Cripple the Deck

Crippled the Poker Deck

by Jesse Knight


Cripple The Deck – The elimination of your opponents’ outs from the deck, either by holding them in your hand, or discarding them into the muck.

If you have discarded the cards that your opponents need to complete their hands, or if you are holding those cards in your hand, you have crippled the deck. Your opponents can also cripple the deck for you. The term is most commonly used in draw games, because in draw games you have more knowledge about what cards are out of play then you do in other poker games. This is because in draw games you discard, sometimes several times, over the course of the hand.

Consider the following Ace to Five Triple Draw (Lowball) situation. You are dealt A-A-3-5-5 on the button. A loose player limps in front of you and you raise, eliminating the blinds. The limper calls, and you both draw two. You draw an A and a 5 so you still hold A-A-3-5-5. The other player bets into you. What should you do? Let’s analyze the situation. The first thing you should notice is that you probably had a better starting hand than your opponent. You can assume this because he drew two, which means he only had a three card low hand, and it is likely that his hand did not contain an Ace or five (two key cards). Plus, he limped in which is a sign of weakness for a loose player. Given that he is a loose player, he would probably bet if he picked up one helpful card on the draw, and he may even make a feeler bet even if he didn’t help his hand on the draw. Also, you know that the deck is crippled. If he has four cards to a six low, he is likely missing both the Ace and five, giving him only two outs to make a six low or six outs to make a seven (which is not a great hand in triple draw).

Given all of this you should raise. If he stays pat he probably made a seven and is planning on calling you down. In this case you will have to draw two. If he draws one or two, you should stay pat. Chances are he will need an ace or a five (or both) to complete his hand. Because you have crippled the deck, he is unlikely to make a hand he can call with, and you will most likely win the pot by betting.

Usage: The Deck was Crippled, I Crippled the Deck

Previous Poker Term: Crazy Pineapple
Next Poker Term: Crying Call


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