"It is easier to fight for one's principles than to live up to them."
-- Alfred Adler
Definitions of "bad beat": 1) To lose a hand in a particularly unlucky way. Overused term used by masochistic story tellers
of "bad beat stories". 2) Bad Beat Jackpot: amount of money that can be won when a player loses a qualifying hand; for instance
when four of a kind loses to a straight flush.
Sometimes we do everything right but still lose to some godawful miracle suckout. But that is poker. If it can happen, sometimes it will.
With the recent influx of players into the poker world comes a lot of newbie players who don't have the perspective to recognize non-usual exceptions
-- for example, if you lose with AA the first two times you get it you might have a much more warped view on their value than if you won ten times then
lost two in a row with the hand. Once you have played tens of thousands of poker hands, it is a lot easier to just know that, well, shit happens.
Windows - Mac
Okay, now that is straightforward enough, but if you are a newbie player, it is actually more complex than that. While "bad beats" do occur in poker,
they happen more often to new players (or weaker experienced players) because new players make mistakes that invite the bad beats.
A reader, Traves, sent me an email describing the situation well:
First I'd like to compliment you on your articles in general, they are truly some of the best I've ever read and do a fantastic job of taking the romanticism
and glitter out of playing poker... I've been playing consistently for 14 years. Nowadays my online [play] is generally at PartyPoker in the NL Hold Em Tourneys.
I've noticed an overall theme in your writing that I think is very important in today's world of poker. You hit on it again directly in your
basics article. It is your concerns -- if I can call them that, about
the explosion of No Limit Tourneys on the Internet and high stakes
play and the dangers thereof. Many people are diving into these games and have to be blowing their brains out. Televised big money tourneys are spiffy to
watch but as I've played in a few real ones and watched a few more live I know how hard it is to win or even place in these mothers. I'm a fair player and
the areas my Hold em game needs improving on are huge but I understand what you're writing. I see many that don't and hope you keep pounding out the message.
I'd like to give you two examples
[the second example was of a hand he played right but still lost] you may find useful for future reference to further get it across to the hordes
that seem to be playing online. Not everyone can be a winning player but if they aren't prepared to learn they can guarantee losing their ass.
The first is a terrible play I made.
My stack is about average, I'm not short. Blinds are at 100-200. I'm in late
position with JJ. One call in front, and when it comes to me,
I just call. First mistake and it's the killer. [Players behind fold, and the blinds call.] Flop comes 662 offsuit.
Checked around to me, I bet 1000. SB tosses, the big blind calls and other player folds. Now goddamn it Steve, I know the BB has to have
me beat but I lose the discipline and fall in love with my
pocket pair. Turn is a 9. The big blind goes all
in and I call. The river is a K and BB shows 63 offsuit and I'm out of the tournament.
Now, here's the ammunition for you maybe in a future article. In the chat box after the hand, three players say "Damn bad beat" and
"Jacks just aren't holding up". This then was an example of a terrible play by an experienced player and more importantly a great
example of players not understanding I made a bad play and created my own "bad beat".
After the first hand I went and kicked the cat. After the second hand [where he played correctly but still busted out] I went to a movie with
the wife. Please keep on pounding away at the masses, de-mystifying poker.
Hands similar to Traves' occur every minute online and in casinos -- much more often than genuine bad beats. People lose hands because they screw
up. In this case, Traves invited the big blind to beat him, and he did! Not only that, Traves knew he was beat, and committed the much worse sin
of losing the bulk of his chips even though he knew he was beat. There is no bad beat in that, only bad poker.
Recognition of the mistake though is good poker. The worst poker is being displayed by those three people who lamented about Traves'
"bad beat" with the jacks. They don't recognize that poor play lead to poor results.
Before you can apply good poker play, you have to recognize it.
More on Poker Bad Beats,
Poker Humor and
You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet
Previous Poker Term: Backer
Next Poker Term: Bankroll