I sometimes lose count of the pot size. At a live game can you ask other players for the size of the pot or is that considered coaching?

So far what I have found here:

Asking for help

You are not allowed to ask anyone at the table for help in playing a hand, including the dealer. You may ask what you can bet at any given point or general game questions, but you cannot ask what you should do in a particular hand. The house rules always state “one player to a hand.”

And this link provided by RoToRa:

50: Pot Size & Pot-Limit Bets
A: Players are entitled to a pot count in pot-limit only. Dealers will not count the pot in limit and no-limit.

Found this by chance

The Dealer WILL NOT tell a player the total amount of the pot at any time. The dealer may spread the pot for viewing by the player with action pending, upon request.

4 Answers 4


The standard casino rule is that the dealer is not supposed to count the pot for you. He may, however, "spread" the pot on request so that its contents are more visible and easier for a player to count (especially if there are buried high-value chips).

An exception to this rule is if you pre-commit to a bet. For example "I bet the pot" or "I bet half the pot". Then the dealer is required to count, but that's not helping you because your action is already committed.

  • I assumed dealer was illegal. I actually asked about asking another player.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 20:48
  • Players are not obliged to communicate with you in any way. You can ask, but it would be considered rude. Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 20:49
  • Not arguing with just looking at the rule literally. "You are not allowed to ask anyone at the table for help in playing a hand, including the dealer." By strict interpretation I would think I could not even ask as that is help playing the hand.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 20:52
  • An exception to this rule is if you pre-commit to a bet. For example "I bet the pot" or "I bet half the pot" -- unless you're in a game where limits are tied to the pot, I don't think "i bet the pot" etc. is a legal verbalization. In games where pot is limit, you can ask the dealer.
    – mah
    Commented Jan 22, 2016 at 16:07
  • 1
    My answer stands. You are being childish, and I have no interest in meeting your unreasonable demands. I am happy to let the community here just my credibility against yours, and will not engage you further. Commented Jan 25, 2016 at 14:56

As a dealer, I'm not allowed to answer that question unless the game being played is pot limit. In no limit, I can spread the pot in a tournament, or cut down the stacks to show the amount in a cash game (in my casino we always keep cash chips stacked, rather than spreading them out). If a player says "pot," it's not binding in any way. If they say "I bet pot," they have to bet, since they said "I bet," but they're not bound to an amount. In both cases my response would be something along the lines of "It's not pot limit; give me a number." It isn't uncommon for player to ask another player how much is in the pot, and some will give an approximate answer. If they get it way wrong, I still can't give an actual number, but I'll do something to indicate the mistake, like maybe there's a black chip they didn't see, and I'll move it to make it more obvious.


I would say asking a player what is in the pot is a violation of the one player a hand rule common in every casino.

I consider knowing what is in the pot is a game skill, I would not tell you what was in the pot if you asked.

While it is allowed I do not think the practice of spreading the pot out so a player can count it, should be allowed. I simply do not think that a dealer should be doing anything that helps a player whom does not have a particular game skill.

The easiest way to figure out a pot size is not to count chips, but just recount the action. It is easier, and not so obvious to the other players.

  • I doubt anyone with the skill to know what to do with that information is going to lack the skill to either know what is in the pot already, or be able to come up with a close enough approximation (even without having the pot spread) to apply it towards a properly sized bet. It might technically be a OPTAH violation, but at that point I don't think it really matters.
    – mah
    Commented Jan 22, 2016 at 16:05

You can always ask the dealer, they should know what's in the pot pretty much at all times, especially if it's a cash game. If they don't know what's in the pot ask them to spread the pot and count it up yourself in your head. Both asking for a count and asking for the pot to be spread are perfectly ok.

There is no rules against asking a player per se, but it doesn't mean they have to give you an answer.

  • 2
    Wow, I have been told no by a dealer.
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 10:01
  • Could be house rules, could be just they're being an ass. I've always given a player a count when asked. If they say no just ask for the pot to be spread.
    – Grinch91
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 10:20
  • 2
    TDA rules say, that in the dealer only may give a pot count in pot limit games (Rule 50).
    – RoToRa
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 12:13
  • @RoToRa Thanks pokertda.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/…
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 16:35
  • In my experience, dealers are happy to "spread the pot" so you can do your own count, but (except in, for example, PLO) they're not going to give you a count. If you're not able to keep a running count yourself, you can probably get a close enough approximation based on remembering the action that has occurred and the number of players in the hand.
    – mah
    Commented Jan 20, 2016 at 19:53

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