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Sitting Out

What is ‘Sitting Out’?

In poker, ‘sitting out’ means skipping a few hands while taking a break from the game. Usually the player will leave the table, although occasionally a player will opt for ‘sitting out’ and remain in their seat. Some games do not permit sitting out and there is usually a time limit on the break, which if overrun can lead to removal from the game.

‘Sitting Out’ Explained

If a player in a casino says that they are ‘sitting out’ or that they ‘sat out’ during a game, they mean that a break was taken while the game was ongoing. If the casino or card room allows it and if the other players agree, any player can opt to ‘sit out’ for a few hands. This might be to take a bathroom break, or to go to the bar and pick up a round of drinks. These breaks are limited to a few hands at a time, or to a set period such as 15 minutes. A player who runs over the allowed time will usually be removed from the table.

Not all games permit ‘sitting out’, except in exceptional circumstances. Often a player will need to cash out if they want to leave, then buy back in at a later time. The casino often provides floor staff called ‘runners‘ who will pick up drinks and snacks, change cash for chips and assist in keeping the player comfortable at the table, preventing a need to leave. However, where these ‘sit outs’ are allowed, the player is often allocated a button which sits in their place to hold it. This ‘out button‘ is removed when the player returns. There is usually only one out button, allowing just one player at a time to take a break. Players might be limited in how often they can take a break, as well.