The half-bet rule should have been enforced



In a $1-$2 no-limit hold’em cash game a player raises to $13. Next player wasn’t paying attention and says, “$20,” throwing out $20 in chips. The dealer says it was already $13 so this is a no-raise, giving him back his change. After the hand, I asked the dealer about it. I told him it was my understanding that if somebody raises more than half the previous raise, then they need to make a full raise (in this case, it would have been $11 more than the $13, so $24). He said that’s only in a limit game. Upon further discussion, he agreed if the second player had just said “raise” and put out $20, he would have had to increase it to $24, but saying $20 made it a call. — Crackpot One, via

The “Half Bet” rule deals with half or more bets in limit games when there is an all-in. This is not the case here. In situations involving half a bet or more from a player who isn’t all-in, the player should be required to complete the bet to the minimum raise regardless of whether the game is limit or no-limit. It is important to know the only options are to leave the $20 in the pot and fold, or complete the raise to $24. Taking back the $20 and folding, or raising more than the minimum amount would not be correct.

There is a huge problem with not requiring players in this situation to complete the raise. It opens the door for shot-takers. A good example would be: Player A bets $200, Player B puts $399 in the pot and gets reraised by Player A. At this point Player B declares he didn’t raise, pulls back $199 and folds.

The mistake this dealer made is a common error in this situation. He was trying to apply the “Half Bet” rule in a situation it doesn’t address. This is why it’s important to always ask for a floor person. This dealer had the opportunity to learn the correct rule from a competent floor person if someone had simply asked for a ruling at the table. A lot of people are reluctant to ask for decisions for a variety of reasons, such as being unpopular or looked at as trouble makers. Folks, you are playing for a lot of money these days. You deserve to have the best trained and most well-informed dealers. Assisting in their training on a day-to-day basis by calling for rulings is an enormous help that only you, the player, can give.

— Jody Russell is a veteran poker room manager in Nevada who also runs the Ante Up Poker Room. Email him at

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