The most-misunderstood poker rule – NLHE “incomplete raise all-in”

Today we’re going to learn about what has to be one of the most misunderstood no-limit hold-em (NLHE) poker rules: what happens when someone goes all-in for an amount that is more than the current bet, but is not enough to be a full legal raise.

Example 1: Blinds are 100/200. UTG goes all-in for 325. UTG+1 wants to raise. What is the minimum UTG can bet (as a raise)?

The answer, except possibly in some European jurisdictions, is: 525.

You don’t have to take my word for it, you can get an answer from Matt Savage – one of the founders of the TDA (Tournament Directors Association) and a well-known WPT event runner (e.g., Bay101 Shooting Star). Here’s his answer:

RT @RobertLipkin: 100-200 blinds NL utg is allin for 325. folds to cutoff n he makes it 425. Is this a valid raise? Or must it be 525?<~525

Ok so how does this work?

In NLHE a legal raise must be equal to or greater than the previous RAISE amount (except in some European card rooms, more about this later). And, of course, it must be at least equal to the big blind amount. So at blinds 100/200 if UTG makes it 450, that is a raise of 250. The next legal raise would be 250 more than the current bet. In that case the next legal raise would be 450+250 = 700.

In our all-in example the UTG all-in is not a legal raise because it is only 125. The minimum raise amount in that spot is 200 – the big blind. An all-in is the only time such an incomplete-raise is legal in NLHE. The best way to understand how this incomplete raise works is to treat it as “a call, plus extra”. The all-in of 325 in this case is a call of the 200 big blind, plus 125 “extra”. That extra amount has no effect on game-play, except that it must be included (added into) all subsequent bets. So to arrive at the correct answer first ignore the extra, then compute the legal raise amount, then add the “extra” on to that.

Back to our example: Blinds 100/200, UTG goes all-in for 325. The “call plus extra” rule tells us that this is a call of 200 plus 125 extra. We can compute the next legal raise by pretending the all-in player simply called 200 and then figuring out the next legal minimum raise – which would be a raise of 200 to a total of 400 – and then adding the extra back in. 400 + 125 = 525. That is the next legal minimum raise.

This “call plus extra” rule also helps you understand whether or not betting is reopened by an incomplete all-in raise. Here’s another example. Blinds 100/200. UTG makes it 500. That is a raise of 300. UTG+1 goes all-in for 750, which of course is only 250 more than the 500. Button calls 750. Folds back to UTG. Can UTG raise?

Use the “call plus extra” rule. The UTG+1 all-in of 750 is a call of the 500 bet with 250 extra. It’s not a legal raise because the minimum raise at that point would have been 300 over the 500 (800 total).

Therefore when it gets back to UTG, UTG is NOT facing a raise. All that has happened by the “call plus extra” rule is two calls: UTG+1 called and the button called. And there is the 250 “extra” which is ignored as far as the game-play rules but of course must always be added into the final bets. Since no one has raised UTG’s original bet, UTG cannot reraise at this point. All he can do is call the extra 250 or fold.

Anytime you are confused by an incomplete partial-raise all-in, figure out what the answer would be if the all-in player had only called. That will give you the correct answer as to how the game play rules work (i.e., can other players raise), and don’t forget to add the “extra” back in after you arrive at your “what if he just called” answer.

Note of course that anyone after UTG+1 can still raise (except for UTG). The incomplete all-in raise certainly does not take away any subsequent player’s innate right to raise. If UTG+1 simply called 500, certainly the button could raise. When UTG+1 goes all-in for 750 (still just a “call, plus 250 extra”) this doesn’t somehow magically cap the button’s inherent options (sometimes you’ll find rooms where they make this terrible mistake too). The button can still raise at that point. Homework: compute what the button’s minimum raise would be at that point. Use the “call plus extra” rule to handle the UTG+1 bet of 750.

If you remember nothing else from this note, just remember: “call plus extra” and you’ll always get the right answer.

One place that players and sometimes tournament directors get confused is the 50% rule. You’ll hear this a lot: “UTG can raise (after the 750 all in) because the incomplete raise (250) is more than half of a legal raise” (300, or half being 150). This is wrong. This is always, unconditionally, wrong. There is no “half the raise” rule in NLHE except for when people make mistakes. What does that mean? Here’s an example.

Blinds 100/200. UTG throws out three 100 chips without saying anything, attempting to raise to 300 (in this example UTG is not all-in). Perhaps the blinds just went up and UTG forgot, and so his raise to 300 is illegal now. This is the only type of situation where the 50% rule applies. UTG’s illegal bet is 50% of a legal raise.  It’s 100 more than the BB, but it needed to be at least 200 more. In this case, UTG will be forced to make a minimum raise – to 400 – because his illegal action is 50% of a legal raise.

That 50% rule only applies in this illegal raise situation. It’s how we decide what you will be forced to do (call or raise) when you make an in-between illegal action. The 50% rule has no bearing on legal all-in bets.

Loose ends: the answer to the homework question is 1050. UTG made it 500, which is a raise of 300. Without the incomplete all-in raise to 750, the next legal raise would be 800 (another 300 over the 500). But we have that pesky all-in of 750, which is a call of 500 plus 250 “extra”. So for subsequent players the next legal raise has to include that extra amount. Therefore the next legal raise is 1050: 800 plus the 250 extra.

