Scooping the Pot in Poker

Scooping the pot is the term used when a player, playing a hi-lo variant, wins both the high low hand, so winning the entire pot. It's this split that turns many players away from High - Low games. Half the pot goes to the qualifying high hand and the other half goes to the best qualifying low hand.

There are two ways a player can scoop the pot. If a player holds the best qualifying high hand and low hand, they would win the entire pot. It also occurs where there isn't a qualifying low hand - the high hand wins the whole pot by default.

Value of Cards to Come

Let's look at an example. You are in a $2/$4 ring game of Omaha hi-lo and the blinds have posted so there is $6 in the pot. A player in early position calls and there is one other caller and you with a pot value of $18 (assuming no rake). The flop comes and doesn't help anyone. Early position bets the minimum and everyone else calls - there is now $30 in the pot. The turn comes and again early position bets $4 with everyone else calling. The pot is now $42. The river card comes and everyone checks.

Now you have committed $12 to the pot. If you chop the pot, you would get $21 giving you a profit of $9. Should you 'scoop the pot' you would get $42 giving you a $33 profit. What's the point? Scooping the pot is worth twice the value than halving the pot (obviously) however the profit is way more than double, in fact nearly four times better.

The point i am making is that when you are chasing down cards, some outs are more valuable than others. For instance chasing outs that will give you a split or possible split are worth a lot less than chasing outs that will give you the scoop. Analyzing your outs like this can really make the difference when working out whether to stay in the hand. Of course you need to take into account that the smaller the pot, the smaller the difference between the scoop and the chop (and so the less of a difference between outs).


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