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What is a kill pot? What is a game with a kill? What is a half kill?

Author: Stephen Landrum
Last updated: 1998
Copyright © 2009 Stephen Landrum
The official and up-to-date version of this answer is here.

Big bet (no-limit or pot-limit) poker frequently allows a player to "kill the pot", by posting an amount equal to current to-go amount, and the amount to-go (to come into the hand, or call preflop) is now double the kill amount. In no-limit games, players are frequently allowed to kill for more than the to-go amount, but for no more than 1/2 of their stack. Some games allow overkills - after someone has killed the pot, someone else can kill it again, raising the amount to-go to double the new kill amount. There may be a limit to the number of kills allowed on a hand, even though the game is "no-limit". Killing the pot alters the order of action preflop/predraw. The killers act after the blinds in the order in which they killed the pot. After the flop or draw, action returns to its normal order.

To kill the pot in Hold'em or other flop games, the kill must be announced (either verbally or by placing the amount of the kill in the pot) before any cards are dealt. Draw lowball games frequently allow players to kill the after seeing two cards - and some places even allow a kill in lowball after the 3rd card is dealt. No-limit draw lowball also frequently allows the player with the big blind to place a blind which is larger than the normal amount, but still smaller than the to-go amount, and the new to-go amount is twice the big blind.

Example: In a 1-2-2, 5-to-go Hold'em game, the player on the button (who also has the $1 blind) decides to kill it for $5, rebuying his right to act last before the flop. The blinds now look like 5-2-2, and the game is now 10-to-go. After the player to the right of the button acts, the two $2 blinds act, then the killer acts.

Example: In a draw-lowball game, 1-1-2 blinds, 4-to-go, the player with the big blind puts out $3 before cards are dealt and it is now 6-to-go. After two cards are dealt, the player to the right of the button kills the pot for $10, and it is now 20-to-go. The player after the blinds is first to act. After the player in front of the killer acts, the button and other blinds must act, and then the killer acts.

Limit lowball games also frequently allow a player to kill the pot from any position. In this case, the killer makes a blind of the current limit, and the limit is doubled for that hand. As in no-limit games, the player who kills the pot acts last after the blinds before the draw, and action resumes to the normal order after the draw.

In addition, some limit games are played with a kill or a half kill. In these games, there is some condition which if met, raises the stakes of the game - doubling them in the case of a kill game, or increasing them by 50% in the case of a half kill. In addition to the normal blinds posted for the game, the player who met the kill condition must post a blind equal to the new small bet size. This blind is instead of the small or big blind if the player would have been in position to have one of those. In some clubs the killer gets to act last after the blinds; but in others the killer acts in normal turn order.

In a high only game, the condition is typically that someone wins two pots in a row. In a high-low split game, the condition is usually that someone takes the whole pot, and that the pot is some minimum size.

For example: in a 10-20 Omaha-8 game with a half kill that I've played in, if someone scoops a pot with $100 in it, then they must post a $15 blind and the next hand the game is 15-30.