Finally Europe. I’m told that in France (I think; I’m not sure specifically where this applies) they use different rules entirely for minimum bet sizes, forcing all bets to be at least double the previous bet. So, blinds 100/200, UTG makes it 500. The next player in those type of card rooms has to make it at least 1000 (vs 800 everywhere else on the planet). I have no idea how those card rooms treat the incomplete all-in raise situation. But any place in the US that plays by “standard” rules (and especially TDA rules) will operate as described in this note. Or should operate that way, if the Floor knows the actual rules (which, sadly, isn’t always the case).

45 Replies to “The most-misunderstood poker rule – NLHE “incomplete raise all-in””

  1. 5 players left. Blinds 1000/2000. BB commits an all in blind which is less than double the BB.
    Correct play is? UTG treats all in as an out of turn raise therefore a call would be 2000 or a raise would be 4000.

    What happened was UTG calls the out of turn less than double raise. UTG + 1 also calls.

    Can UTG just call the out of turn less than double raise here? Shouldn’t he be forced to either just call the 2000 or raise to 4000? ( calling the 2000 being a ridiculous option, but..)

  2. Out of turn action by the BB should not be allowed to control, force, or limit the options of UTG. If I were the floor here I’m telling the BB to take his out of turn action back and forcing UTG to make a legal wager (of 2000 or 4000 in this case). I’m also scolding the dealer afterwards to not let confusing OOT action like that occur. Whether UTG is calling 2000 or raising to 4000 would depend on many details you haven’t provided (did he say “call” and then put out chips, or did he put out chips silently, and how much was UTG’s “illegally sized” bet — which would matter if the room has a half-bet rule for determining whether an illegal bet size is a call or a raise).

    It gets a little stickier because UTG+1 was also allowed to act; at some point I might have to consider making a “fairness” vs. “technically correct” ruling and allow the shenanigans to stand. But in the scenario described – UTG “calling” an OOT short (illegal) raise and UTG+1 calling that, I’m backing the action up to UTG and telling him to make a proper wager (possibly forced by his prior action based on the half-bet rule if that’s in use).

  3. I have a few questions, what if an all-in player did an all-in greater than the minimum raise?

    For example, player A is SB $1, player B is BB $2, player C raises to $6, player D all-ins for $25 then what would player E’s minimum raise be?

    Would player E’s minimum raise be $44? So the difference between Player D and C’s bet which is $19(25-6) OR would it be $29? Which is the difference between between player C and B $4(6-2)?

    My guess would be $44 because the all-in would be treated as a raise since its significantly greater than what player C’s minimum raise would be.

  4. $44 — for the reasons you give. The $25 bet was a legal raise; the fact that it’s also an all-in doesn’t change that.

  5. Thanks so much for your reply Neil.

    But I also have a few more questions and scenarios that I need some clarification with.

    Scenario 1
    Player A bets $98
    Player B calls $98
    Player C raises to $201
    Player D all in for $234
    Player E all in for $356
    Player A wants to minimum raise.

    So in this first scenario, I would say player A’s minimum raise would be $511. So, how I’m working this out is the difference between D and E’s raises ($155) and adding that only E’s all-in of $356 making $511.

    But this is the tricky part that confuses me. Player C has made a legal raise to $201 and D had all-in for $234. My processing of working is, if player D had made a legal all-in raise, it would be $253 (252.5 rounded off) because of the 50% rule. But in this case, D hadn’t made it to $253, therefore it’s just a good old all-in. Then, player E had all-in for $356, well over the minimum raise, E has basically made an ‘all-in raise’ to $356.

    So now, to figure out player A’s minimum raise, it would be the difference between player C’s raise ($201) and E’s all-in ($356) which is $155, then adding that into E’s $356 making $511.

    Scenario 2
    Player A bets $23
    Player B calls $23
    Player C raises to $110
    Player D all into $165
    Player E wants to minimum raise

    So to work this out, you would present that the all-in player had actually called with a remaining $55, so to figure out E’s minimum raise, you back track and figure out the difference between B’s call and C’s raise which is $87. So then adding that onto D’s call of $110, making $197 then adding back the $55 we had left over hence making E’s minimum raise to be $252.
    Would it be $220, because player D had made an all-in raise because its more than 50% of the previous raise (so half of 87 (43.5) plus the 110 making 154 (153.5 rounded)). Therefore, because D had all-in for $165, A’s minimum raise would be the difference between C’s 110, $55, plus D’s all in making $220.
    Which would be the correct answer?

    Scenario 3
    Player A bets $15
    Player B All in $25
    Player C All in $45
    Player D calls $45
    Player E wants to minimum raise

    So player E would need to raise to $65, the difference between B and C because their all-ins are both all-in raises because of the 50% rule right?

    This is why all this is so confusing D: I don’t understand some of these conflicting rules.

  6. So without working through all the scenarios, let’s first clarify something: The 50% rule has nothing to do with any of them.

    The 50% rule, when it is in use (all TDA tournaments, many/most cash games) answers the question of whether an ILLEGAL action is a call or a raise.

