When a player is eliminated or leaves the table when they should have been the button or a little blind, there are multiple ways to handle the situation. The simplest and most common choice is to use dead blinds (or dead button). The abstruse alternative is to use traveling blinds. This article will just discuss dead blinds and the two possible scenarios where dead blinds occur.
It is important to never let a player skip paying a big blind or small blind in a rotation because of player elimination. Dead buttons/blinds and the alternatives stop that from happening.
If the small blind is eliminated, then during the next hand the button can not pass that player's spot as if nothing happened. It would allow the former under-the-gun player to miss a big blind completely and the former big blind to skip his small. Instead, the button is placed in the eliminated player's spot. Functionally, the player to the right of the dead button has all the advantages of the button, namely last position. In the next hand, the button will move one spot clockwise as usual and the game will be back to normal.
Dead Little Blind
If the big blind is eliminated, blinds can not be placed out as normal during the next hand because the former UTG player will miss a big blind. Instead the small blind is dead and is not used during that hand. The former UTG player will place a single big blind, which will be the only blind in the hand, unless there is a straddle. In the hand after that one, the button moves to the eliminated player's spot, making it a dead button.
One last important exception is when a players are eliminated in a tournament, causing it to become heads up. Dead buttons are not used in this scenario. The button is moved normally unless it would cause a player to be big blind twice in a row. If it would, it is given to the other player. Keep in mind that this is considering the rule that blinds are reversed when heads up, so the button is small blind and first to act preflop.
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