To kill a pot means to post an over-blind that increases the betting limit. A full kill is double the amount of the big blind, and doubles the betting limits. A half kill is one-and-a-half times the big blind, and increases the betting limits by that amount. A kill may be optional in a game, and is often used at lowball when a player wants to be dealt in right away instead of waiting to take the big blind. A kill may be required in a game for any time a specified event takes place. In high-low split games using a required kill, a player who scoops (wins all of) a pot bigger than a set size must kill the next pot. In other games using a required kill, a player who wins two consecutive pots must kill the next pot. In this type of kill game, a marker called a kill button indicates which player has won the pot, and the winner keeps this marker until the next hand is completed. If the player who has the kill button wins a second consecutive pot and it qualifies monetarily, that player must kill the next pot.

Rules of Kill Pots

  • The kill button is neutral (belonging to no player) if:
    • It is the first hand of a new game.
    • The winner of the previous pot has quit the game.
    • The previous pot was split and neither player had the kill button.
  • In a kill pot, the killer acts in proper turn (after the person on the immediate right).
  • There is no pot-size requirement for the first pot or “leg” of a kill. For the second “leg” to qualify for a kill, you must win at least one full bet for whatever limit you are playing, and it cannot be any part of the blind structure.
  • If a player with one “leg up” splits the next pot, that player still has a “leg up” for the next hand. If the player who split the pot was the kill in the previous hand, then that player must also kill the next pot.
  • A person who leaves the table with a “leg up” toward a kill still has a “leg up” upon returning to the game.
  • A player who is required to post a kill must do so that same hand even if wishing to quit or be dealt out. A player who fails to post a required kill blind will not be allowed to participate in any subsequent game until the kill money is posted.
  • Kill blinds are considered part of the pot. If a player with a required kill wins again, then that player must kill it again (for the same amount as the previous hand).
  • When a player wins both the high and the low pot (scoops) in a split-pot game with a kill provision, the next hand is killed only if the pot is at least five times the size of the upper limit of the game.
  • If you are unaware that the pot has been killed and put in a lesser amount, if it is a required kill pot with the kill button face up, you must put in the correct amount. If not, you may withdraw the chips and reconsider your action.
  • In lowball, an optional rule allows players to look at their first two (sometimes three) cards and then opt whether to kill the pot. The pot can no longer be killed if any player in the game has received a third card. To kill the pot voluntarily, you must have at least four times the amount of the kill blind in your stack. For example: If the big blind is two chips, and the kill blind is four chips, the voluntary killer must have at least 16 chips prior to posting the kill. If this rule is used, it is in conjunction with having the killer act last on the first betting round rather than in proper order.
  • Only one kill is allowed per deal.
  • A new player is not entitled to play in a killed pot, but may do so by agreeing to kill the next pot.
  • Broken game status is allowed only for players of the same limit and game type. For this purpose, a game with a required kill is considered a different type of game than an otherwise similar game without a required kill.

The rules above are from “Robert Rules of Poker” which is authored by Robert Ciaffone, better known in the poker world as Bob Ciaffone, a leading authority on cardroom rules.