    So: Blinds are 100/200 and UTG says “300” and puts out 3 black/100 chips. This is an illegal action. Since 300 is an illegal raise of 100, and the minimum legal raise is 200, it’s “halfway there” and in most tournaments (all TDA rulesets) UTG will be forced to make a bet of 400 at that point. Had he said “250” instead (assuming 25 chips were in play) he would be forced by the 50% rule to make just a call (limp) at that point.

    This has nothing to do with all-ins, ever.

    Worth repeating: it has nothing to do with all-ins, ever. Because (assuming the action is “open”) it’s always legal to go all-in, whether or not you have enough chips.

    So, given that, the answer to your first question is $511, and we get there like this: C raised $103 (201 – 98). D’s all-in is an incomplete raise since it needs to be a raise of at least $103 (C’s raise). This has nothing to do with the 50% rule though; even if D goes all in for $300 (a raise of 99 from C) it’s still a “call plus extra” as explained in the original post. With the numbers as given, D’s all-in is a call of the $201 and an “extra” action bet of $33. At this point if player E wants to raise he has to go at least $103 more than C’s bet, and add in the $33 extra action. E’s minimum bet is therefore 201 + 103 + 33 = $337. As it turns out, E raised to $356, which is enough to be a complete raise. We can think of his raise in two different ways. The “purest” way is to go back to treating the $234 as a “call plus extra”. Work the whole problem out assuming that that $234 was really $201, and then go back and put the $33 back in. So let’s do that. E makes it $356, which is a raise of $155 over the $201. But we have to account for the “$33 extra”. So E’s raise is really just a raise of $122, plus the $33 extra he has to put in for the $234 all-in. Either way you think of it, you get to $155 as the current raise increment and the next bet would have to be $511.

    I don’t have time to work the other scenarios but to the extent that the confusion is based on misunderstanding the 50% rule, go back and think about them with no reference to the 50% rule at all. It doesn’t apply in any of these cases.

  7. I suppose another quick example might help illuminate the difference. Blinds 100/200. UTG limps (200). UTG+1 says “300”. This is an illegal raise as already discussed, and UTG+1 will be forced to make his bet be 400 (no more, no less) by the 50% rule – he was halfway to a legal raise and he has to complete the raise. In this scenario when it gets back around to UTG (assuming everyone else folds), the action will be open to him and he could re-raise if he wants to (as he is facing a bet of 400 vs his limp of 200 at that point).

    Same scenario: Blinds 100/200, UTG limps 200. But now UTG only HAS 300 chips and says “all-in”. This is legal. The only time an insufficient raise is legal is for an all-in. So, per the original posting, this will be considered a CALL, plus an additional extra “side bet” of 100. This action will NOT re-open the betting to UTG because UTG has not been raised by this all-in. Even though UTG is facing a bet of “halfway to a raise” (300 on his 200), it’s not a raise. It’s a “call plus extra” as described in the original ruling.

    The 50% rule only applies for “fixing” illegal actions, it does not apply to anything having to do with a legal, but short, all-in.

  8. Thanks for all of these scenerios but I need an answer on this specific incident to settle a bet so please help.
    SB 500 BB 1000 UTG all in for 1700 the button calls 1700. UTG argues that the button cannot call he must complete the raise to 2000 because his all in is less then the min raise amount and there were still players to act. I was running the tourney so I said that he was allowed to call and didn’t have to make it 2000 and you can’t force someone to raise to basically protect the all in player. Please explain which is right to settle this bet. Can a player call an all in that is more then the BB but less than the Min raise amount, or do they have to complete the raise even if they only intend on calling. Thank you
    P.S The person also said that this happened at the WSOPC in Cherokee. I told him the floor should have been called because the dealer was wrong.

  9. Assuming your scenario is no-limit holdem, the button can call 1700.

    The “call-plus-extra” way of thinking about partial-raise all-ins tells you this answer directly. The all-in of 1700 at 500/1000 will function as a CALL of 1000, plus “700 extra”. To get the right values for subsequent legal actions, first treat the 1700 as a call of 1000 (with 700 “extra”), figure out the answer for that case, then add 700 back in.

    So, in this case, if the all-in had only been a call 1000, the button can clearly also call 1000. Take that answer, add the “extra” back in, and the result is the button can bet (i.e., call) 1700.

    That’s the TDA rule, and the WSOP rule. “But I saw it ruled differently at …” could, of course, also be true, but is either a mistaken ruling (which happen frequently) or perhaps the casino in question has a specific/different house rule.

  10. I should add that in a LIMIT tournament, I believe the button would have to “complete” to 2000; however, I am not fully-versed in limit tournament rules.

  11. Thank you very much for your quick reply to my question. And yes it was NLHE. Hopefully, your answer will show enough proof to my buddy that he now understands the ruling. And that if he did see that happen in a WSOPC event then it was a mistake from the dealer, that unfortunately does happen at times.

  12. Yes, if it was a dealer ruling and not a floor ruling the odds of it being wrong go way up. Also because dealers (sometimes even floors) get confused because they are always going from one game type to another and the rules vary (especially limit vs. no-limit).

