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Poker Dictionary - Ratholing Poker
Amarylisa Gonsalves
Posted on 26 May, 2021
By Amarylisa Gonsalves
On 26 May, 2021
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By Amarylisa Gonsalves
On 26 May, 2021
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Poker Dictionary – Ratholing


A poker game has two types—cash games and tournament games. Some strategies are best suited for tournament games but may not be very beneficial in cash games and vice versa. Today we shall discuss one such strategy which is specific to cash games – Ratholing. Applying this strategy in a poker game is considered to be bad etiquette by most poker players.

What is Ratholing?

Ratholing is the act of cashing out chips from a cash game table then rebuying with a smaller amount of chips. It is also known as ‘going south’ by some. Ratholing is considered to be an unethical practice that is often banned in many casinos. 

Ironically, there is no substantial benefit of this practice to a ratholer or any disadvantage to the other players. There is no solid reason why ratholing is considered unethical. 

What happens during ratholing?

Suppose a player wins 200bb from his opponent. After winning, he decides to cash out his 200bb and immediately rebuy with 100bb. Here, he is cashing out his share and immediately rebuying with a smaller amount and continues the play even after cashing out. 

It is considered unethical mainly because by cashing out and later rebuying a smaller amount, the player is denying his opponent a chance to win back his stack. After the player rebuys and plays the next hand, the opponent cannot win back the stack he had put in earlier.

The practice of ratholing does not carry much advantage for the ratholer. The benefit  goes only to specific players in the cash game. The benefits of ratholing are similar to that of short-stacking (playing at a cash table with less than maximum buy-in.) It will help a player who is afraid to risk larger amounts while taking the all-in decisions. Another benefit could be that when you rathole, the opponents get annoyed by your act and start playing terribly. 

Anti-Ratholing Rules in Poker

As mentioned earlier, ratholing does not have any mathematical or considerate advantages or disadvantages, yet a lot of players still believe ratholing gives unfair advantage to the ratholer. Most poker rooms and casinos do not favour ratholing as a practice hence they have anti-ratholing policies in place.

Many casinos and poker rooms have banned the practice of ratholing. To curb the practice they have a policy in place. If a player who cashes out and wants to rebuy after a short period of time, he/she can rebuy with the same amount he cashed out. That means if a player cashed out 200bb and he wishes to rebuy, he has to rebuy with minimum 200bb, even if the maximum buy-in on that table is 150bb.

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