Poker Tips by George: All-In and All-Out

By George Epstein
May 03, 2023

The expression “all-in” means that you are totally committed to something; it is frequently used in playing poker.

Presumably, it originated with the game of Texas hold’em to describe when you bet all of your chips. You may be calling another player’s bet or raising the pot. When you put all of your chips at risk during a hand, you are said to be all-in. But the hand continues. For subsequent bets made by the other players during that hand, the dealer creates a second, separate pot. You remain in the hand, but can win only the original pot in which you had participated by putting in chips.


Image Credit: Cardmates

A common example is when you have a strong hand and an opponent raises the pot before you, making a bet size larger than your remaining stack. Let’s say you’re playing poker at an online casino. You are short of chips on the table, so you put up all you have left; you are all-in. Then, the dealer places the difference in chips into a second pot, separated a short distance from the first pot.  You have no participation in that side pot, because you do not have the chips to match it. The dealer does the same for any other players calling the raise. I have seen as many as four separate pots in a single hand.

An Example All-in Hand

In an early position, our Hero started with pocket Aces in the hole. There was quite a bit of betting and raising during the hand. The flop and turn were A-10-9-10, giving the Hero Aces-full of tens – a monster! The Hero bet and was raised by a loose-aggressive player in a late position. Hero called the raise. The river was a blank. Hero checked his hand, and the late-position bet out. Hero figured him for trip 10s. and raised with his Aces-full, going all-in. The opponent called, turning up pocket tens – four-of-a-kind! WOW!

READ ALSO: Learn the Top 7 Poker Actions from Checking to Going All-In

In a cash game, Hero could buy in for additional chips if he decided to continue. In a tournament Hero would be out. If you find yourself going all-in and rebuying over and over during a game of poker, you are a big loser and would be well advised to take a long break from the game. Be sure you are not on tilt. Playing on tilt is almost always very costly. After a long break an and honest check-in with yourself,  you might consider starting again, but at a different table – perhaps at lower stakes. Give serious thought to quitting for the day. Tomorrow is another day…

All-in in Life

Going all-in is also used to describe occasions other than playing poker. With the Texas hold’em craze beginning in the late 1990s, the poker phrase “all-in” moved into our daily lives. Whereas “all-in” once referred to a scenario in which someone either wins a poker hand or loses everything in a moment, it now serves to describe when a person is enthusiastic or fully committed. It’s often used in business and marketing, sporting events, politics, the media, and even expressions related to religion.

Going All-out

In addition to going all-in, you can also go “all-out” – doing the very best that you are able. You put all your energy and enthusiasm into it. Examples: She went all-out to make this party an unforgettable experience for her guests. Comedians George Burns and Gracie Allen always went all-out to keep their audiences laughing. And you can go all-out when playing poker, too.

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George Epstein

After a long and productive career as a leader in the aerospace industry, upon his retirement in the 1990s, George Epstein chose poker as his “second career.” George has been widely recognized for his many significant accomplishments and contributions to our society. These include pioneering and innovations in various materials, testing and manufacturing technologies for […]

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