    I also should have added that if the button DID want to raise, the minimum raise would be 2700. Again this follows the call-plus-extra rule. Without the 700 “extra” the minimum raise is (obviously) to 2000. So the minimum raise after the 1700 all-in is the minimum raise for the “1000 call” (2000) and then put the “extra” back in (700) … 2700.

  13. Neil, thanks for taking the time to explain this; however, I have a question — what’s the authoritative source for your explanation of the rules — and also a note that, in one regard, your explanation appears to contradict the TDA Poker Rules (available here: ) which is the only authoritative source on this that I’ve found, so far.

    By your “call plus extra” interpretation, two short all-in raises amounting to at least a full raise would not actually count as a legal raise, in order to open up the action again. e.g., blinds are 100/200, UTG calls, UTG+1 goes all in for 300, UTG+2 goes all in for 400. The “call plus extra” interpretation would seem to classify this as NOT a legal raise, but rather a “call plus extra, plus extra.” So if this gets back around to UTG as 400, he may not raise.

    The TDA rules, on the other hand, explicitly state that betting is open for any player facing a full raise — in this case 200, and indicating that UTG would have an option to raise when the 400 comes back around to him. (See Rule 44, and especially the longform version which explains in detail with multiple examples.)

  14. You are correct in that multiple/layered short-all-ins can add up to (and thus become) a full raise. I could see that that’s a case where the call-plus-extra way of thinking about it could lead you to the wrong answer as you point out as you also need to realize that if the “extra” becomes large enough when it gets back to player A that it might become a full raise and re-open action.

    These write-ups were all based on TDA rules (as of 2013 when the post was written) and tweets from Matt Savage back when he used to regularly tweet about stuff like this.

  15. There are three people in the hand. The turn comes and player A goes all in for less than the BB. Does player B and C just put in what player A bet or do they have to put in the BB amount and have a side pot. Example blinds 500/1000 Player A bets 800 all in. Can player B & C just call the 800 or do they have to put in 1000 each leaving a side pot of 400.

  16. To be honest I’m not 100% sure in this case; however, if forced to rule on it I would rule they can just call the short all-in if they want to. The reasoning being that, following the “call plus extra” logic, the all-in of 800 at a time when the minimum bet should be 1000 is really a “call of zero, plus extra” if that helps clarify the thought process. The all-in of 800 is not a legal full-bet (the minimum for such an action being 1000 if the BB is 1000); hence I would consider the whole thing part of the “extra” and allow it to be called under the same logic that the “extra” amount is treated in other cases.

  17. I should add – I don’t believe they could just bet 1000 at that point either; once we are ruling the 800 to be “extra” along the same lines as other cases, the minimum raise total becomes the BB (1000) plus the extra (800) for 1800.

  18. Ok I got one for you. A blins are 400/800. A makes it 1600 B goes all in with 900 C calls 1600 D wants to go all in with 32000 . The people I play with said I can’t raise that because the one person is already all in. Is that right or can I raise it?

  19. Your example is a little confusing (are you D or are you someone else here?), so I’ll try to give a general-case answer that should answer your precise question and others like it.

    In a no-limit game, NOTHING any player does can EVER take away any legal action choice you had prior to that player acting. Slow down and think about that. Generally each round you have the right to call/fold/raise the first time the action is on you. Just because people acting prior to you have done something – whatever it is they have done – they cannot reduce your fundamental choices that you always have.

    We can construct some nit-picky exceptions to this exact wording so I’ll come back to it, but the best way to answer a question like the one posed is to ask “if B had folded instead” (or whichever player it is that people are claiming is now somehow stopping you from raising) … “if B had folded instead, could you raise?” If the answer to that is yes, then you can raise. Whatever it is that B does can’t “take away” your right to raise if you would have had it if B folded.

    The nit-picky exceptions would be things like where your option wasn’t really taken away, but your chip stack size comes into play. For example, if blinds are 25/50 and you have 500 chips, and you haven’t yet acted on this round, then when it is your turn you will of course have the right to raise as you always do. However, if before your turn gets to you there have been raises and all-ins and the action is already at 800 to-go, then your 500 chips aren’t enough to “raise” any more. So in that sense something someone did in front of you “took a choice away from you” – you cannot raise now (because you don’t have enough chips). But you still do have the *right* to raise; you just would no longer have the *ability* to do so in this example.

    B going all-in short cannot possibly take away a right to raise that you had before B went all-in short.

  20. Sorry, yes I am D. They wouldn’t let me go all in. So I just had to call. Then on the turn getting round I went all in and A and C folded. It was just a little annoying and the got a look at the turn card. I’m just glad they didn’t have anything or I would have been a little upset.

  21. Hello Neil and thanks for the great read!

    Please let me know the answer to two simple and fast scenarios which are confusing me.

    Scenario 1: (blinds 50/100).
    seat 1 is BB with 100.
    seat 2 raises to 210 (so 110 more).
    seat 3 goes all in 250 (40 more).
    When action goes back to seat 1, what is the min raise for him?

    Scenario 2: (blinds 50/100).
    seat 1 is BB with 100.
    seat 2 raises to 210 (so 110 more).
    seat 3 goes all in 250.
    seat 4 goes all in 300.
    seat 5 goes all in 350.
    seat 6 goes all in 400.
    When action goes back to seat 1, what is the min raise for him?

