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Busted Out - Went Broke

by Jesse Knight
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Busted Out Poker Player
Busted -
1. Having no money to play on.
2. Being eliminated from a tournament.


When a poker player loses all of his money, and has nothing left to play on, he is “busted.” Compulsive gamblers and players who play poorly are often in this predicament. Most card rooms have a brass rail that separates the playing areas from the viewing areas. Players who bust out often line up along this rail to watch the games. For this reason, players who are constantly broke (bust outs) are often called “railbirds,” or are referred to as being “on the rail.”

When you go broke in a tournament, it is referred to as “getting busted,” or “busting out.” In this context it does not mean you are out of money, it just means you are out of tournament chips. It is very common for a player who has busted out of a tournament, to go and play a ring game. In fact, one of the primary reasons that card rooms hold poker tournaments is to attract players who play both tournaments and ring games (crossover players). Many smaller card rooms rely on the steady stream of tournament bust outs to build their games.

You may notice that the preponderance of Hold’em ring games are Limit, but the tournaments seem to be primarily No-Limit. This is by design. The house prefers to spread Limit ring games because they generate more revenue than No-Limit ring games. One reason for this is that Limit games are faster and drop more per hour. Another reason is that the bet sizes are restricted in Limit games, so it takes much longer for the bad players to go busted. In other words, in order to get all the money from the bad players, the good players must play more hands in a Limit game than they would have to play in a No-Limit game. More hands means dealt means more drop for the house. The house prefers to spread No-Limit tournaments for similar reasons. Players begin getting busted immediately and form a steady stream of bust outs that will seed the ring games. This is preferable to Limit tournaments, which take too long and do not produce the steady stream of crossover customers.

Usage: Busted Out, Got Busted, Went Bust

Previous Poker Term: Burn
Next Poker Term: Button

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