Dealing with a Bad Beat
Nobody likes Bad Beats - they're probably the worst part of playing poker, which means that we generally try to avoid thinking about them. Unfortunately though, burying our head in the sand doesn't solve our problems. Instead, we need to accept that they're a part of the game and deal with them accordingly.
Any poker player who has been playing the game regularly will know how quickly that feeling of bewilderment sets in when the guy who has called you with a 9-4 offsuit has somehow still managed to break your cowboys by hitting two running cards to take the majority of your chips.
You've sat there shaking your head, counting through any chips that you may still have left and wondering how things could have turned round so quickly. There's a sense of anger at how you've been "cheated" out of a pot that "should have been yours." It's this feeling of injustice that needs to be put to the side as soon as possible. If it's allowed to fester, then at best, it will continue to bother you throughout the rest of the game you're playing in. At worst, it will send you on tilt, seriously threatening your profitability in the rest of the night's action.
Telling someone that they should get over a bad beat is obviously a lot easier said than done though. How DO you put that sense of injustice to the side?
Well, most people will tell you that that when you're feeling frustrated about something, then talking to someone about it will make you feel a lot better. Unfortunately, that isn't always an option when it comes to bad beats. The reason for this is that all your fellow poker players are carrying around luck stories of their own... and the last thing they want to hear is how you've been hard done by too.
Anyway, even if they wanted to listen, why would you talk to them? They're not going to help you, and you're just signaling in the clearest possible manner that you're almost on tilt. So if you can't speak to your fellow players, what's left? Well, having suffered a fair number of bad beats myself, I'm hoping the following few suggestions may help you.
1. Once the pot is over, give yourself exactly one minute to do whatever you need to do to get the anger out of your system. If you're sat in front of your computer and you want to let out a loud scream, do it. If you want to shake your fist at the screen and call your opponent every name under the sun, then that's fine too. But when that minute is up, sit back down at the table and re-focus on what's going on.
Now that's obviously not really an option if you're playing in a live card room, (unless you're looking for a hasty exit,) so instead, try pushing your chair back from the table and sit out a couple of hands. Make a trip to the bar and get yourself a glass of something. If there's a slot machine around, maybe stick a couple of coins in that. It will help to take your mind off the game and will mean that you're able to re-focus on the poker when you sit back down at the table.
2. Feel pleased with yourself. Really. Chances are that you did everything correctly. You rightly thought that you had the best hand and you pushed your chips in at the right time. Ok, so it didn't work out this time, but you couldn't have done anything better.
You may not have taken down the pot this time, but you have learned a lot of valuable information. If your opponent continues playing this way, then it's not going to be long before he pulls a similar stunt and puts all his chips at risk. You just need to make sure that you're around when he makes his next error.
3. For those of you who like to play your poker online, then check out one of the many poker rooms that offer a Bad Beat Jackpot. That way if your monster hand ends up being cracked, at least you stand to make a big pile of cash out of it. At the time of writing, the Bad Beat Jackpot at Carbon Poker stands at over $700,000 and is growing by more than $10,000 every day.
After all, can you think of a better way to get over a bad beat than picking up a check that size?