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Rules for Button and Blind Use in Poker

In button games, a non-playing dealer normally does the actual dealing. A round disk called the button is used to indicate which player has the dealer position.

The player with the button is last to receive cards on the initial deal and has the right of last action after the first betting round. The button moves clockwise after a deal ends to rotate the advantage of last action.

One or more blind bets are usually used to stimulate action and initiate play. Blinds are posted before the players look at their cards. Blinds are part of a player's bet, unless the structure of a game or the situation requires part or all of a particular blind to be 'dead.'

Dead chips are not part of a player's bet. With two blinds, the small blind is posted by the player immediately clockwise from the button, and the big blind is posted by the player two positions clockwise from the button. With more than two blinds, the little blind is normally left of the button (not on it).

Action is initiated on the first betting round by the first player to the left of the blinds. On all subsequent betting rounds, the action begins with the first active player to the left of the button.

Rules for Using Blinds in Poker

1. Each round every player must get an opportunity for the button, and meet the total amount of the blind obligations. Either of the following methods of button and blind placement may be designated to do this:

(a) Moving button - The button always moves forward to the next player and the blinds adjust accordingly. There may be more than one big blind.

(b) Dead button - The big blind is posted by the player due for it, and the small blind and button are positioned accordingly, even if this means the small blind or the button is placed in front of an empty seat, giving the same player the privilege of last action on consecutive hands.

[See 'Section 16 - Explanations,' discussion #1, for more information on this rule.]

2. A player who posts a blind has the option of raising the pot at the first turn to act. (This does not apply when a "dead blind" for the collection is used in a game and has been posted).

3. In heads-up play with two blinds, the small blind is on the button.

4. A new player entering the game has the following options:

(a) Wait for the big blind.

(b) Post an amount equal to the big blind and immediately be dealt a hand. (In lowball, a new player must either post an amount double the big blind or wait for the big blind.)

5. A new player who elects to let the button go by once without posting is not treated as a player in the game who has missed a blind, and needs to post only the big blind when entering the game.

6. A person playing over is considered a new player, and must post the amount of the big blind or wait for the big blind.

7. A new player cannot be dealt in between the big blind and the button. Blinds may not be made up between the big blind and the button. You must wait until the button passes. [See 'Section 16 - Explanations,' discussion #3, for more information on this rule.]

8. When you post the big blind, it serves as your opening bet. When it is your next turn to act, you have the option to raise.

9. A player who misses any or all blinds can resume play by either posting all the blinds missed or waiting for the big blind. If you choose to post the total amount of the blinds, an amount up to the size of the minimum opening bet is live. The remainder is taken by the dealer to the center of the pot and is not part of your bet. When it is your next turn to act, you have the option to raise.

10. If a player who owes a blind (as a result of a missed blind) is dealt in without posting, the hand is dead if the player looks at it before putting up the required chips, and has not yet acted. If the player acts on the hand and plays it, putting chips into the pot before the error is discovered, the hand is live, and the player is required to post on the next deal.

11. A player who goes all-in and loses is obligated to make up the blinds if they are missed before a rebuy is made. (The person is not treated as a new player when reentering.)

12. These rules about blinds apply to a newly started game:

(a) Any player who drew for the button is considered active in the game and is required to make up any missed blinds.

(b) A new player will not be required to post a blind until the button has made one complete revolution around the table, provided a blind has not yet passed that seat.

(c) A player may change seats without penalty, provided a blind has not yet passed the new seat.

13. In all multiple-blind games, a player who changes seats will be dealt in on the first available hand in the same relative position. Example: If you move two active positions away from the big blind, you must wait two hands before being dealt in again. If you move closer to the big blind, you can be dealt in without any penalty. If you do not wish to wait and have not yet missed a blind, then you can post an amount equal to the big blind and receive a hand. (Exception: At lowball you must kill the pot, wait for the same relative position, or wait for the big blind; see 'Section 11 - Lowball,' rule #7.)

14. A player who "deals off" (by playing the button and then immediately getting up to change seats) can allow the blinds to pass the new seat one time and reenter the game behind the button without having to post a blind.

