No single occurrence in online poker causes a player’s blood pressure to rise faster than a bad beat. Nothing can be more infuriating than that lucky SOB catching one of the few cards in the deck that can take “your” pot away. Not even the most insulting chat messages can drive a player to put his fist through his expensive monitor more than taking a bad beat. So how on earth can a bad beat possibly be good for you?
What is a Bad Beat?
Anyone who has ever played poker for any serious length of time has experienced a bad beat. A bad beat occurs when a player has only a few cards remaining in the entire deck to fill his winning hand on the river. When that card appears, the hand that was “ahead” (higher probability of winning) loses and the hand that was “behind” (lower odds
of winning) wins. Why is a Bad Beat good for you?
The more you play, the more bad beats you will experience. In fact, the better the player’s skill set, the more often he will experience bad beats. Since better players don’t often put themselves in positions where they have to “get lucky” to win a hand, they will frequently have a sizable advantage on their opponents at the river. When the opponent hits his lucky card, the experienced player
must remember not to abandon the skills that brought him to this point.Odds and outs
The occurrence of a bad beat is, by its definition, a highly improbable one. The experienced player should know that, given the same circumstances where the bad beat occurred, he would win most of the time. For instance, if an opponent needs to hit one of four cards (outs) on the river to win a hand, the player will win the hand more than ninety percent of the time. Psychology
Aside from the mathematical aspect of why bad beats work in favor of smart players, a bad beat will often fuel a bad player’s desire to chase long odds. “I hit it once,” he thinks, “so I’ll just chase until I hit it again.” Instead of playing by-the-book poker, the opponent will spend money on bad hands as if they were lottery tickets. Once he hits one lucky hand, he starts to value luck over skill. A patient player will trap these “chasers” as they throw more money into a pot they have precious little hope of winning.Bad Beat jackpot
Another way that unskilled players can be lured into chasing bad hands is through a “bad beat jackpot”. Some online (and many live) poker rooms place a portion of the rake on every hand into a jackpot pool. Players with poor hands (and an even worse understanding of the odds) will chase draws in order to win both the pot and the jackpot. Patient players understand that the jackpot means nothing compared to playing the hand the right way.Online poker
players who have the knowledge, skill and emotional makeup that allow them to keep their cool in the face of bad beats will eventually reap the rewards. Remember, poker is a game of the “long run”, so don’t let one bad hand undo hours of hard work at the tables.