Scoop the Pot - Scooping - Scooped Pots

by Jesse Knight


Scoop - To win the entire pot, as opposed to splitting (primarily used in split pot games).

Most poker games fall into one of three categories: Straight High, Lowball, or Hi/Lo Split. In Straight High and Lowball games, there is usually only one winner on any given hand. The only way you get a split pot in these types of games is when a situation arises where two or more players have made identical hands.

Hi/Lo games are different. Pots in a Hi/Lo Split game are often split evenly between the best (highest) high hand and the best (lowest) low hand. While it is true that many pots are split in Hi/Lo games, some are not. If a pot is not split it is usually for one of two reasons. The first reason a pot would not be split would be that one player was holding both the best high and the best low holding. When this happens, the player “scoops” all of the chips from the pot. This is commonly referred to as a “scooper,” or a “scoop pot.” The second reason a pot would not be split would be because no player qualified to win the low side of the pot. This is because there are often requirements that must be met in order for a player to have a valid low holding. When no player qualifies to win the low, the entire pot is awarded to the high side by default.

Many Hi/Lo games either have a qualifier for low, or are “declare” games. Games which have a qualifier for low require that a low hand meet a minimum requirement in order to be eligible to win the low side of the pot. In other words, the low hand must be low enough, or it can not win any of the low side of the pot. In Hi/Lo Seven Card Stud and Hi/Lo Omaha, this qualifier is often 8. This means that in order for a low hand to qualify, it must contain five unpaired cards of 8 or lower. If the hand does not meet this requirement, it can only be considered for high, and not for low. For this reason, Hi/Lo Seven Card Stud is often called “Eight or Better Stud,” or simply “Eight or Better,” while Hi/Lo Omaha is often called “Eight or Better Omaha,” or simply “O8.”

Eight or Better Omaha is often played with a kill. This means that if someone scoops a pot, and it is large enough, they must post a kill (or “kill it”) on the subsequent hand. In order to qualify for a kill pot in most Hi/Lo Omaha games, two preconditions must be filled. First, the pot must be a scooper. Second, there must be enough money in the pot so that the minimum threshold for pot size is met or exceeded. This threshold is determined by house rules, but is commonly 10-15 small bets, minus the rake. Keep in mind that Holdem, Stud (high), and other high only games are also sometimes played with a kill, but the rules governing how they are played are often very different from Omaha Hi/Lo kill rules.

Another type of Hi/Lo game is a “declare” game, this is usually some type of stud game, and typically does not have a qualifier. Players must declare whether their intent is to go for high or low, and this decision is often affected by what the other players do. In order to be eligible to win the low in a “declare” game, a player must declare that they are going for low.

The term “scoop” is not used very often in Straight High or Lowball games, because virtually every pot, with the exception of tied hands, is a scoop pot. This makes its use redundant and unnecessary in games where split pots occur infrequently. It is, however, used quite frequently in Hi/Lo games.

A “scoop” is most commonly used to describe the situation where one player has won both the high and the low side of the pot by turning over a superior hand for each position. When this happens, the winning player has “scooped” the pot, but he has also “scooped” his opponents. Less commonly, the term “scoop” can be applied to the high hand any time there is only one winner and no low has qualified. You will sometimes see a situation where one player wins a very big pot because many players were drawing to a low hand but did not qualify. Large pots with one winner are often referred to as scoops.

So, to recap, “scoop” is a fairly versatile poker term. You can scoop a pot, you can scoop your opponent, or you can get scooped. The pot you win can also be called a “scoop pot,” or “scooper.” If your opponent scoops, you may overhear him say “scoopy-doo.”

Usage: I Got Scooped, I Scoop You, I Was Scooping Until The River, It’s A Scoop Pot, Nice Scooper SCOOP also can refer to the Pokerstars Spring Championship of Online Poker.

See also Omaha Scooping

Previous Poker Term: Scare Card
Next Poker Term: Second Pair


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