Active Player – A player who has a live hand.
An “active” player is any player who has been dealt in, and has not thrown his hand away or had his hand fouled, and therefore will have
an opportunity to act on his hand. When the hand is initially dealt, all players who are dealt in are considered active players. As the
hand progresses and players throw their hands away, the number of active players decreases. If nobody mucks after the flop, the number
of active players will not decrease, but instead will remain the same. The number of active players can never increase during the course
of play. Once a player throws their hand in the
muck they are no longer considered active.
An active player is not the same thing as an “action player.” An “action” player is a player who bets and raises frequently. The have
been dubbed an “action” player, because they create a lot of action. Alternatively, an “active” player is simply a player with a live
hand. Of course, an action player (a gambler) can also be an active player (have a live hand).
To confuse matters, an “action player” and an “active player” can both be referred to as a “live” player. In fact, all three terms,
“action,” “active,” and “live” are used in many different ways to describe many different things in the poker world. When you hear these
terms you will sometimes have to evaluate the context they were used in, in order to understand their exact meaning. For example, a
player can have an “active” hand, but can also be “active” betting. A player can be an action player, the betting in the game is often
called the “action,” or a dealer can wait for a player’s “action.” Finally, a player can be “live” if they bet and raise a lot. They can
hold “live” cards, or put chips into a “live” pot.
There are two ways a player can go from active status to non-active. The first way we covered, which was for the player to throw his
hand away. The second way to lose your active status is to have your hand fouled. A fouled hand is dead and cannot play. It is often
necessary to call the floorman to make the ruling at to whether the hand has indeed been fouled and will therefore be ruled dead. If the
floorman rules that the hand is dead, the dealer must bring
the hand into the muck to kill it.
An active player may have his hand fouled in any number of ways. There are numerous rules regarding the handling of cards in play, and
many types of violation can lead to a hand being declared dead. Some blatant rule violations will obviously lead to dead hands. Others
are less serious violations which may require the subjective opinion of the floorman. Some examples of rule violations which commonly
lead to dead hands include: cards on the floor, cards touching the muck before or during showdown, hands containing too few or too many
cards, walking away from the table while the hand is in play, and many others.
In addition to all the stated rules, the floorstaff all have the flexibility and maintain the right to make a ruling killing a player’s
live hand if they feel it is in the best interest of the game. While floorstaff have that right, it is rarely used. They generally stick
to the letter of the law. When they do make an irregular ruling, it is often to punish another player for attempting to cheat or act
When a player goes all in, they are still considered “active” or “live” for the pots that they have contributed to, and therefore can
also win. Their hand would not be considered “live” for any additional pots created after they went all in. This is because they have no
chips left and therefore can not contribute toward or win those pots.
Depending upon the house rules, the dealer may or may not
announce the number of live players seeing the flop. These same house rules govern whether or not the dealer calls the post flop betting
action. If required to, the dealer will state the number of players while displaying the flop. The purpose of this rule is to speed up
the game and prevent player errors such as betting out of turn. Many clubs have implemented this rule because it does have the effect of
speeding up the game, which in turn increases the collection in “drop” games. Some clubs either do not include or do not enforce this
rule. This may be because management is unaware of the benefits of implementing this rule: smooth game play and increased drop. It may
also be because management is philosophically opposed to babysitting the players.
Usage: Active betting and raising, Active Hand, Active Pot
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