Explanation of Cripple

Imagine we flop the following in a Hold’em game.

Board: AKK
Hand: AA

We can describe ourselves as having the deck crippled because it is virtually impossible that one of our opponents out-draws us. Note that we use the word “virtually” here, since being sucked out on is still technically possible. Our opponent might hold a King and make quads before the river. Although the term crippled should technically mean that we can never be beaten, it’s often used to describe situations where us being outdrawn is simply highly unlikely.

Example of Cripple used in a sentence -> (Hold’em) we flopped top set on a dry texture and basically had the deck crippled.

How to Use Cripple as Part of Your Poker Strategy

In tournament play, once our stack becomes crippled we should be looking for the earliest possible double-up opportunity, even if our we are dealt garbage hands preflop. Note that this mostly applies to situations where we have 5bb or less in our stack and don’t have any pressing ICM considerations that cause us not to shove. (We could be on the bubble in a double-or-nothing tournament and our opponent has less chips than us in his stack). Even stacks as small as 10bb should not be considered crippled since we still have the ability to employ some rudimentary selection process in terms of whether to shove or wait until the next hand.

See Also 

Tournaments, ICM, Hand Rankings, Bubble, Blind, Big Blind