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What Is a Bad Beat in Poker?

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What Is a Bad Beat in Poker?

A bad beat is a term used in the game of poker when a player loses with his strong hand to his opponent. That opponent held weaker hand, but then made it stronger, even though the odds to that were slim.

Here is an example:
- Player A holds TT while player B holds AK.
- The flop (three first cards) comes 3-Q-J
- Player A still leads with his pair while player B has a straight draw and can also win with a pair of A or K.
- The turn (fourth card) comes 5, which helps no one and now the board is: 3-Q-J-5
- Player A still leads while player B can win the hand with only 8 cards (3 aces, 3 kings, 2 tens), which are approximately 16%.
- The river (fifth and last card) comes 10, which means player A has a three of a kind, tens, while player B made his straight and won the hand on the last card although he had only 16% to win the hand.

The common emotional reactions to a bad beat are anger, despair and disbelief. This leads the player to the state called "tilt", in which he can't stop thinking of the hand he just lost, loses concentration and starts making a series of mistakes, which result in a loss of money and in some cases of the entire bankroll. If a bad beat puts you off your game, you could always visit one of the many bingo sites available.

Professional poker player Phil Hellmuth is famous for his reactions after he suffers a bad beat. Everytime Hellmuth loses a hand to a bad beat, he gets very upset and angry, starts cursing and at times even gets up from the table and walks away, in complete disbelief of what has happened and how he could have lost that hand. He accuses the player who just won the hand for being an amateur, for playing a bad poker and for winning with luck only.

Yet, there is a positive side to a bad beat. Most of the times, the player who suffered the bad beat was the player who played his hand correctly, but lost due to bad luck. In other words, the bad beat is merely a temporary setback. If the player who suffered the bad beat continues to play his following hands the way he played the one he lost, he will win most of the times. On the other hand, the player who won the bad beat hand, while playing against his odds, will lose in most of the times.

Therefore, the player who suffered the bad beat should calm down, maybe stop playing for a hand or two to regain his focus, and keep in his mind that he was the one who played correctly. Remember that poker is a game of patience. Even though you can lose a few hands, in the long run you can win a lot more. Always remain calm, confident in your play and above all – patient!

Good luck!

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