Just what exactly is “dead money” and what does it mean in no limit Texas hold’em? Well just like other phrases in poker then “dead money” has several meanings. In tournament poker then it is often used as a derogatory term to mean players that have bought into a particular tournament who have absolutely no chance of winning. In short they have contributed money to the prize pool without being in contention to win the prizes.
There is also dead money in no limit Texas hold’em cash games as well. This refers to money that is placed into the pot where the person that places that money either does not win the pot or does not see the showdown. As a rule then the dead money tends to come at different stages of the hand based on what level you are playing at. For example in high stakes and mid-stakes levels then the players are much more aggressive and they expect aggression in return.
This means that 3/bet, 4/bet, 5/bet and shoved pots are common pre-flop in no limit Texas hold’em six max games. Each player is very aggressive and so the ranges are much wider with each player trying to catch the other player exploiting the other. The bottom line is that there can be huge amounts of dead money in the pot even during massively escalated pots.
There is dead money also in full ring games like at the NL50 level. However it is the job of a very good no limit Texas hold’em player in games like this to attempt to drag as much dead money into the pot as possible. At the end of the day then if you have an edge in the game then you want your opponents to call when you raise and this is especially the case if they are weak players.
You want them to call because you want them to place more money into the pot that they will ultimately leave behind when they fold. Players tend not to stack off in games like $50 full ring no limit Texas hold’em cash games with hands that are not powerful. So there is less dead money at certain levels than others when the pots become very big.
At lower stakes levels then the dead money tends to be pre-flop and on the flop. This is because more players tend to drift into a fit or fold style and fold to aggression. This can be carried over onto the turn as well but for example in a NL50 cash game at full ring then if a player shows any intention of liking their hand on the turn then the chances are much higher that they will stack off with it. This means that your fold equity is far lower and you have much less value with hands like two pair and sets and other lower order non nut holdings. So it is important in no limit Texas hold’em where you think the dead money will come from and then adjust your strategy accordingly.