posts ante 40
villain7 posts ante 40
villain1 posts big blind 5 and is all-in
Dealt to hero [3c Js]
*** PRE-FLOP ***
villain2 folds
villain3 folds
hero folds
villain4 folds
villain5 folds
villain6 raises 1606 to 1611 and is all-in
villain7 calls 1611
*** FLOP *** [Qh Qd 2s]
*** TURN *** [Qh Qd 2s][8h]
*** RIVER *** [Qh Qd 2s 8h][Jh]
*** SHOW DOWN ***
villain1 shows [Tc 4h] (One pair : Queens)
villain7 shows [As 6s] (One pair : Queens)
villain6 shows [Ad Kh] (One pair : Queens)
villain6 collected 3547 from pot

In this deal I've got, villain1 isn't winning anything, so I'm not sure what he could have won should he have had the best hand.

Here villain6 wins 3547 (1611*2 + 5 from the big blind + 8*40).

But how would the pot(s) have been computed if villain1 (the big blind) had had the best hand? Would he be winning 15 chips (5*3)? Or 15 + 8*40, that is: 335 chips?

  • This is essentially the same questions as poker.stackexchange.com/questions/462/how-are-side-pots-built Mar 5, 2012 at 23:34
  • @Jeffrey Blake: well yup but... This one was specifically about antes: I know how side-pots are built (my software being forced to compute/recompute them while parsing hands from sites that do not put that info but only write the total pots amount) but I wanted to be sure there was no special rule regarding deals with antes. And then nitpicking: it's the other question, asked 15 days after this one, that would then essentially be the same as this one ; ) Just kidding ; ))) Mar 6, 2012 at 0:05
  • I apologize if my comment came off like a criticism. Rather, I saw that the other question wasn't featured in the related questions, so I wanted to connect the two. Both do look at unique situations, but either could be relevant to readers looking into the other one. Mar 6, 2012 at 3:40

3 Answers 3


there is a very clear rule regarding pots and side pots: you can earn according to the chips you risk.

Lets assume that the chips you put in the middle are no longer yours...

in the scenario above villain1 risk 45$ (40$ as an ante and 5$ as the big blind).

If villain1 was the winner, he would have won 335$ (8*40 of the ante and 3*5$ from the pot).

again, to prevent confusion - assume that chips you put in the middle are no longer yours.


  • but ante aren't really chips you "risk": you're not only forced to put them in, but they also do not count as part of the amount you have to match. If you ante 40 and someone raises to 1000, you then have to risk 1000 to see a flop, not 960 (sure, you could say the person who raised to 1000 did really raise to 1040 but that's not how people --nor hand histories-- do count, hence my question) :-/ Feb 1, 2012 at 19:56
  • Ante is basically a tool to motivate player to participate more often in hands. Its like any other bet; regarding your example - don't forget that the 1000$ raiser also put an ante of 40$ so basically he raised over the 40$ of the ANTE
    – amigal
    Feb 2, 2012 at 15:55
  • yup of course, which is why I commented right above: the following: "you could say the person who raised to 1000 did really raise to 1040". I take it that your answer is correct but I'm still curious: I'd like to find a hand history where that specific case happens, just to see : ) Feb 2, 2012 at 16:10
  • 1
    I'll be commenting this to everyone but: "you can earn according to the chips you risk"... Sure, but then one would have to know what are considered "chips you risk". Because a penalty blind is money you definitely do put in, yet it doesn't count towards the chips you can win (e.g. you can put in $8 but only can win "$7 * nb opponents + $1" and not "$8 * nb opponents"). It could have been the case that the ante was computed the same way as a penalty blind. It's not as simple as it seems. Mar 24, 2012 at 13:48
  • Wait, what is a penalty blind in this context? I thought it referred to a case where you are required to sit out (and thus the dealer mucks you hand at the end of each deal) but still have your blinds posted. In this case the fact that you can't actually win the showdown makes your risk/reward ratio moot.
    – user1934
    Mar 4, 2016 at 0:58

You are entitled to win only as much as you put in times the number of players who match your bet. Building side pots as each player goes all in looks like this:

  • Everyone antes and the pot is now 8*40 = 320
  • villain1 bets 5 and is all-in which starts the first side pot.
  • villain6 raises 1606 to 1611 putting 5 in the first side pot and 1606 in the second.
  • villain7 calls 1611 putting 5 in the first side pot and 1606 in the second.

The first side pot is 320+15 = 335 and this is the most villain1 can win. The second side pot is 1606*2 = 3212. There are two possible outcomes from here.

Scenario 1: villain6 or villain7 win both pots with the best hand and take both pots 335+3212 = 3547

Scenario 2: villain1 has the best hand and wins the first side pot 335 and the second best hand (or the best hand between villain6 and villain7) takes the second side pot 3212.

  • as I just commented to amigal, "You are entitled to win only as much as you put in times the number of players" doesn't mean much unless you define what "put in" means. Because one can "put in" a penalty blind and that one does definitely not count "times the number of players". A penalty blind is "put in" yet it is lost. It could have been the case that the ante was computed just like a penalty blind (not that it's a penalty, but simply that it could have not counted towards matching the big blind)... (hence my question). Mar 24, 2012 at 13:51

An all-in player can win up to whatever they are all-in for from each player giving action.

In this case, 6 opponents committed 40 preflop and 2 of those opponents commited additional money post flop. So the most Villan1 can win is (6*40)+(2*5) = 250, minus rake. Add in the amount he committed himself, and Hero is taking down 295. Since this appears to be a tourney, there is no rake.

As a sidenote, note that if this player had won, he would still only end up with less than one Big Blind on the next hand. This is still desperately short -- short enough so that the only move he can make is to go all-in before the flop, and he must do so with a wide range. It's a good illustration of why you should never let yourself get this short in a tourney.

  • It's actually unclear just how big the BB is at this point, but it must be less than the ante. Feb 1, 2012 at 14:46
  • You're not including villain 1's ante + 5 in the pot that he would take. Also, the OP states that the levels were 40/200/400 Feb 1, 2012 at 15:32
  • This is accurate except for the math surrounding the missed player. I'd plus one this if the number of counted opponents matched the OP. Feb 1, 2012 at 16:26
  • @John Dibling: BB had 45 before the deal. So he put 40 of ante and 5 as a "big blind" (5 instead of 400). That said there are 8 people putting in an ante of 40 and three people putting an addition 5 or more. My question is really if the BB would be winning 15 or 335. Even if it's tiny in both case compared to the blinds ; ) Feb 1, 2012 at 17:15

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