My understanding is that it's common in limit games where usually there is a 4-bet (or 3-raise) betting cap to remove this cap when a hand is heads-up.

If so, what happens in a situation where we reach the river (in a flop game like hold'em) and the nuts is on board (for example a board of T♣J⋄Q♥K♠A♣)?

Does the betting remain uncapped in this instance and if so, how is this handled in a tournament situation, where calling behind as last to act on the river with the nuts is a punishable offense (due to the potential for soft-playing)? Are we obliged to sit and wait for the two players to get all their money in, one bet at a time, or should a TD faced with this situation rule that as the nuts were on board, no penalty is due? Is there any explicit mention of this situation in any published or widely accepted rule-set like TDA or similar?

I'd hope that if any player was dumb enough to call a floor on someone for calling behind in this situation, any decent TD would rule no penalty, but I'm just curious if this is documented in any TD rule books anywhere, or if anyone has first hand experience with such a situation?

I suppose the same question could be applied to PL or NL games, but there it's very easy (and not as time-consuming) to avoid calling behind with the nuts, so it seems like it would be less of an issue.

  • Funny, I am interested in the answers. Btw. the 10 is T, if you want the card be displayed :) Dec 6, 2016 at 16:07
  • @RayofCommand thanks, I saw a separate question the other day which implied that the T card didn't work, glad to know it does!
    – 3N1GM4
    Dec 6, 2016 at 16:09
  • Floor men and dealers are reasonable people.
    – paparazzo
    Dec 6, 2016 at 16:39
  • 1
    @Paparazzi usually they are, yes, but I've seen some pretty crazy rulings over the years, including some crazier than penalising someone for calling behind with the nuts on the river when the nuts is on board and cannot be beaten!
    – 3N1GM4
    Dec 6, 2016 at 17:20
  • 1
    Then call for a ruling before you let betting close out.
    – paparazzo
    Dec 6, 2016 at 17:24

1 Answer 1


Laws of nature prevail over tournament rules. We are allowed to avoid vicious circles, stack overflows and catch 22's without penalty.

  • Can you give an example of how each of these applies to poker?
    – user1934
    Dec 10, 2016 at 6:05
  • Yes. if the rule says you must bet or raise the nuts, and you do not because the nuts are on board, you have a catch 22, choices being to waste time making and obviously unnecessary raise thus wasting time, or be in violation of the rules.
    – Jon
    Dec 12, 2016 at 21:27
  • I've seen this more commonly referred to as Rule #1, as many poker rulebooks begin with a rule which essentially states that any of the other rules can be bent or broken by a floor person if it's in the interest of all players, or the fairness of the game. Basically, it covers "common sense" decisions like this one I suppose.
    – 3N1GM4
    Jan 26, 2017 at 10:13

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