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.
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