15. A live straddle bet is not allowed at limit poker except in specified games.

Related Articles
Patrick Sheehy
2022-02-28 01:26:44

Hi, I was in a 5 table tournament today at a casino. twice someone came to our table and took BB to another table. I then had to pay BB one position early as BB seat was now empty. Is this how it works or should there have been just small blind and empty seat BB. I feel like I paid BB early twice today. What is the ruling on this. Thanks Patrick

Arved Klöhn
2022-02-28 09:24:51

@Patrick: When players are moved to balance tables (i.e. to make sure all tables have roughly the same numbers of players) usually an early position player is moved away from the table and to the big blind position at another table.

Ruling is the blinds (and button) move accordingly. E.g. if the player UTG is moved away from the table, next round the player UTG+1 has to post the big blind.

What happened to you was completely fair and within the rules, you just got a bit unlucky being affected by it twice.

2021-11-05 07:48:39

if a player in Texas hold is about ready to be the blinds and he moves four seats away from the blinds does he have to post both blinds in order to be dealt in?

Manal Nassar
2021-11-05 16:04:27

Hi Kristopher,

You will need to post the Big Blind to join the hand.

Should you need further assistance please let us know.

PokerListings Team

2013-10-19 17:19:39

on a holdem table is small blind first then big

2013-08-03 00:20:01

while playing Increment blinds(tournament) if palyer’s small blind value is less then blind value then what will be happen? for exp. player has 20$ and small blind value reached to 40$ then player still in tournament or he/she would be automatically leave out from tournament..

2013-08-03 00:20:00

while playing Increment blinds(tournament) if palyer’s small blind value is less then blind value then what will be happen? for exp. player has 20$ and small blind value reached to 40$ then player still in tournament or he/she would be automatically leave out from tournament..

2013-03-08 10:15:14

If in cash game small blind moves out of position by four seats and post his small blind, is it dead or live?

2013-01-09 03:17:29

a table with 8 players numbered 1 to 8. #1 is the button, #2 the small blind & #3 the big blind.
The hand plays out, player #3 then leaves the table. thus missing the small blind the button moves to player #2, the big blind moves to player #5, & player~4 must also post a big blind. That hand plays out, but before the next deal, player#3 returns to his seat. Can he resume play by posting the small blind which goes straight into the pot, & take the button, or does he have to wait until the button comes round to him? If he is allowed to resume, it messes up the blinds, as players #4 & #5 would now be small blinds, & player #6 would be big blind. when that hand plays out, player #4 would get the button, player #6 would be small blind, & player #7 would be big blind, but that leaves a gap at #5, which means that the blinds are an extra space round from the button.
Please could you advise me. Thank you.

2011-12-31 18:17:15

in a tournament, 3 players left, the BB gets knocked out, the SB is just SB again and gets the “dealer” button, you can be SB twice in a row unlike the BB?

Mike B
2011-01-30 22:10:21

If the big and small blinds are in a hand and the small blind is all in and wins, does the other half blind get returns to the loser?

2010-08-06 06:05:03

if a player is moved from another table and allocated the seat that will be the next big blind can this player opt to wait on the blinds passing them before they play a hand in a tornament.

edson santa maria
2010-06-28 14:32:52

question… can you use a dead button rule on cash game? and if player misses small blind and comes back on the button and wants to play his button can he doso?

Sean Lind
2010-01-20 20:11:59

j m,

In that situation the button will actually skip the player who was the small blind. This makes the player who was big blind small blind, with the button.

In a tourney (when it can be helped) no player can ever pay the big blind twice in a row.

j m
2010-01-20 05:34:50

Tournament, final table with 3 players left. The “button” gets knocked out. Who is BB next hand? Does the BB has to post BB again?

Sean Lind
2009-10-10 07:15:00


In a tournament they will always be dealt in if you have any amount of chips, while in a cash game you are required to have the full amount of the blind to get cards.

Ryan C.
2009-10-09 19:22:00

Can a player be dealt in if on the previous hand they lose a large enough amount that only leaves them with a stack that is smaller than the big blind??

Sean Lind
2009-09-10 01:33:00


If the player who should have been the BB in the next hand is still at the table, or even if he was eliminated as well then there is a single BB, no SB, and all three new players must wait until the button passes them to play.

This will take two hands, as the next hand has a SB, BB and a dead button.

2009-09-08 23:40:00

What’s the ruling on this…three players are knocked out of a tournament. Those seats are filled with three players from another table all of them seated between the button and the BB. Is the SB automatically given to the player who sat down next to the BB and the two others have to wait until the button passes?

2009-07-27 07:56:00

Just trying to clarify the dead blind situation, what is the ruling on players going out in the middle of blinds? what happens with the blinds then and the button?

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