Explanation of Side pot

Side pots are formed in multiway scenarios where one player is already all-in. This is best illustrated with an example. Imagine player A, B and C are all-in on the flop with the following total stack sizes.

Player A: 30bb
Player B: 100bb
Player C: 150bb

The shortest stack always defines the effective stack for the main pot. Since player A has only 30bb, the maximum size of the main pot is 90bb for three players (30bb * 3). 

Player B has 70bb remaining for which he can compete against player C for the side pot. Note that 50bb of player C’s stack cannot be invested because he is only 100bb deep effective with player B.

In summary:

Main Pot: 90bb (Player A, B or C can win this)
Side pot: 140bb (Side pot between player B and C only)

Let’s imagine that player A has the best hand of the three, while player B has the second best hand. How many chips will player B win?

Player B will gain nothing from the main pot but will win the entire 140bb side pot. He will hence profit by 40bb overall (since he risked 100bb with his all-in).

Example of Side Pot used in sentence -> The short stack was already all-in so we were competing for a side pot.

How to Use Side pot as Part of Your Poker Strategy 

Recognizing side-pots is important and can have a big effective on correct strategy. A “dry side pot” occurs when one player is already all-in but the other players remaining in the pot have yet to make a side-pot wager. For example, in Hold’em on the flop

Player 1: 50bb remaining
Player 2: 50bb remaining
Player 3: Already all-in

Player 1 and 2 need to be careful about attempting to bluff one another. Even if player 1 manages to fold out player 2 he will still need to see a showdown against player 3 who is already all-in and can never fold.

This is an important strategic concept and one that is frequently overlooked by novice players. It’s almost never correct to bluff into a dry side pot.

See Also 

All-in, Bluff, Fold, Hold’em

Related Content
What is Fourth Street in Poker?

What is Fourth Street in Poker?

What is Early Position in Poker?

What is Early Position in Poker?

What is Staking in Poker?

What is Staking in Poker?

What are ‘bb’s in Poker?

What are ‘bb’s in Poker?

What Does ‘Chip and a Chair’ Mean in Poker?

What Does ‘Chip and a Chair’ Mean in Poker?

What is a Suck Out in Poker?

What is a Suck Out in Poker?

What is a Rakeback in Poker?

What is a Rakeback in Poker?

What is WWSF in Poker?

What is WWSF in Poker?

What is MIDDLE POSITION in Poker?

What is MIDDLE POSITION in Poker?

What is a Case Card in Poker?

What is a Case Card in Poker?