The Poker All-in Bet
The Texas hold 'em poker betting options are to fold, call, or raise the stakes. Undoubtedly, as games are played one after the next, some players' chips will go down and some players' chips will stack high. If you find yourself low on chips to call or check, don't worry. You can't be kicked out of the game. You can, however, make an all-in bet.
A poker all-in bet is putting all your chips in the pot to see your current hand play on through to showdown. If the player who goes all-in loses, obviously, that's the end of it. The tricky part is awarding the pot to the poker winner. In this case, that player can't win the total pot from the other players who put in the entire call bet. That player can only win chips equal to the all-in multiplied by the number of players who are still in at showdown (including the all-in bettor).
Here's a situation with four players calling in and staying on until showdown. One player who only has 120 chips with a call of 200 can opt to stay by putting in all 120 chips in the pot. The dealer will then divide the pot into the main pot and the side pot. After the three other players put in 200 chips each, the dealer will move 240 chips to a different pile called the side pot and keep 480 chips in the main pot.
This division follows the main pot which the all-in bettor can potentially win which is 480 chips or 120 chips multiplied by four players remaining at showdown. The side pot is the difference for the three regular callers which is 240 chips or 80 chips (200 chips call minus 120 chips all-in) multiplied by three regular bettors.
Awarding the pot goes like this: the three regular bettors will first compare hands and the winner will receive the side pot. The winner of the side pot will then compare hands with the all-in bettor. The poker victor is then awarded the main pot.
You're not out of the poker game yet until you've exhausted your chips. So, when your chips are down, you can still carry on with an all-in bet. Put all your chips in and the dealer will divide the pot into the main pot which you can win, and the side pot which one of the regular bettors can win. The side pot is awarded first and the main pot awarded last.