Poker Bad Beats: Stories and Strategy
written by BeatTheFish.com
...Fishy says, "Bad beats are how I
earn my living, man."
With the phenomenal surge in poker's
popularity both in cardrooms and online, thousands of new players
descend on the game every day. Combine inexperience with fast-paced
online games and the result is an abundance of poker bad beats.
No poker player is immune from bad beats and that is part of what
makes poker a great game. Admittedly, I may not share that opinion
immediately after my pocked Aces get cracked for a few hundred
Bad beats happen because, of course,
there is an element of luck in poker. A hand that is an overwhelming
favorite to take down the pot before the flop, turn, or river is
just that: a favorite. Probabilities and odds don't guarantee
Essentially, poker bad beats are needed
to keep new players interested and fresh money brought to the
tables. After all, who would take up the game if they didn't have a
chance to beat more experienced players on any given day? Try to
take solace in the fact that skill does prevail over luck in the
long term. If it didn't, would there be so many professional poker
The overwhelming majority of us have a
tough time dealing with bad beats psychologically, at least
temporarily. If you think it's a beginner's weakness to be unable to
control emotions after a pot has been cruelly taken from victory's
grasp, flip on ESPN and listen for those bleeps after a pro busts
out of the WSOP on a 2 outer.
In the following sections I'd like to
not only give you some simple tips on dealing with poker bad beats,
but also define them for beginners, provide some entertaining bad
beat tales, and explain why bad beats can actually be encouraging
for your level of play.
What Is a Poker Bad Beat?
A poker bad beat occurs when an
overwhelming favorite loses the hand. Examples of extreme bad beats
would include pocket Kings beating pocket Aces with a third King on
the river or a player hitting an inside straight on the river
to beat a made hand. In both of these situations, the drawing hand
would have, at maximum, 4 outs (cards to come to give a winning
hand) and less than a 10% chance of winning.
Lesser bad beats include getting beaten
with a made hand like top pair or two pair by a flush or straight
draw on the river. While many players feel like they've encountered
a bad beat in this situation, the draw has a fairly high number of
A common situation that shouldn't be
considered a bad beat occurs when a pocket pair loses to two
overcards in an all-in tournament situation. The two hands are
essentially even-money favorites to win preflop. To suffer a true
bad beat a player must dominate his opponent's hand, play it
properly, and still lose. A bad beat is also referred to as a "suck
out" with the underdog "sucking out" on the favorite.
Bad Beat Stories
A natural reaction to suffering a poker
bad beat is to want to tell the world about it. Players usually want
sympathy and understanding from fellow players and reassurance that
the loss wasn't their fault. While this is certainly understandable,
it is poor poker etiquette to complain about bad beats at the table.
Most of your tablemates simply won't care as they've experienced the
same situation countless times themselves. The only thing you
accomplish by spouting off is pegging yourself as a target on tilt.
While bad beat stories are often tiring
to experienced players, they can always be useful if analyzing the
strategy used to prevent future suck outs. Bad beat stories can also
be entertaining if told with a sense of humility rather than
bitterness. We've all given and gotten our fair share of bad beats
and, hopefully, can look at them as humorous aberrations from the
poker gods in our long-term poker careers.
The following bad beat stories are a
couple of my favorites:
A Most Interesting Bad Beat
With a Click of the Mouse
Perspective and Strategy
A point from a Mike Caro article that
has stuck with me goes something like this: if you're encountering a
lot of poker bad beats, it's a good sign and means that you're
playing well. Huh? If you think backwards, this completely makes
sense. You suffer bad beats after you have the best hand when all
the money goes into the pot. If you're repeatedly the favorite when
most of your money is committed then you're playing proper poker.
Forcing your opponents to need a miracle
card to beat you every time is exactly what you want in the long
run. You should take every opportunity to commit all your chips
against an opponent on a draw. While it may be little consolation
after suffering your umpteenth straight bad beat, try to think
objectively and realize that you still made the right play. Don't
alter your strategy simply based on short-term results.
Modern poker players are certainly faced
with an increased level of bad beats due to the massive amounts of
inexperienced players and the faster pace of online games. That
being said, the game's never been more profitable for those who can
psychologically overcome short-term bad luck.
The heart of this site lies in the
ability to teach frustrated players how to "beat the fish".
Hopefully, the following resources I've written can help you
incorporate some specific strategy to combat
soft tables and,
ultimately, lead to less bad beats.
Beat the Fish Strategy Tutorial
How to Crush a Loose Game
Playing Against Maniacs
How to Play Pocket Aces
Frustrations with Bad Beats
This article or portions of this article
may not be used in any form without permission.