Running It Twice In Poker – How This Actually Works?

running twice poker

7 minutes

Posted by: Ivan

If you have watched a televised poker cash game, you have probably seen situations in which the dealer deals the entire or one part or the board two times.

Dealing one or more streets two times in poker is called running twice. This is also known as “doing business” in live cash games.

In order for you to fully understand what does run it twice mean in poker as well as the implications of running it twice in poker, we have prepared a detailed overview of this practice.

What Does Run It Twice Mean in Poker?

In poker, the term “running it twice” is used to describe situations in which players involved in a hand come to an agreement to deal the remainder of the board two times.

In order for this option to be available in live games the following conditions must be fulfilled:

  • Running it twice is allowed by the management of the poker room
  • All players involved in the hand agreed to run it twice
  • All of the players involved in the hand are all in

Each of the runouts is worth 50% of the pot, so the winner of the first runout will win half of the pot, and the winner of the second runout will be awarded the remaining half.

This means that there are three possible scenarios in which running it twice can end for a player:

  • You can win both runouts and get 100% of the pot
  • You can win only one run out and win 50% of the pot
  • You can lose both runouts and lose the entire pot

Keep in mind that not all live and online poker rooms have this option. Live poker rooms might only offer this option for specific stakes and it is best to get familiar with the rules of the casino before you start playing.

Also, depending on where you play, you might have additional options available, such as running it three or four times.

Running It Twice Poker Example

what does run it twice mean in poker

To further clarify what running it twice in poker means, we have prepared an example.

Let’s say two players are involved in a hand and the board is:

  • AK97

After seeing the turn, they both go all in creating a 100$ pot, Player A has A7 for two pair while Player B has Q10 for a straight flush draw.

Before the river is dealt, they come to an agreement to run it twice, meaning that there will be two river cards dealt, each worth 50% of the pot.

The first river is a J, completing the final board of AK97J and giving Player B the best hand with a straight.

The second river is a 2, creating the final board of AK972 and giving Player A the best hand with two pair.

Since each player won one of the runouts, they will both receive half of the pot, or $50.

When Is Running It Twice in Poker an Option?

If the poker room allows, the players can come to an agreement to run it twice at any point in the hand as long as they are all in.

Depending on which street they are, running it twice will result in the following scenarios:

  • Before the flop – all five cards (flop, turn, and river) will be dealt two times
  • On the flop – two cards (turn and river) will be dealt two times
  • On the turn – one card (river) will be dealt two times

Each of the run-outs will always be worth half of the pot.

Can I Run It Multiple Times During a Hand In Poker?

The answer to this question will depend on the rules of the poker room, but in theory yes, if two players come to an agreement, the remaining cards during a hand can be dealt more than two times.

In most cases this implies running it:

  • Three times – all of the remaining cards will be dealt three times, with each of the runouts worth ⅓ of the pot
  • Four times – all of the remaining cards will be dealt four times, with each of the runouts being worth ¼ of the pot

Note that if you decide to run it multiple times in poker, the cards will continue to be dealt from the deck without the deck being shuffled.

Can I Run It Only Once in Poker?

Running it once is the default option in all poker games, including the ones played on online poker sites and those played in live casino games.

This means that if two players don’t verbally agree on running it twice during a poker hand, the dealer will proceed to deal the remaining cards only once.

poker run it twice

It is also important to remember that while running it multiple times can be allowed in cash games, because of the rules of the format, running it twice or multiple times is never allowed in tournament poker even if the players agree to do it.

How Can I Run It Twice When Playing Online Poker?

Since players can’t verbally agree to run it twice or multiple times in online poker, the availability of the option will depend on the poker site.

These days most online poker rooms offer players the option to run it twice.

For example, PokerStars allows players a few options which include:

  • Running it twice always – applied to all cash game tables.
  • Running it twice by table – applied only to tables on which the player has selected the checkbox “Run it twice.”
  • Running it once always – applied to all cash game tables.

Note that an online poker room will be dealing the remaining cards twice only in hands where both players had the option “run it twice” selected before the hand started.

Why Should I Be Running It Twice in Poker?

The main reason why you should be running it twice in poker is that it will reduce variance without impacting your profitability.

Here is an example:

Two players are all in on the turn and they both have 50% equity. If they decide to run it once, the hand will end in the following scenario:

  • One player will win 100% of the pot – 50% more than what he should win over the long run
  • The other player will win 0% of the pot – 50% less than what he should win over the long run

However, if they decide to run it twice, there is a possibility that the hand will end in the following scenario:

  • One player will win the first runout or 50% of the pot – which is what he should win over the long run
  • The other player will win the second run out or 50% of the pot – which is what he should win over the long run

Although there is a possibility that one of the players wins both runouts, the chance of this happening is obviously lower than when running it once.

run it twice poker

The example above can be compared with flipping a coin. If you flip a coin, it has a 50% chance of landing on either side.

If you flip it once, it will 100% fall on one side, but if you flip it twice there is a 50% chance that it will land on one side the first time and on the other the second time.

By reducing the variance you will realize your true win-rate much faster than you would if you run it only once.

The last reason why you should be running it twice or more is if your mental game is not the strongest.

By selecting this option you will decrease the chance of going on tilt when you get sucked out on the river as there is a higher chance that you will still win at least a portion of the pot.

When Not To Run It Twice in Poker

As we already concluded if you play online poker, there isn’t really a valid argument for not running it twice. However, when it comes to live poker, there is a specific situation in which you might think about running it only once.

These situations come up rarely, and you might never encounter them, but it is good to have this information in the back of your mind.

Some live poker players will avoid running it more than once (even if they have the option) if they know that the dealer is inexperienced and that they would slow the action drastically by choosing this option.

For example, if the dealer takes too much time to run the board twice and to split the pot in equal parts.

If you have the option of running it twice, the only other possible reason that you could have not to choose this option is if you are looking for some fun and to increase your adrenalin rush, or, potentially, if you want to put the other player on tilt.

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