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Bad beat is a poker term referring to having a strong dominating hand lose to a much weaker hand held by another player. A bad beat in poker happens when a heavily-favored hand loses out to a hand that was well behind prior to the river card being dealt. When your pocket Kings lose to pocket 7’s when another 7 miraculously appears on the river. When your two pair gets hammered by an inside straight draw.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re playing online poker or brick-and-mortar poker, players are constantly getting frustrated and complaining about bad beats.
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 results.
Bad beats are a normal part of poker that a good player learns to accept. As sure as the sun rises in the morning you are going to occasionally get drawn out on the river. You will lose an occasional pot to a bad beat from these players but their bad play will lose to your solid play the majority of the time. In the long run you will make money from players who constantly chase the inside straights or baby flushes. This is an even more common occurrence for those who play on the online poker sites. There are so many knew players online who will play any two suited, any ace or even any two cards. In these types of games you will find that your bankroll fluctuations will be greater but your wins will be bigger.
Regardless of what two cards you hold, there is going to be more randomness to the outcome when you go all in pre-flop vs post flop. In one case, there are 5 more cards to come, and in another, there’s only two. One of the things you can do to avoid bad beats is to try and see a flop for cheap in cases when you would be tempted to go all in pre-flop. Even if you have A-K, there are no guarantees that you’ll win the hand. See a flop first, then decide. There are of course situations where you want to go all-in pre-flop with AK, particularly in tournament poker.
Another risk of going all in pre-flop is the number of opponents you’ll face. More opponents involved in the hand means more chances of getting beat.
When you see a danger flop, meaning there’s either pair on the board, a flush potential or a straight potential, then you need to consider slowing down or betting a lot. Factors that can influence this decision include the number of players in the hand, the chip counts of each player, the pot size and the table image of each player. For instance, if the pot is small, perhaps you want to slow down and check and even give up the hand. Obviously one way of avoiding bad beats is to fold, but that shouldn’t be your first move. Perhaps there is a way to still win the hand. Throwing a little money at it and studying opponent’s reactions will provide you with more information.
In flops where there is a straight or a flush potential, meaning someone could be looking for one more card to hit it, but no one can currently made their big hand, consider ending the hand. Take down the pot right now with a large bet. I usually won’t even bother trapping when these danger flops show up. If I do trap, then I accept the risk that they may hit their card and beat me. But if you’re not willing to risk this, then end the hand with a bet. Make is large enough to prevent the opponents from having the pot odds to call you. The problem with a small bet is that someone chasing a card would have pot odds and would call. And if they do hit the card, then what do you do? Bet again? Go all in? Check? Either way, you’re putting yourself in a difficult position, and you are perhaps setting yourself up for a bad beat. Ending the hand prematurely with a large bet is often the best way to avoid bad beats.
Newer players often don’t realize the odds of a bad beat poker hand like pushing all in with AdJc and miraculously beating AsKs by spiking a Jack on the river.
Experienced and educated poker players need to take a step back and realize that bad beats will always happen when playing poker. Most decent poker players always talk about how amazed they are when they experience a bad beat, and they try to claim that it always happens to them. One thing that experienced players don’t realize is that if they are constantly playing with weaker opponents and experiencing bad beats, it’s because they always have the dominating hand.
You hardly ever see an advanced poker player lay down a bad beat on a much weaker player, especially in a no-limit game. The reasoning behind this is because as the better player, he generally has the better hand going into an all-in situation, so it seems like weaker players never experience bad beats. Players have to learn to take pride in generally making the correct play with the better hand and simply brush it off when they finally experience a horrifying bad beat.
Taking a hard bad beat sticks out in your head much longer than laying a bad beat down on another player. To keep your game sharp, you must learn to simply blow off bad beats, remain focused, don’t get frustrated, and understand that other players making bad calls is exactly what you really want. These are the players who keep you in the money and make you a winning poker player.