Looking at the concept of reverse dead money

dead businessman on money

In games like NLHE, we are constantly looking to create dead money by getting our opponents to place money into the pot and then fold. However, if we are not careful, we can also place what is called “reverse dead money” into the pot. This is money that isn’t needed in order to do the same job. Let us say that you want to bluff on the river with no more cards to come and there is $50 in the pot.

If your opponent actually has nothing then you don’t need to bet the pot. Betting two thirds of the pot and around $34 would get them to fold their fresh air every bit as a $50 bet would have. So you have placed an extra $16 into the pot that hasn’t actually done anything. In fact not only has it not done anything but when our opponent does have a hand that can call then we have lost an extra $16.

To get this money back means that we either need to win more pots without a showdown or at showdown. In short we have to win more money to compensate for the dead money that we place into the pot. Not a lot of people view poker in this way but we can make big mistakes even in the pots that we win. This is rarely seen by novices and amateurs because they are happy after winning the pot.

However a professional views things differently, they play a different game where bet sizing is as important to them as setting odds is to a bookmaker. Looking at how betting firms operate is instructive as clearly in any sporting contest that is wagered on then there are numerous possible outcomes. In a football match this can be reduced to three which are a home win, away win and draw.

If one side were guaranteed to win the game because the skill difference was so great then there wouldn’t be a betting market as no bookmaker would lay odds on a certainty because even at odds of 1/100……the backer can simply buy $1 with every $100 they use. So to have a betting market there has to be uncertainty and the imbalance in ability is counter balanced to a large extent by the odds. The odds work in a similar way to a handicap system and level the playing field somewhat.

It is vital that a betting firm has accurate odds and so why should they offer 5/4 on a team when they have been so hyped up that they feel that the market would gladly accept Evens of even 4/5 without much fuss? This is the betting equivalent of the poker player that creates dead money. The reason why many sports bettors don’t make money is that they create “reverse dead money” with their bets. They take odds of say 3/1 when 4/1 was available somewhere. Sooner or later the money that should have been won that wasn’t comes back to haunt them.

It is vital to your success as a no limit Texas hold’em player to think about your bet sizing at all times. It is very difficult to beat the game for meaningful amounts of money or beating it at all if you don’t nail down this part of your game. The creation of dead money will either make or break your poker career. You look for it when you plot your strategy but you also take great care not to create it when you bet.

Indirectly risking more money than what you need to get a job done is the same as paying more for a product than what you really needed to. Sooner or later that lost money comes back to haunt you unless you happen to be one of the few people in life that are really rich.