"Orphaned" Money in a pot Edit

Dead money is money in the pot of a poker game that is considered "dead" for one of two reasons:

  • The player who originally bet the money has, since betting, dropped out of the hand and can no longer win any portion of the pot. This is money which appears to be a "pot bonus" to the remaining players in the hand - it didn't come from any of them, but it is still there to be won. It's original owner has "died" for purposes of the pot, and cannot win it.
  • The player who put the money in pot did so under some sort of house rule which renders the money "dead" in the sense that it is not part of any live bet by the player. The most common example of this is a player who missed the blinds in a game of Hold 'em returning to the game and being forced to post both the big and small blinds in order to be dealt back in. In doing so, while the big blind portion of their post is generally considered live (that is, the player is considered to have already bet their big blind; if the bet is still that size when it gets to them, they have the option to check), the small blind portion is generally considered dead, and is usually placed in the center of the table prior to the betting round, to emphasize that the amount is not part of the player's current bet.

Inexperienced or Bad Player Edit

An inexperienced or especially bad player can sometimes be called "dead money", either as an insult or as a joke. This is intended to signify that the player is likely to simply end up putting all their chips into the pot and never (or, more realistically, almost never) getting any back out (i.e. they win very few or no hands); thus, their chips act something like the first definition of dead money above: money contributed into a pot by a player who has very little chance of winning that pot.

This term is more often used to describe fields of players than an individual player. Some poker professionals have commented that the World Series of Poker, despite (or becuase of) its enormous growth over the past fdecade, has become more profitable for good players due to the enormous amount of dead money in play: large numbers of unskilled players who have practically no chance of winning, or even finishing in the money, who are essentially "donating" their money into the tournament (in the opinions of the pros).

Tournament OverlayEdit

Related to the concept of "dead money" being contributed by bad players is any money contributed by tournament organizers to fill a guaranteed prize pool in a tournament. Such circumstances usually arise in online poker at relatively modest stakes. For example, if an tournament with a $1 buy-in offers a guaranteed prize pool of $10,000 but only 9,000 players enter, the site operator will make up the $1,000 difference. This contribution is known as the overlay. However, most online poker rooms rooms will deduct each player's share of this overlay from any rakeback he may receive - in the above example, all players receiving rakeback would be deducted 11 cents of rakeback, regardless of whether or not they finished in the money or not.

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