    I’ve always calculated the min raise by the following rule:
    min raise = max money from the pot + largest difference from two consecutive bets/raises (including the BB).
    That would be
    scenario 1: 350 + (210 – 100) = 360.
    scenario 2: 400 + (210 – 100) = 510.


  22. Scenario 1: I agree with 360. Your rule is a different way of saying the same thing as my “it’s a call, with extra” concept for understanding incomplete all-ins.

    Scenario 2: We have to take into account that the cumulative effect of the various incomplete all-ins has become a full, legal, raise by the time it got back to seat 1. Since the sum of all the incomplete raises is a total of 190 (400-210), which is more than seat 2’s original raise of 110 (210-100), the raise amount after the all-in of 400 is now 190. Seat 1 has to make it 590 to go minimimum if he wants to raise. In your specific scenario this situation of “the incompletes have, in aggregate, become a full raise” actually happened at seat 5 (350-210=140, which is more than 110)

  23. Hello again and thanks for the answer!

    I didn’t know that if the sum of incomplete raises makes up to at least a full legal raise and if this amount is the largest yet, then this amount should be considered as the largest previous raise. I knew that if the aggregated amount is enough to re-open the betting for a user, it will, but never considered the case that is should be taken into account for the min raise unless it was a single legal one. It’s… interesting.

    I’ve further thought of some edgy cases in which i’ve no idea what should be the min raise and why. This could only happen in tournaments i guess.

    Case 1: (blinds 50/100)
    – Big blind only has 10 chips and he’s forced all in.
    – What is UTG’s min raise in this situation and why? What about the call amount?
    – What if the same scenario happened on the flop (first player goes all in for 10). What would the next seat min raise be?

    Case 2: (blinds 50/100)
    – Big blind only has 10 chips and he’s forced all in.
    – UTG goes all in for 30 chips.
    – What is UTG+1’s min raise in this situation and why? What about the call amount?
    – What if the same scenario happened on the flop (first player goes all in for 10 and the next goes all in for 30). What would the next seat min raise be?

    Case 3: (blinds 50/100)
    – Big blind only has 10 chips and he’s forced all in.
    – UTG goes all in for 150.
    – What is UTG+1’s min raise in this situation and why?
    – What if the same scenario happened on the flop (first player goes all in for 10 and the next goes all in for 150). What would the next seat min raise be?

    My guesses:
    Case 1:
    Preflop: UTG’s min raise is 200 because the full BB is reckoned (not sure). Call amount is the BB (100).
    Flop: 110 min raise. Call amount is 10.

    Case 2:
    Preflop: UTG+1’s min raise is 200. Call amount is still 100.
    Flop: 130 min raise. Call amount is 30.

    Case 3:
    Preflop: 150 + 140 = 290?
    Flop: Same as preflop?

    Please correct me if i’m wrong 🙂

  24. Case 1: agree on all scenarios. The “why” is because, as you say, the BB still applies. Preflop this case isn’t really an “incomplete all-in” in the sense that I wrote the posting about. It’s not a voluntary bet; it’s not an incomplete raise either; it’s just an incomplete posting of a BB which is really a different circumstance. The BB still applies; the preflop call amount for everyone else is still the BB and the preflop min raise is still to 2xBB.

    One good way to reassure yourself for these funny cases is to make sure that the following concept always stays true: suppose the BB had MORE chips, i.e., had exactly enough to make the BB and be all-in. What would the minimum calls and raises be for everyone else? They would still be the BB and 2xBB. If the BB has FEWER chips, we certainly don’t want that to somehow magically cause subsequent players to have to make LARGER bets. That’s exactly backwards. Nor do we want the BB being short to somehow make things easier for subsequent players (i.e., decrease the minimum bet structure of the game; the BB is still always the minimum bet preflop). So being BB for 10 certainly can’t make the subsequent player’s minraise be, e.g., 210; nor should being BB for 10 make the required call amount somehow increase to 110 when if the BB had had exactly 100 chips (i.e., MORE chips) the call amount would stay 100 (i.e., LOWER than 110). This tells us that trying to make the minimum call in this scenario be 110 is obviously wrong, as it is backwards (having fewer chips is raising the required betting of subsequent players where having MORE chips would not). And, of course, you can never just limp-in for less than the BB; that’s just a separate rule and is not affected just because because the BB doesn’t have enough chips to post a full BB.

    Postflop it is an incomplete “raise” (bet) all-in and the “call plus extra” rules apply but it’s really a “check plus 10 extra” (or “bet of zero plus 10 extra” if that helps you think about it. I agree with all your answers in this Case 1 scenario.

    I agree with all the Scenario 2 answers as well, and with similar analysis.

    Case 3: Ignore the short BB because, as we’ve already covered, it being short really has no bearing on anything else. The game still plays as if a BB were posted. UTG+1’s minraise is 250, following the normal/simple “call plus extra” rule: the UTG 150 is a “call of 100 and then add 50 more”; UTG+1 can call 150, or can raise to 200 as normal and then “add 50 more” making the minimum raise amount be 250 total (a raise of 100 over the 150 UTG).

