What is ‘Leg Up’?
In poker ‘leg up’ is a phrase used to describe a person who has won two consecutive pots in a kill pot situation, or who has the disadvantage of a forced blind into the kill pot after a previous round win or double win. The player has a ‘leg up’ on the pot or a distinct advantage, and therefore must make a mandatory larger bet in the coming game.
‘Leg Up’ Explained
Poker rules vary from game to game, and one rule played in some casinos and private games is that of the kill pot advantage. Usually found in lowball and high-low split poker games, the ‘leg up’ is an advantaged player who has won two consecutive pots in this kind of kill game, or who is in the position of heading to a second win. The advantage of having a ‘leg up’ is tempered by the addition of a mandatory large bet, usually equal to the big blind, which is made as the opener to the next round. The player also picks up a fresh advantage through making their next play with a bet already in the pot.
The ‘leg up’ is also an advantage towards that kill pot, or a direct reference to the player themselves. The player can ‘be a leg up’, ‘get a leg up’ or ‘play on the leg up’.
While most often found in poker, any gambler might refer to getting a ‘leg up’ if they have a perceived or real advantage against the casino. The phrase in wider use means to get help or to receive assistance, but it has developed into a slang term for receiving any advantage. Therefore, card counters might hint at ‘getting a leg up’ when they make a big win – they are suggesting that they had help during the round.