Dealing With Bad Beats
written by: John Comments: View Comments
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Everyone who has played poker has faced a bad beat at one time or another. A bad beat is getting your money in when your hand is ahead, sometimes way ahead of your opponent(s) only for them to get their needed card on the turn or river to pull ahead and win the pot.
Bad beats are extremely frustrating to deal with. There is no doubt about it. However, instead of realizing that bad beats are simply a consequence of poker variance, many players will get upset. Many will get upset to the point of tilting. And as we all know, tilting can cause players to play irrationally, make bad plays and spew money. This is only going to snowball into a bigger problem, much bigger than the bad beat you may have just faced.
So, with all of this in mind, I have listed some thoughts below on how to cope with bad beats as well as why you should be happy you have to deal with them in the first place.
Top 7 Tips for How to Deal with Bad Beats
1. Understand the math behind poker. If you study hand probabilities or equities at all, you'll know that there is not one hand or situation where you're going to be guaranteed to win (unless you have the nuts and your opponents are drawing dead). This means that your aces are vulnerable to being cracked, your sets can and will be outdrawn by flush draws and at the rarest of times, your full house will lose to quads. The reason why you face these bad beats is because it's mathematically possible to happen. If it happens more often than it should in a short time frame, then just chalk it up to variance.
2. Do not be results oriented. Bad beats happen because you got your money in while you were ahead and were outdrawn. This means that what you did was right, so be proud of that. In other words, don't be results oriented or just focus on the outcome of the hand, but focus on the process you took to get there. As long as you played the hand to the best of your abilities and got your hand in while you were ahead, who cares what the results were? You shouldn't.
3. Bad beats keep the fish around. If you were to win every hand where you got it in ahead, the fish would eventually stop playing because they'd realize they couldn't win. But since there is variance and some luck in poker, the fish catch their lucky cards against you and win. This creates the illusion that they did something right, despite it not being true. They will keep them around so you can make money off them in the long-run.
4. Laugh the bad beats off. Yeah, right, I know this is much easier said then done. However, with a little bit of practice you'll find that it becomes much easier to do. I have found that laughing off your bad beats helps you to get over them much quicker and enables you to focus and continue to play your A-game.
5. Take a break. Everyone will have their boiling point where they are just running bad and can't laugh the bad beats off anymore. This is poker tilt and the best way to avoid the consequences of playing while tilted is to simply take a break. Take as long of a break as needed for you to completely calm down.
6. Make sure the bad beat was really a bad beat. If it wasn't a bad beat, what could it be? Well, you could've played the hand poorly. I find that many players are quick to claim the hand they lost as a bad beat instead of considering the fact it could've just been a matter of them playing bad. You'll find that you become a much better player if you consider how you played the hand first before chalking the loss up to a bad beat.
7. Enjoy the bad beats you dish out. I'm serious. When you get your money in behind and catch that two outer on the river, do a dance, brag about it and overall, just simply enjoy it. When I first started to play poker, I'd feel bad about catching a two outer after maybe playing my hand incorrectly or just getting it in behind. Sometimes I'd even apologize in the chat box. Now I don't. I realize that bad beats happen to everyone, so when I dish them out, I make sure to enjoy my good luck because you know when it happens to you, your opponents are doing the same thing.
Summary of How to Deal with Bad Beats in Poker
Being able to deal with bad beats will not only help to keep you sane, but it'll make you a better player overall as well. The key to getting to this point is by understanding that variance in poker is going to happen, and as a result, sometimes you will be on the losing end of things despite getting your money in good.