Friday, June 01, 2007

Dead Money

I've been reading Anthony Holden's new book, Bigger Deal: A Year Inside the Poker Boom. I'm going to do a review on it soon, and the publisher was kind enough to give me a couple of extra review copies that I'll be giving away. More on that shortly.

But he says something early in the book I wanted to comment on now. He refers to "dead money" as his favorite new poker phrase.

I thought I'd point out some of the history of the phrase. More than a specific poker phrase, it's history is that of a gambling term.

The term in poker has come to refer to the entry money of tournament players who have no chance of winning at all. They essentially have no equity in the pot. With 10 players playing winner-take-all, if one is dead money then your equity is 11+% rather than 10%.

But the term is older than poker tournaments, probably older than poker. In a parimutuel horse race pool, any bets on a horse that has not chance of winning, probably won't even finish, is dead money. It's money that's been bet which simply can't be won by the person making that bet -- the money on that bet is up for grabs among the rest of the field.

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