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Running It Twice in Poker

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Running It Twice in Poker

Dealer laying out poker cards.

Have you ever wished for the clock to turn back and for a different river card to give the pot to you instead of another player? Turns out that with the run-it-twice option, you’re able to at least act beforehand to get one or two (or three, even four more) extra chances at winning the pot. A feature initially used extensively in live cash games, the option to run it twice is also available in certain online poker games.

What Does Run It Twice Mean in Poker?

Running it twice in poker means being dealt (apart from the initial run) an extra full board of five cards, an extra turn and river card or just an extra river card. The pot is split, with the player having the chance to win both runs (and with that, the full pot.) Alternatively, they could win one run and half of the pot or lose both runs and the whole pot.

To have the option of being dealt an extra full board of cards, at least one player has to go all-in preflop and be called, with no more action left in the game. The players sit back and watch as the flop, turn and river cards decide their fate. But, in the event of an all-in and a call, the players can agree to run it twice before showing their cards. The board promptly gets dealt twice — two flops, two turn cards and two river cards. Each player’s hole cards get to pair with both runs of the board.

Running it twice is not limited to preflop play. At any point in the game where all-ins get called and all the action is over, there’s an option to run it twice. This can mean an extra turn and an extra river card if all-ins are called on the flop. Alternatively, it could mean an extra river card when all-ins are called on the turn.

Examples of Running It Twice in Poker

Suppose you go all-in on the turn and the total pot is $500. One other player calls. You both decide on running it twice, then show your cards. The first river card and the board favor your hole cards, so you win half the pot, $250. And since you both agreed on running it twice, an extra river card is dealt. Whichever player this card and the board favor wins the other half of the pot, $250.

Imagine you go all-in preflop and get called, creating, say, a pot size of $1,000, and you’re asked if you want to run it twice. You and the other player agree and get asked to show your cards. The board gets dealt as usual, with half of the pot, $500, awarded to whichever player the board favors. With the usual way of running it once, the hand concludes with $1000 being awarded to the winner and moves on to the next, but because the players opted to run it twice, another board is dealt, starting with the flop through to the river. Whichever player the second board favors wins the other half, $500, of the pot.

Running it twice in a hand is only possible when these three requirements are met: the casino or online poker platform allows it; an all-in is called and there is no more action left; and all the players involved in the hand have agreed to run it twice.

When Running It Twice Could Add to Your Game

Poker cards and chips on a green felt table.

Everyone can improve their poker skills by learning how to deal with unpredictable players and keep up to date with changing trends and strategies in the game. But no two players are alike, so only you can decide if certain plays will benefit your poker strategy. The same holds for the decision to run it twice in poker.

Exclusively the domain of cash games, whether live or for those who prefer to play poker online, running it twice is usually not an option in poker tournaments.

For cash players, the advantage of running it twice or more times is that it decreases your variance. It’s the law of averages. The more times you run the board, the more likely you are to win. Run it once and it’s either win or lose, 100% against 0%. Run the board a few more times and you’ll get closer to 50:50 odds.

One thing to keep in mind is that running it twice will not increase the equity of your hand at that moment or any moment thereafter. However many times you run the board, your hand equity will stay the same.

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Get the lowdown on the running-it-twice option in poker. Find out when it comes into play, why it matters and how you can use it to your advantage.