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Bad Beats In Poker - How To Deal With Them

Aug 18, 2007
A bad beat is one of the most frustrating things that can happen to a poker player. It can be defined as losing a hand to an opponent who held an inferior set of cards to you, but in reality, the term is generally reserved for when your opponent wins the hand despite being a big underdog statistically to do so.

The frustrating thing about bad beats, and the reason why all poker players of all levels hate them, is because they essentially level the playing field between the professional players and the amateur players, because at times luck can overcome skill.

Nevertheless it's a big factor in poker, and one of the reasons why poker is so universally popular, because in any given hand there's always a chance that a rank bad hand can win through against a strong hand, especially in the most popular form of the game, texas hold'em.

Most players will have tales about how unlucky they've been in various hands and at various times in tournaments, but it's the way players deal with these bad beats that will ultimately determine how successful they will be at the game.

Bad beats can really make a big dent in a player's bankroll, and can effect the way a player plays the game. For example, you will often see players go on tilt as a result of suffering a bad beat. They may also verbally abuse the player who inflicted the bad beat, and in some cases will go after that player and try to win their money back. All of these scenarios usually only lead to the player making further dents in their bankroll as a result of reckless play.

So you have to learn to be disciplined and control your emotions. Bad beats are a part of the game, and you just have to accept the fact that even if you are a strong favourite to win any given hand, you will still lose to the occasional bad beat.

The most important thing to remember is that if you develop a sound playing strategy and stick to this strategy throughout, then the occasional bad beat will not stop you from making good long term profits from poker. Don't make the mistake of criticising other players and chasing losses as this will only do more harm than good.

One other point worth mentioning is that if you find yourself going through a bad patch, suffering an abnormally large number of bad beats, remember that your poker play is generally sound because you're going into a lot of hands as the favourite. Therefore statistically you will win far more of these hands than you will lose in the long run.

Plus of course, there will be times when you have some good fortune yourself and inflict bad beats on other players, so they even themselves out in the long run.
About the Author
James Woolley is a regular poker player and the author of a blog containing the very latest poker tips and advice to help you become a better poker player.
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