Cash games around the world are changing in an exciting way. Televised and streamed poker sessions have introduced bomb pots into the game, so you may have heard this term before.
So, what is a bomb pot in poker and where can you find them?
At the start of a bomb pot in poker cash games, every player puts some chips in the pot. Cards are dealt to players and the flop is put on the table – skipping all of the preflop action. For example, imagine you’re playing $1/$2 on PokerKing on the 6-max bomb pot table. Instead of putting standard SB and BB, all players pay 4 big blinds and start the game right on the flop.
Sometimes, two flops are dealt.
First, let's clearly define bomb pots and their rules, plus tips to improve your bomb pot strategy.
What is a Bomb Pot in Poker?
A bomb pot has rules that are very simple to follow.
Players usually agree to bomb pots ahead of time, or the poker room will make them aware that they’re playing at a bomb pot table. Online bomb pot tables will have a label or mark to let you know.
Bomb pots are only available in cash games and you will never see one in a poker MTT.
Here are the step-by-step rules for playing a bomb pot:
- When a bomb pot is announced, players put chips into the pot. The amount will be preset by the card room or poker site.
- The dealer gives each player their cards (2 or more, depending on the poker format).
- The dealer burns one card and then deals the 3 flop cards. Some poker rooms might deal 2 flops and give players two separate boards to play with at the same time.
- The action begins at the flop betting round with the player to the left of the button.
There is no big or small blind to pay during a bomb pot.
What Poker Sites Have Bomb Pots?
ACR (also known as America’s Cardroom) is one of the most popular poker sites where you’ll find bomb pots, as well as other poker rooms from Winning Poker Network.
Look for a ticking bomb icon beside ACR cash game tables to enter Bomb Pots.
Bomb Pots will start at all cash game stakes, up to 4 times per hour. When you sit at the table, you can check a small box that will either deal you in or out during a bomb pot. If you check the box, you’ll pay the designated amount when a bomb pot starts. The button will randomly move around the table and be placed in front of a player, reshuffling the positions.
At the classic 6-max tables all players pay 4 big blinds during the Bomb Pots, and only 2 big blinds at the 9-max tables.
On the PokerBros, tables with Bomb Pot feature use it in every hand. The amount of big blinds players should pay varies from 1 to 5.
On PPPoker, Bomb Pot rules can be set up by the club admins. For example, on one table you could play one Bomb Pot in ten hands, on another it would be active for every hand. The amount of big blinds taken varies from 2 to 10.
Usually, the player's field is more soft on mobile apps, so it would be a nice idea to try for bomb pots in one of these apps.
Differences Between Bomb Pot and Splash Pot
GGPoker holds something called a splash pot, which may sound like the same thing, but it’s not.
In a Rush & Cash splash pot, 10 bb goes into the middle automatically and action begins normally from the preflop stage.
This always creates a lot of action and it's common to see players committing lots of chips. Preflop, there is usually a raise, possibly a 3-bet too.
The extra 10 bb in the middle can cause players to be extra-aggressive with a wider range of hands.
By the time players get to the flop, the pot is usually getting large. As the stack-to-pot ratio shrinks, expect to see all-ins with a variety of draws and different hand combinations.
You can play splash pots on GGPoker’s Rush & Cash tables anytime.
What Makes Bomb Pots So Fun?
When you play a bomb pot, all of the important information from the preflop round is missing. We have no idea what hands our opponents could have, meaning that we can’t put them on a range until later. It’s almost like having a large straddle, without any preflop actions.
This changes everything. The flop cards are already exposed and we have no indication about how our opponents’ hands interact with them.
This makes the hand very exciting, and plus, there is going to be a decent amount of chips in the pot already. With so much in the middle, players are sure to take their shot at it.
Bomb pots are fun because of the mystery and the chips that get put into each one.
Bomb Pot Strategy for Online Cash Games
It’s time to explain how to play bomb pot poker so that you have the best chance of winning.
It can be easy to overvalue hands that are mid-strength in bomb pots – and inexperienced players usually do. Giving a little extra value to your mid-strength hands is fine if there’s a little betting action, but remember this: don’t assume that your opponent's hand is garbage, just because it’s a bomb pot.
In this hand from Live at The Bike, Garrett called on a very unfortunate river card and lost a $45,000 pot. He was only behind 67, but also any other set, including 55, 88, AA, or JJ. It seems like a set of 4s is extremely strong here, and it is strong, but not as much when all the money gets put in.
1. Don’t always overvalue hands facing large river bets or all-ins.
Everyone starts with random hands, but if players move all in for a large amount, you can assign a more normal range. It’s fair to say that inexperienced players might overvalue a flush draw, top pair, or other weak holding, but not regulars. In fact, regulars will exploit this idea that players have weaker hands in bomb pots.
2. Hand ranges are useless on the flop.
Ranges will slowly become more defined, but you’ll never have a perfect idea of your opponents’ ranges. After the action on the flop, turn, and river, you can begin to narrow down the ranges.
3. Remember that two-pairs and other hands won’t be as obvious.
Anyone can have any hand at any time. It does matter if the board is Q-2-6 or K-7-3, or a texture that looks very unconnected. Forget the normal ranges and expect your opponents to have any combination of hole cards on the flop.
We’ll tell you about where to play bomb pots in the next section, but here’s something fun you can do at the same time. At partypoker, there are hourly freerolls with prize pools from $50 to $200, which is a perfect way to practice NLH.
You can also check our full freeroll schedule for events running on lots of other poker sites.