    Postflop if player 1 goes all-in for 10 (less than the 100 BB) and player 2 goes all-in for 150, then yes the minraise will be to 290 because player 2’s raise amount is really only 140 (10 of his bet has to go towards the “10 extra” of player 1’s “bet zero and add 10 extra” incomplete all-in).

  25. I agree with you in all your points on the previous comment and its all clear to me now. However i’ve found this post that seems to say a bit different. According to the accepted answer, if BB is 100 and UTG raises all in to 199 then the min raise for UTG+1 will be 200 since the 199 all in was not a full raise and it doesn’t count (read the comments). For me this seems stupid, but who am i to judge.

    I’ve thought more about your previous answer regarding the aggregation of incomplete raises and is still not 100% clear to me…
    Lets consider the same example:

    seat 1 is BB with 100.
    seat 2 raises to 210 (so 110 more).
    seat 3 goes all in 250.
    seat 4 goes all in 300.
    seat 5 goes all in 350.
    seat 6 goes all in 400.
    seat 7 …

    To my understanding there are two factors that decide what is the next min raise.
    1. The amount to ADD TO (or the BET amount)
    2. The amount to RAISE WITH (or the RAISE amount)

    1. (This is always the largest of the previous bets/raise total amounts. In my original example is 400, because no one has raised above.)
    2. (Its usually the largest difference between two consecutive previous bet/raise total amounts).

    Any incomplete raise will increase the bet amount. We can all agree on this.

    But you say that if they sum up to at least the previous largest raise amount (so 190 in my example) they also act together as a full legal raise and we’ll have to change the “raise amount” to the aggregated amount. (Another way of looking at this is to ignore any incomplete raise until the first one qualifies as a full legal raise in respect to the last previous FULL raise (which was 210 raise in my example).

    If that is the case then:
    A. What is seat 6 min raise if they had enough chips? 350 + 140?
    B. If seat 6 would have raised to 1000, what would seat 7 min raise be? 1000 + (1000 – 350)? or 1000 + (1000 – 210)?
    C. If seat 5 would have raised to 1000, what would seat 6 min raise be?
    D. What happens if, in the middle of the short all-in series we have a full raise? For example seat 7 would have raised to 1000. What was the previous min raise? Do we stop aggregating at seat 5 because there we find the first full raise in the series (140) and then check the rest of the series trying to find a bigger one? Or we continue past seat 5 and also include seat 6’s raise because it was another consecutive incomplete raise? If the latter, then why stop at seat 6 and not add the seat 7’s 1000 raise as well?

    Another example:
    Seat 1 bets 100,
    Seat 2 is all in 150.
    Seat 3 is all in 210.
    What is the next min raise? Is it 210 + (210 – 100) ignoring the 150 because it was not a full raise and because the next short raise finally accounts to more than the previous 100 min bet?

    I’m trying to figure out a general “formula” or logical way to calculate it in all cases. Lets consider an abstract series of raises of any incremental values. Some are incomplete raises and some are full raises. To calculate the next min raise we have to:
    1. Calculate the bet amount which is the largest of the values in the series.
    2. Calculate the raise amount which is either the last full raise or any previous aggregated and consecutive incomplete amounts.
    3. Add them together.

    I feel that there is no way of knowing if a raise is a full or an incomplete one until we compare it to the one calculated from the previous amount.

    Considering the following 3 rules, are they enough to cover all possible scenarios?

    1. All raises must be equal to or greater than the size of the previous bet or raise on that betting round, except for an all-in wager. (RROP quote.)
    2. A raise amount cannot be smaller than the BB in any betting round.
    3. If multiple incomplete consecutive raises are present, they must be treated as a single raise of an amount equal to the largest of them. (side note – any following full raise would be the largest yet, discarding any previous amounts aggregated or not, otherwise it will not be a full raise).

    bet 100
    raise 300
    all in 310 (can be discarded)
    all in 320
    raise 600
    all in 700 (can be discarded)
    all in 800 (can be discarded)
    all in 900
    raise 2000

    the above sequence can be rewritten as:
    bet 100
    raise 300
    all in 320
    raise 600
    all in 900
    raise 2000

    Now we can easily compute the next min raise as 2000 + (2000 – 900). If the last raise of 2000 didn’t exist then is: 900 + (900 – 600).

    Please let me know your thoughts on this matter and sorry for the long post. Hope it’s not too much trouble 🙂

  26. Don’t have time at moment for the long questions, but on your first, shorter, question regarding the “accepted answer” in the comments: they are just plain wrong. Or, at least, they are wrong for almost any tournament that follows (US?) WPT and WSOP rules, and my source is Matt Savage who is the tournament director for various events (most notably the Bay101 Shooting Star tournament) and one of the guys who started the TDA.

    Here’s an old tweet of his on basically this exact point with different bet amounts. Note that his answer is the min raise is to 525, whereas under the “accepted answer” of those comments it would have been only 400 (same concept that led to 199->200).

    It’s always possible, of course, that any given house has its own, bizarre, rules. But Matt Savage’s rule, which is what this whole post was based on, is what is followed (or supposed to be followed) at almost all major tournaments, and I only write “almost all” (instead of “all”) because I know from experiences, especially in other countries, sometimes there are crazy local rules.

