Action Only

What is Action Only?

In poker, ‘action only’ is a declaration that a bet is only opened to be called, not re-raised, as it does not meet the full amount of a legitimate bet. This situation appears when a player goes all in, but does not have enough to reopen betting among the other players, and it restricts players from raising again on the amount of the all-in. In essence, all opponents’ actions are ‘locked’ by the all-in bet, until that round of betting is concluded.

‘Action Only’ Explained

When playing poker in a casino or card room, there are certain rules brought into play to ensure that everyone’s bets are fair and that all conditions of a fair round are met. To this end, players might be permitted to go all-in and see out a hand even though they are short of the full bet amount – but their opponents won’t be able to raise the all-in, and will be tied to a call instead. This rule is often referred to as ‘action only’.

The term might seem a little misleading, as calling, raising and even folding are all possible actions for a poker player. However, in this sense ‘action only’ simply refers to calling. It might occasionally be heard as ‘call only’, which gives the players a little more clarity on the rule. When an all-in bet is declared as ‘action only’, each subsequent player can bet up to the additional amount of the all-in if they choose, but they cannot raise it further. All other actions are essentially locked for that round.

The player who goes all-in does not need to state their intent to open ‘action only’ betting – they merely need to indicate that they are going all-in on the round. If a player makes a full bet when they raise, then play continues as normal with all actions open to each subsequent player when it is their turn to act.

Want to know more about playing poker? Read the Casinopedia guide to get started.