Poker Bad Beats – A Fact Of Poker Life?

Bad Beats Are A Fact Of Poker Life
– What Matters Is How You Deal With Bad Beats As They Happen

Every poker player has seen this – you are just one card away from a big pot or final table with a pair against a rag-ace and *Boom* your opponent spikes his card on the river. This can be maddening or even tilt-inducing at times.

Taking a step back and understanding the crucial role that this kind of situation plays in your longer term profitability can be difficult in the heat of the moment. However, taking the time to understand this can lead many poker players to react better and thus play better when the inevitable suck-out happens.

I start by looking at an interesting phenomenon – that good players are statistically more likely to suffer from bad-beats than bad ones. Next we will show why the ‘luck’ element is so crucial to the game of poker. Finally we make some suggestions of how to (and how not to!) cope with bad beats.

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Poker Bad Beats – Why They Are More Common For The Good Players

Logic would show you that the mark of a winning poker player is to win more chips when ahead and (equally important) lose less chips when behind. Since the number of times we have the ‘best starting hand’ relative to our opponents will even out over the long term.

This means that a good player will get the chips into the pot, through use of hand-reading, position and betting strategy – more often when holding the best hand than the worst one. For a bad (or just inexperienced) player the reverse is true, the chips will go in more often when holding the worst hand.

Now – follow this through to its logical conclusion – since occasions when an opponent is drawing completely dead are less common, the bad player will have a number of outs each time this occurs… and will sometimes hit them. At the same time the ‘good’ player will not often get himself into this situation at all – his superior skills allow him to avoid needing to ‘bad beat’ an opponent in order to win the pot.

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Poker Bad Beats – Why Chance Is Important To Poker

No experienced poker player would deny that the chance fall of cards has a large effect in poker over the short term. Over time skill is more important than luck in poker. What many players do not consider is what this means for the game as a whole.

To see what we mean imagine that skill had a shorter-term effect, that is to say we diminish the luck element from the chance fall of the cards some how. This would mean that the new / inexperienced player would always lose to those with more experience very quickly indeed. They would not have a chance to ‘get lucky’ in the short term and enjoy the thrill of winning a big pot.

Now – what do you think that this would mean for the poker economy?

It would mean that those new players who ventured to the tables would quickly give up the game. It would also mean that poker had a reputation of a game that was difficult to beat, leading potential newcomers to find their entertainment elsewhere.

Here is the bottom line: It is the fact that anyone can win in the short-term which keeps poker alive. Those bad beats are not just part of the game, they are necessary to have any game in the first place!

Poker Bad Beats – How To Cope With Poker Bad Beats

Since those bad beats are so pervasive, it makes good sense to plan a strategy of how you are going to cope with them when they occur. We have divided this section into “do’s” and ‘Do Not’s”

  • Do – Remind yourself that this is where the long term profit in poker comes from.
  • Do – Make A note of the player(s) involved for future reference
  • Do – Take a deep breath and remind yourself that Tilting not a good solution, put a plan into place to take a 5 minute walk or get a glass of water.
  • Do – Ensure that your poker bankroll is big enough to take the ‘hit’ without adverse longer term effects.
  • Do – Move table or even switch poker site if you feel that the bad-beat will have an adverse effect, this enables you to ‘start afresh’.
  • Do Not – Berate or insult the fool who bad-beat you, the only possible effects of this are bad. Either the fish leaves the table or you educate them to play better, both situations are bad for your profits.
  • Do Not – Tilt, if you find yourself angry and playing badly then this could potentially have a worse effect on your bankroll than the bad-beat itself.
  • Do Not – Move up levels to where there are less ‘donks’. This is faulty thinking and results in ruin for 1000’s of poker players. Winning in poker means adjusting to beat your opponents, and the lowest level players who commonly put beats on you are actually the easiest of all to beat.
  • Do Not – Focus on getting the chips back from the individual who beat you, again this is faulty thinking… instead of playing solid long-term poker you are now gambling, possibly with the worst of it too.


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