  27. Matt Savage also just recently tweeted this post-flop example, which (again) shows that the short all-in is a “call plus extra” (in this case – being first to act post-flop, it’s a “check plus extra” or “call of zero plus extra” if you prefer) and that the minraise would be whatever the minraise would have been without the short all-in, plus the “extra” (“Action only” portion as he writes in his tweet is the more-correct terminology but I write “extra” because that “action” word confuses people as it has multiple meanings).

  28. Interesting case: Blinds 1000/2000. Action in pre-flop!

    A. Heads-up:
    SB has a big stack but BB only has 1500. SB posts 1000, BB is forced all in. Action back to SB. He can fold or call. What is his call amount?
    a. 500 because even if that would be less than one BB, he is the last to act.
    b. 1000 because pre-flop, all players must enter the hand with at least one BB.

    B. 4-players:
    SB, BB and UTG+1 all have 500 chips each. UTG has a large stack. SB and BB are forced all in. Action to UTG. What is his call amount?
    a. 500 because no one else has more than that.
    b. 2000 because pre-flop, all players must enter the hand with at least one BB.

  29. case A: Both your answers net to the same result, because if the SB calls the full 2000 (which is technically/pedantically correct/required), the very next thing that would happen would be the dealer giving the SB 500 back as the SB is heads up against the BB who is all-in for 1500. It doesn’t matter in this one case because there are no other players in the hand.

    case B: You always have to call the full BB amount or go all-in if you lack sufficient chips to do that. The BB amount is set by the blind structure and not affected by the actual BB player being short on chips. UTG must call 2000, the full BB amount.

  30. Nell,

    I would like to ask a favor…. Is it possible to get a short version of the call plus extra rule to put on our House Rules signage on the wall of our card room? It would be most appreciated.

  31. A bets $21
    B calls $21
    C raises to $78
    D undershoves for $100

    action back to A. I’m assuming A can reraise as from his perspective, the $100 all in is a legal raise? If so, is the minimum reraise 1. $100 + ($78-$21) = $157
    OR 2. $100 + ($100-$21) = $179

    Appreciate your help.

  32. C’s raise to $78 (a legal raise of $57 above A’s $21 bet) already opens A’s option to raise, so D’s undershove certainly can’t take that option away. Yes, A can raise.

    D’s undershove for $100 is a call of $78 plus $22 “extra”. Compute what A can/has-to do based on D just calling $78, then come back and add the $22 “extra” back in. A is facing a raise (from C) of $57 (to $78) which was “sort of” called by D (with $22 extra). A’s minimum raise is therefore $57 above the $78 and add the $22 back in. Answer: $78 + $57 + $22 = $157. I am showing the work in a slightly more explicit way than you did in your method of getting to $157 but the answer and general reasoning is the same.

  33. Nell, I wasn’t going to comment as this post was from a long time ago, but I see you are still respond to comments so I assume you actually see these replies. I feel the need to correct your betting interpretation from a scenario posted by JASON on Oct 9, 2016.

    Scenario 1
    Player A bets $98
    Player B calls $98
    Player C raises to $201
    Player D all in for $234
    Player E all in for $356
    Player A wants to minimum raise.

    So in this first scenario, I would say player A’s minimum raise would be $511. So, how I’m working this out is the difference between D and E’s raises ($155) and adding that only E’s all-in of $356 making $511.

    Your answer was $511 and you explained how you got there. However, the answer was incorrect.

    The rule has been that a minimum raise needs to be the largest prior bet or raise of the current betting round. In this example, the following has occurred, and based on example it is assumed that this is action taken after the flop as no blinds are ever mentioned…

    Player A bets $98 (+98)
    Player B calls $98 (+0)
    Player C raises to $201 (+103)
    Player D all in for $234 (+33)
    Player E all in for $356 (+122)
    Player A wants to minimum raise.

    The current action when it gets to Player A is he either has to Fold, Call 356 or he can reraise once again. The largest raise during this betting round is +122, so if he wants to min raise, he has to wager 122 more than the current bet, thus the actual minimum reraise is to $478, not $511 as you previously posted. Matt Savage is very active on twitter and he can easily confirm.

  34. As for your other rulings… I agree with almost everything except the following (Or answering one you didn’t answer)…

    A) DannyD’s Scenario…

    The Big blind committing all in blind for less than double the big blind.

    You are correct that the out of turn raise is not currently binding when UTG had action. UTG was correctly facing a wager of 2000. Since the big blind’s raise is not currently binding, if UTG posted enough to make that call, the 50% rule will determine whether he posted enough to force a raise to 4000 or if he called 2000. If it is ruled a raise (If the Big blind out of turn posted 3000 or more), then the action is 4000 to UTG, UTG+1 Calls 4000. Your reply basically said the same thing. But, The tricky thing here is that when action gets back to the Big Blind, he can actually pull back his extra and fold as action changed for the Big blind which was a wager of 2000 as his all in for more blind out of turn isn’t binding if anyone raises in turn before the action gets back to him.

    B) JASON’s Other scenarios that you didn’t respond to..

