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Geoff Fisk

What Is A Poker Bomb Pot?


Bomb pots continue to explode in popularity on the modern-day poker cash game scene. A staple of Texas poker rooms like The Lodge, bomb pots guarantee wild action, big money, and unpredictable results.


Some poker games require at least one bomb pot hand for every orbit around the table. As such, cash game players need to develop at least some knowledge of how bomb pots work, and what to expect when sitting down at a table where bomb pots come into play.


Let’s take a look at poker bomb pots.

What is a Bomb Pot in Poker?

A bomb pot is a poker hand in which each player at the table puts a set amount of money in the pot before the hand is dealt. The preflop betting round is skipped and all players immediately see the flop. (Definition from Upswing Poker.)


Bomb pots are meant to foster big pots and action.

Poker Bomb Pot Rules

Bomb pots begin with every player at the table putting a certain amount of money in the middle, similar to an ante. The amount of this ante can vary depending on what the players agreed on or the rules of the card room.


The dealer then puts out a flop (or two flops) and play resumes as it normally would with the player seated to the left of the button. Once that betting round is complete, the dealer burns and turns, followed by another betting round, which is followed by the river and a final round of betting.


For example, let’s say you’re playing a $1/$3 No-Limit Hold’em game with bomb pots for every dealer change. The ante for this game is $15, and every time there’s a dealer change, the new dealer’s first hand dealt is played as a bomb pot.


The bomb pot begins with each player putting $15 in the pot. No other preflop action happens, and the hand immediately proceeds to the flop.


The flop, turn, and river betting rounds commence as they would in a standard game of No-Limit Hold’em. With $120 already in the middle, and eight players going to the flop, the post-flop action in a bomb pot generally plays out much differently than a standard poker hand.


Any player in this family pot can hold any two cards, so you never know who might have the best hand. The flop, turn, and river all play out as they would in a normal Texas Hold’em hand, and the best hand at the end wins the pot.


Different poker rooms use different rules for bomb pot hands. At the Lodge, a special button goes around at bomb pot tables (different from the standard dealer button). The player holding the bomb pot button takes the position of the dealer button during the bomb pot hand.


At the end of the bomb pot hand, the bomb pot button moves one position to the right. Regular hold’em play then resumes until the next dealer change.


Some games at the Lodge dictate that a bomb pot happens every orbit or every dealer change. Not all games at the Lodge play as bomb pot tables, however.


For example, $1/$1 No-Limit Hold’em cash games at the Lodge do not run with bomb pots, but $1/$2 games and up do.

poker player looks at chips

Bomb Pots at The Lodge

All bomb pots at the Lodge play as double-board bomb pots. A double-board bomb pot sees two different boards dealt, and all players have the chance to win one or both boards.


For NLHE cash games at the Lodge, the player holding the bomb pot button gets to choose whether the bomb pot hand will play as Pot-Limit Omaha or Texas Hold’em.


Double-board PLO bomb pot hands play out as some of the wildest you’ll ever see in a poker cash game. Most players in the NLHE games at the Lodge choose to play PLO bomb pots when given the choice, though you’ll occasionally see the player holding the bomb pot button choose No-Limit Hold’em.


For PLO cash game tables, bomb pots always play as PLO hands.

Bomb Pot Example Hand At The Lodge

For instance, let’s say you’re in a $1/$3 No-Limit Hold’em cash game ($200-$1,000 buy-in) at the Lodge. These games play with a $500 cap bomb pot at every dealer change, with a $15 ante.


For this example, you’re holding the bomb pot button when a new dealer comes in. Regardless of what position you were in for the previous, normal hand, you’ll be on the button for the bomb pot hand.


You get to choose whether to play the bomb pot under NLHE or PLO rules. Per Lodge tradition, you choose PLO.


Suppose the game is eight-handed. All players put $15 in the middle, and with $120 already in the pot, the dealer deals four hole cards to each player, just like a standard PLO hand.


You look down at your hole cards and see AA65. While pocket aces are great, you’re likely going to need this hand to improve to have a shot at winning any part of this pot.


Bomb pot hands skip the preflop betting round, so the dealer proceeds straight to the flop. The dealer puts out two separate flops in this instance; the “bottom” board is closest to the dealer, and the “top” board is the board that’s further from the dealer.


The dealer puts out the following flops:


Top: AK8

Bottom: 862


You have the nuts (for now) with a set of aces on the top board, and hold middle pair with a flush draw on the bottom. This is a scenario where you probably want to pile money in, with a chance at winning both boards.


The action checks to you, you bet $120 (the max bet allowed by PLO rules), and only the hijack calls.


With $360 now in the pot, the dealer proceeds to the turn:


Top: AK8K

Bottom: 862Q


The hijack checks. Remember, there is a $500 per person cap on the bomb pot for this game.


You bet $360 with a full house on the top board and a flush on the bottom board. You have now put in $495. The hijack goes all in for an additional $5. You call.

The dealer puts out two river cards:


Top: AK8KQ

Bottom: 862Q9


You turn over your AA65, while your opponent shows 66. You win on both boards, and scoop the pot.


Note that if the river on the bottom board was the 8 instead of the 9, the hijack would have won that board with a full house (sixes full of eights). That scenario, with you winning the top board and the hijack winning the bottom, would result in a chopped pot.


Many bomb pots end in a chop, but your winrate will skyrocket if you can manage to scoop a bomb pot or two in a session.


Final Thoughts On Bomb Pots

Bomb pots are an exciting and relatively new addition to poker cash games. You’ll see bomb pot hands on a regular basis at the Lodge, more so than you might see in a casino poker room.


You can throw GTO out the window when playing bomb pots. What might constitute a strong hand in a normal game (top pair, two pair, bottom set) could be drawing dead in a double board PLO bomb pot game at the Lodge.


You can choose to sit out the bomb pot hands when playing at the Lodge, but you’ll miss out on some of the craziest action that goes down at Austin’s largest poker room.


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