Definition of Table Stakes

In poker, the table stakes indicate how much a player can lose in a single hand.

Table stakes are very common, especially online. The near-standard table stakes amount is the total that a player had on the table at the start of the hand. If a player started with $150 in chips, they can only bet and lose $150.

However, many online poker rooms use much smaller table stakes in order to limit risk at a table. An online poker table with low table stakes is much more appealing to the casual player who is just playing for entertainment.

Table stakes have a number of implications on the game:

Definition of the term Table Stakes in pokerThe most obvious implication is that the table stakes limit risk. At a micro-stakes table with a table stakes of one dollar, a player cannot lose much money very fast, and they can play for a very long time on a small bankroll.

In addition, table stakes provide the protection that a "small" bankroll can play a "large" bankroll as long as the table stakes make sense. If a player has a $500 bankroll at a table with $5 table stakes, it doesn't matter that an opponent has $10,000. Otherwise, big bankrolls would just blow out the small bankrolls early in the game.

The other implication is that a player cannot "reach into their pocket" in order to expand their available resources. In other words, you can evaluate an opponent without fear that he or she has more than you can account for.

All in is all in. It means that a player has all his or her chips in the pot.

With table stakes, it's also implied that all money must stay on the table. In other words, you can't remove money from the table during a hand, although in live settings, there is generally an exception that allows tipping casino staff.


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