    His second scenario, the min raise for Player E is $87 more than D’s bet thus would be $252.
    His third scenario, the min raise for Player E would be $65.

    C) Sheri’s scenario.

    An all-in for less than a blind that occurs after the flop, the subsequent players can call the less. Thus, blinds 500/1000 postflop, player A bets all in for 800, Player B can either fold, call 800, or raise to 1800 or more. If this were preflop and player A was the UTG, the next player to act still has to complete the big blind so can call 1000, or if they want to raise, which that min raise would be 2000.

    D) As for John’s scenario, there are people that get confused by the rules that open the pot if someone goes all in for less. You are correct that Player D has all options available to them.

    H) Dorian’s first set of scenarios

    You correctly ruled on Scenario 1, but incorrectly ruled on Scenario 2. on scenario 2, Seat 1’s min reraise would be 110 more than the current wager posted by Seat 6, thus 510 is indeed the minimum reraise. Once again, it is the largest prior bet or raise of the current betting round.

    As for the rest of Dorians examples, I agree with the answers you’ve provided when you provided one. from her examples from her Dec 19, 2017 posts 1:24, I may respond when I get a moment as her post is indeed long and perhaps I can provide a clear explanation on how to look at it.

  35. This has turned into the world championships of difficult questions!

    It’s certainly possible I have this one wrong, but I don’t see the mistake yet in this scenario:

    Player A bets $98 (+98)
    Player B calls $98 (+0)
    Player C raises to $201 (+103)
    Player D all in for $234 (+33)
    Player E all in for $356 (+122)
    Player A wants to minimum raise.

    And the way I’d ask the question is this: let’s say Player D folds:

    Player A bets $98 (+98)
    Player B calls $98 (+0)
    Player C raises to $201 (+103)
    Player D [FOLDS]
    Player E all in for $356 (+155)
    Player A wants to minimum raise.

    Now it’s pretty clear that A’s minraise is to $511. You are suggesting that if D goes all-in for $201 (the same as C), that the minraise would (still) be $511, but if D goes all-in for $202, the minraise would go down (!) to $510 (the same calculation that has it going down to $122 when D goes all-in for $234, both $202 and $234 being incomplete raise all-ins).

    I have to admit these scenarios are getting pretty complicated and, in real life, would probably be subject to “there are rules, and then there are rulings” (which might not be the same ha!), and I can’t be certain I have it right. But I’m generally pretty sure that if changing someone’s action from a bet/raise/all-in to a fold makes the required future action go UP, something is wrong with the calculation.

  36. Yeah, you’re right about (A) and the BB being able to pull back his “all-in blind out of turn” based on action changing; modulo any house rules about these sorts of shenanigans.

    Didn’t go through the rest of the scenarios, at some point (as you were surprised to see me still trying to reply here!) it just gets to be more work than it’s worth. I think I explained the general principles and, pragmatically, the really crazy scenarios are going to be subject to my previous “well, there’s the RULE, and then there’s the RULING” observation. 🙂

  37. I am a beginner trying to work this out myself, and I don’t know if some disagreement in this forum is due to differences between tournament rules (fairly standardized) and cash games (for which there are more local rule variations) …

    Anyway, for the following scenario, Razor says:

    “Player A bets $98 (+98)
    Player B calls $98 (+0)
    Player C raises to $201 (+103)
    Player D all in for $234 (+33)
    Player E all in for $356 (+122)
    Player A wants to minimum raise.

    The current action when it gets to Player A is he either has to Fold, Call 356 or he can reraise once again. The largest raise during this betting round is +122, so if he wants to min raise, he has to wager 122 more than the current bet, thus the actual minimum reraise is to $478, not $511 as you previously posted. Matt Savage is very active on twitter and he can easily confirm.”

    But it seems to me that the largest raise during the round is by E to $155, since D’s bet is really just a call plus extra, not a legitimate raise. And, therefore, A must raise at least $155 over $356, or $511.

    Is this proper reasoning or not?

  38. Neil,
    Thanks for the reply.
    I have had the chance recently to speak with 4 poker dealer instructors who are responsible for coming up with a set of poker rules for a new casino opening. They don’t agree among themselves on the correct way to resolve this issue and have reached out to several more experienced dealers and card room supervisors, and the results of their research is that opinions are divided and there are reasonable arguments on both sides.
    So for the time, I suppose, rulings will likely vary from house to house.

  39. Neil,
    I forgot to mention that I am strictly speaking about cash games, not tourneys.

  40. I agree that cash games sometimes have house rule variations; all “real” tournaments I’ve played use TDA or similar rules (WSOP/WPT/etc). Cash games sometimes have jurisdiction-specific rules too; I’ve run into odd rules/rulings in Canada and I’m told that Europe has some quirks (no experience there).

    I wrote this article five years ago (!) after Matt Savage tweeted about a couple of the easy cases, typically: A bets, B goes all-in for an incomplete raise, C asks “what is my minimum raise” – and after having seen many such rulings actually made at the tables it occurred to me that “call plus extra” was a better way to explain it. The old-school lingo sometimes labels that extra amount “action only” and that lingo really confuses (some) people. When they say “the incomplete raise is action-only” what they mean is “it’s a call plus extra” 🙂

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