What Does Pay Off Mean?

What does the term "pay off" mean in the world of poker? What is the definition of the term "pay off" in poker?

In poker, to "pay someone off" means to call a final bet when you are relatively certain that you are beat. In cases where you are paying somebody off, the odds to call are just too strong to fold, though you are almost certain that you are beat.

The definition of the term Pay Off.  The King provides an example.

Let's say that you are dealt pocket Kings in a local cash game. You are on the button. There is a raiser and a caller in front of you. You re-raise, which draws calls from the two other players.

The flop comes Jc-Qc-4c. Action is checked to you. You put out a bet and both players call.

The turn brings the 2d. Again, action is checked to you. You put out a bet, and both players call once again. It doesn't take a genius to see that one, or maybe both players, are on a draw.

The river brings the Ac and you don't have a Club in your hand. This is obviously a terrible card for you, as there is a good chance that one of your opponents have a Club in their hand.

There is 5,400 in the pot. The player first to act puts out a bet of 1,200. The second player folds.

Now, there is practically no chance that you ahead in the hand, though can you fold to such a small bet? You decide to "pay off" your opponent, who turns over Jd-Kc for a flush.

In this case, you knew that you were beat, though you couldn't fold your hand to such a small bet.

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