Dead money in poker is the money in the pot other than the equal amounts bet by active remaining players in that pot. Examples of dead money include money contributed to the pot by players who have folded, a dead blind posted by a player returning to a game after missing blinds, or an odd chip left in the pot from a previous deal. For example, 8 players each ante $1, one player opens for $2, and gets two callers, making the pot total $14. Three players are now in the pot having contributed $3 each, for $9 “live” money; the remaining $5 (representing the antes of the players who folded) is dead money.
The amount of dead money in a pot affects the pot odds of plays or rules of thumb that are based on the number of players. For example, a common rule of thumb used by many Omaha players is that one should raise with a nut low hand on the last round only if there are four players in the pot, and just call if there are only three. But if there is considerable dead money in the pot, this changes the odds to favor raising even with only three players.
The term “dead money” is also used in a derogatory sense to refer to money put in the pot by players who are still legally eligible to win it, but who are unlikely to do so because they are unskilled. This can also be applied to the player himself: Let’s invite John every week; he’s dead money. The term “dead money” also applies in tournaments, when a player enters who has virtually no chance of winning.
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