Most cash games in casinos in the UK are played pot-limit. This means that players can bet up to the amount in the pot. As an example, say five players – A, B, C, D and E – each ante £1, making a total of £5 in the pot. Player A is first on the left of the dealer and opens the betting for £5. Player B calls this £5 and chooses to raise the amount in the pot, which is now £15 (£5 in antes, £5 from player A and the £5 from player B) for a total bet of £20. Player C calls this £20 and raises the amount of the pot again, which is now £50, to make the bet to the next player £70. Player D could then call £70 and raise the pot, which would now be £170 to make the bet a total of £240 to player E. Although this is an extreme example it shows how the amounts in pot limit can increase very quickly. So if you are organising a poker evening at home and don’t want anyone to go broke, it’s best to stay away from pot limit. This also applies to no-limit betting, the method used in Late Night Poker. In no-limit, a player can bet all of the money he has on the table in front of him, at any time, regardless of the pot size.
If at any stage of the hand a player does not have enough money to cover a bet, but nevertheless wants to call, he puts his remaining money in the pot and declares himself to be ‘all-in’. Any further bets go into what is called a ‘side pot’, which the all-in player cannot win. He continues, however, to be in contention for the first pot which is called the’main pot’. It is not uncommon for a side pot to be bigger than the main pot. Let’s have a simple three-player example. There is £100 in the pot and player A bets £20. Player B has only £5 left, so he calls for the £5. Player C also calls but for the original bet of £20. Thus, player B will be in contention for the original £100 in the pot plus his own £5 and £5 from each of the other two players. This makes a main pot of £115 with a side pot of £30. Only players A and C are in contention for the side pot, but all three players are in contention for the main pot.