The term card dead in poker means to be on a run where we are only being dealt bad hands and spend most of our time folding.

In this guide we’ll learn the following - 

What Does It Mean to be Card Dead in Poker?

Being card dead means we don’t get dealt a decent hand for an extended period of time. It becomes hard for us to play any pots and we usually feel as if we spend the majority of our time folding. It’s a normal part of the game to be dealt bad cards over a certain period of time.

What is the Opposite of Being Card Dead?

The opposite of card dead in poker means we are constantly getting dealt good hands. Poker players use terms such as running good, running hot or being on a heater

What is the Difference Between Running Bad and Being Card Dead?

Being card dead implies that we are not getting dealt anything. If we are constantly making big but second best hands we are running bad, but we are not technically ‘card dead’. 

What Should We Do If We Are Card Dead in Poker?

The worst thing we can do is to try and force the action when we don’t have the cards to back it up. Patience is still an extremely important quality in poker and we should think of being card dead as an opportunity to train our patience and practice folding. Less experienced players may get frustrated with the lack of action and end up losing a large amount of chips as a result. 

Why Am I Always Card Dead in Poker?

Although it might feel that we are always card dead, it’s worth remembering that everyone gets dealt the same cards over the long run. It’s possible to be relatively card dead for thousands of hands and this should be considered a normal part of the game. On other occasions we will get hit by the deck and it will feel like we are constantly being dealt premiums. Over the long run everything averages out. 


The term card dead describes an extended period where we are not dealt many (or any) playable hands. It’s a normal part of the game and we should expect this to happen from time to time. The best response is to avoid forcing the action and use it as an opportunity to train our patience and discipline.

With over 10 million registered members worldwide, 888poker is the fastest growing online poker room, with a new player signing up every 12 seconds. 888 has been a forerunner in the online gaming industry and a pioneer of safe and responsible gaming since 1997. We are one of the biggest and most trusted brands in the world, providing one of the largest selections of games, high value tournaments and exciting live events for poker players around the globe.