What does in-play mean? Does it mean the hand gestures, the language, the accents, or even the clothing?
In-play is often used in reference to a poker game that’s taking place in real time as you’re reading this. However, it can also be used to describe the act of watching and participating in a sporting event that’s ongoing as you’re reading this. It could even be a song you’re listening to that’s in-play. The list of scenarios in which in-play could apply is endless.
‘In-Play’ Poker Game
If you’ve ever watched a professional poker game streamed online, you know that sometimes the action pauses while they offer up the hand results or explain the action in-play. That is because sometimes several events happen simultaneously. While one game is in progress another may be waiting its turn. So if a bet results in a tie, you’ll have to wait until the end to learn what happened.
If you’ve ever attended a professional sporting event, you know that sometimes the action pauses while the play-by-play commentator offers up the play-by-play. That is because sometimes several events happen simultaneously. While one game is in progress another may be waiting its turn. So if a play ends in a tie, you’ll have to wait until the end to see who won the round.
Sometimes a play may stop while something else is happening in the background. For example, if you’re watching an action movie and the car chase begins while the movie is still playing, the car chase will be in-play. The play-by-play commentator will have to pause the movie and let the action continue in the background while they still provide commentary for the current event.
If you’ve ever taken part in an improv comedy group, you may have performed in background scenes where you were asked to react to something that was happening that was not scripted. Often times those reactions would go on for several minutes while the scene changed and the improv continued. So if you participated in an improv comedy show and one of the scenes lasted for a while, the improv in that scene will be in-play
Sometimes a commentator may offer their commentary in real-time as the game is taking place. If that is the case, the commentary will be in-play. However, this is most often used in reference to a poker game that’s being discussed on TV or other media platforms. The commentators will use language and tones that are usually reserved for a TV play-by-play commentator. While watching or participating in a game, you’ll often hear real-time commentary in reference to a poker game whenever there’s significant action or an important decision to be made.
Cue Card Result
In some situations, the outcome of a game may be determined by the results of a spin of the cup. Sometimes this is done live at the table, sometimes it’s done by a random number generator (RNG) and the results are provided to the players after the game. If the game is being held behind-the-scenes and the results are provided at the end, the game won’t qualify as in-play. But if the results are determined by a random spin of the cup, the action will be in-play.
Loss Of Communication
If there’s ever been a game that’s ended in a tie, there’s usually one person who feels that they should have won. That person often argues that they didn’t communicate their intentions clearly enough to the other players. In these situations, it’s common for both parties to have trouble speaking to one another. Even when the game is explained afterward, it can be difficult to recount exactly what happened because of the language barrier (if any) and the time that has passed. So even though there was no actual physical contact, the game will be considered to be in-play because there was no clear way for either side to verify each other’s claims after the game (if they even agree to do so).
Sometimes it can be difficult to determine when a game is considered to be in-play. There are, however, a few tell-tale signs that can help. If the language barrier is an issue, if there’s a lot of hand gestures, and/or if you have to ask the commentator to repeat themselves, chances are the game is in-play. Of course, this isn’t always the case and there are often situations in which games are not in-play just because of the way the language barrier presents itself. If you’re ever unsure whether or not a game is in-play, just ask yourself these questions:
- Is there a language barrier?
- Do I have to ask the commentator to repeat themselves?
- Do I have to refer back to previous incidents/hand gestures?
- Is there more than one event going on (i.e. multiple games being played simultaneously)?