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More Raising in No-Limit Hold'em - You make the call in a no-limit hold'em betting situation on the rive

by Mike O Malley |  Published: Aug 09, 2005


In my last column, I discussed raising in no-limit hold'em – what constitutes a raise and what reopens the betting. I have received several e-mails regarding this column and have talked to many people. When I am able to explain in detail my take on the situation I described, it seems that almost everyone agrees with me about what constitutes a raise. The lingering doubt in many people's minds is this: "If a player makes a bet, and then has to call an amount that exceeds his previous bet when the action comes back to him, he should be able to raise, shouldn't he?"

According to accepted rules, the player would not be able to raise in the situation I described in my last column. But there seems to be a compromise. Bob Ciaffone, the noted poker rulebook king, has included the following in his popular rulebook:

"Multiple all-in wagers, each of an amount too small to individually qualify as a raise, still act as a raise and reopen the betting if the resulting wager size to a player qualifies as a raise."

As a side note to my last column, several people e-mailed me solutions that didn't take into account the accepted rule for reopening the betting in no-limit games. If a player makes an all-in raise that is less than the previous bet, the betting is not reopened for any player who already acted on his hand. This differs from limit-game rules, which allow a player to reopen the betting if the all-in raise is at least half of the previous bet.

While I am on the topic of raising in no-limit hold'em, I came across a situation recently that made me decide that we need a new rule introduced in no-limit play. I was called to a game to make a decision.

The game was $2-$5 blinds no-limit hold'em, and the situation took place on the river with only two players in the hand, Player A and Player B.

The dealer explained it to me this way:

Player A made a motion with his hand that resembled a check. The dealer didn't hear anything from Player A, so he moved the action along to Player B, who made a bet of $100. Player A threw his hand faceup on the table. The dealer assumed this was a fold, so he took the hand and put it into the muck. Player A yelled to the dealer, "Wait a minute, I bet all in."

Player A explained it to me this way:

He announced "all in" on the river, Player B moved his stack in, and Player A took that action as a call and put his hand faceup on the table. When the dealer mucked his hand without the other player turning his hand up, Player A knew there was a problem.

Player B explained that he also saw what appeared to be a check on the river by Player A. So, he made a $100 bet because Player A checked.

A few other observations from players at the table were as follows:

The player next to Player A said he heard him say "all in." No one else at the table heard him say anything.

A player in the middle of the table said Player A immediately responded when the dealer mucked his hand.

Another player said that Player A tossed his hand in faceup (he took that as a fold, because he didn't hear Player A say "all in"), and when the dealer mucked the hand, Player B made a motion to muck his hand, which he assumed Player A took to be weakness. It was only at that point (Player A sensing weakness) that Player A said something.

There was total consensus that Player A held 10-9 suited, as everyone saw it faceup on the table. The board read 9-6-3-J-J. Player B's hand at this point had not been revealed.

How would you rule? In my next column, I will tell you how I ruled, whether I think I made the right ruling, and the new rule that I thought of that would have eliminated any controversy in this situation.