Dead Money in Online Poker – Attacking & Defending

Poker is a game skill, patience and most importantly, timing. Timing is everything in poker, whether you’re planning a gutsy bluff or slow-playing a hand, timing is the most important factor, which can make or break any poker player.

Professional poker players are aware that to be successful, they need to ‘steal’ pots any chance they get. There are always instances in any poker game where dead money will be there for the taking, and those who do are usually the ones with the bigger stacks, or more guts.

What is Dead Money in Poker?

Technically, dead money is a term used to describe the chips of players who would have folded. Dead money is more present in tournament poker, where there are huge amount of chips in play. High blinds and antes can eat up any chip stack if not winning hands, so players need to get creative on how to continuously build their chip stack and stay in the game.

Tournament players know that as blinds levels increase, blinds and antes will become significant in value. For instance, mid-way to late stages of the tournament is mostly revolved around dead money, with players attacking pre-flop pots viciously, while at the same time preventing their opponents from doing the same. This can get pretty hectic, and a proper strategy for such situations is a must. Do not confuse dead money with freerolls, (poker tournaments you can play for free), while you can win money for free, the term dead money in poker is used differently. 

Attacking Dead Money

The more players are present in an online poker tournament, the more dead money becomes available. Attacking dead money can be tricky and requires special attention and awareness on other players playing style and betting strategies. Attacking dead money is all about trying to steal, re-stealing and placing squeeze bets as much as possible. Don’t be fooled! Don’t risk attacking dead money each time it becomes available. As explained above, timing is everything. As blinds increase and chip stacks dwindle, players need to find the right openings for when to attack dead money and have to keep in mind the following:

  • Positioning
  • Chip stacks, your opponents as well as yours
  • Identify loose players
  • Pot value in relation to betting amounts

For instance, blinds are 300/600 are you are on the button. 4 players are in the hand and the action in on you. If you decide to raise and successfully eliminate two players from the hand, the amount of dead money in the pot is equivalent to 50%, making it a better investment.

Defending Dead Money

It’s impossible to defend dead money without making some big calls. The important thing to keep in mind is whether or not you’re playing an experienced player, as this will determine whether your opponent is making a play.

It’s vital not to lose concentration in poker and to stay aware of every situation that presents itself with dead money. Just as you’ll be planning to steal, others will be planning re-steal, so there must be a willingness to push more chips to defend the dead money. For example, when a good, aggressive player makes a play at the pot, they will usually decide to go all in and try to steal it pre-flop, as raising is not an option with high blinds and antes. Going all-in and risking all the chips will make a statement when trying to defend dead money.

Stealing dead money can be very profitable and rewarding, however, many things must be considered before doing so. Although stealing blinds and antes can be tempting to try every time, there will be times where your investment will be higher than your return and may also be facing a monstrous hand.  

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