What is ‘Stay’?
In poker, to stay means to remain in the game through making a call, rather than betting higher and entering a challenge for the pot. To call means to add the amount of the last player’s bet to the pot without raising further, therefore staying in the game in order to take part in the next action. Stay also appears occasionally in blackjack, in place of stick or stand.
When it comes to betting in poker, there are usually several different options for the player. They can fold, or surrender their bet and hand back their cards; they can call the bet and put in a match on the previous stake; they can increase the chips into the pot with a raise. In some situations, the player can also check – make no bet and skip their turn along in the process. A player can only check when there have been no calls or raises in a round.
In poker, a player who opts to stay has chosen to make the call rather than pushing the bet level up with a raise. This means that they are willing to pay to see the next action, but they are not ready to risk a high bet. This is not necessarily indicative of the cards that player holds: often a player uses their bets to bluff, so a call might still mean they have an extremely strong hand, or even a very weak one.
The term stay is also heard occasionally in blackjack, as a synonym for stick or stand. This is a request to the dealer for no further cards to be issued, either after the first two or following additional hit or twist being added to the hand. The player is indicating that they wish to stay at the total they have already been dealt.