It's not often I hear of a poker term that is new to me, but it happened today.
I was listening to today's new episode of the "Top Pair" podcast when they talked about "going light." (The discussion goes from about 37:15 to 40:45.) The subject was prompted by one of the hosts having read this recent PokerNews article by Ashley Adams, which mentions it.
Here's the relevant part of Adams's article:
Some games allow players to “go light,” meaning that they may call a bet even if they don’t have enough money on the table to do so, then can settle up at before [sic] the next hand. Other games actually allow players to reduce the size of their bet after they make it, to accommodate the smaller stack of an opponent, as in: “I bet $15. Oh, you only have $6? Okay, make it $6.”The second half of that is neither remarkable nor controversial, assuming there are only two players in the hand. It's just an informal shortcut to get to the same result as formally putting out $15, then taking back $9 when the player with the $6 stack calls. I assume that Adams is not trying to say that he has seen this allowed when there are other players still in the hand who can call the full bet; that would be a whole 'nuther thing.
But, like Bruce and Robbie (the "Top Pair" hosts), I was unfamiliar with the "going light" part. I have neither seen it done nor heard of it.
By happy coincidence, just yesterday I bought Michael Wiesenberg's "The Official Dictionary of Poker," second edition, for my Kindle--a bargain at just $5. (That is an unsolicited, unpaid endorsement.) Here's his discussion of the subject:
lights. (n) In a home game, a situation that comes up when a player is LIGHT (definition 1). In some home games, not played for TABLE STAKES, when a player does not have enough chips to continue betting in a pot, that player withdraws chips from the pot equal to the amount of the betting beyond his chips, (usually) stacking them neatly in front of him. These are called lights. (To withdraw chips in this manner is called go light.) At the end of the hand, if the player does not win the pot, he buys enough chips to cover his lights. He then matches his lights, that is, puts the lights into the pot plus an equivalent amount of chips from the ones he has just bought. For example, in a stud game, Emilie starts with $16. After the sixth card, she has $2 left. The high hand bets $4. She puts her last $2 in the pot, and pulls $2 from the pot, and stacks it in front of her. At this point, she might say, “I’m light,”or, “I’m going light.”On the last round, someone bets $4 and someone calls. She pulls another $4 from the pot, adding it to her pile of lights. On the showdown, she finds that her three 7s are beat by a small straight. She buys another $50 worth of chips from the banker, adds $6 to her lights, and puts the $12 in the pot. At this point, the winner takes the whole pot. In a split (two-way) pot, if either the winner of the high half or the winner of the low half has lights, or both do, they exchange lights and then split the pot. This is equivalent to each first matching lights, and then splitting the pot, and saves time.