How Bad Are Bad Beats?

December 23, 2013

If you've ever been around anyone who is played poker, whether it is online or in a land-based casino, you have probably heard the expression "bad beats." These are usually associated with a very frustrating moment on the part of a player, and often it results in an angry response. Bad beats are no fun; in essence, they are defeats that happen when it appeared that victory was almost inevitable. And missing out on an opportunity to win is something that is stinging, to say the least.

Bad beats take a psychological toll on a player. The reason they are most closely associated with poker is that the poker game is one where players are pitted against each other, and, especially in a game like Texas hold them, their fortunes can turn as each succeeding card is unveiled in the flop. But poker is not the only place someone can experience a bed beat; in point of fact, it can happen in any gambling endeavor.

It certainly happens in plenty of online casino games. And we can offer up many many examples. Let's say, for instance, that you are playing a game of blackjack. You are dealt a five and a six for total of 11. The dealer has a six showing. Of course, you follow proper basic strategy play and double down. When you get your single card, it's a nine. Obviously that's pretty good, because you've now got a total of 20, and the dealer has what is known as "stiff" up card, which brings a high probability of busting.

So what happens? The dealer flips over the hole card and you'll see that there is a 10-value card underneath; perhaps it's a Queen or Jack. Now you think you're absolutely certain to win on your double down bet; in fact if you could double down yet again, you certainly would. But the hand is in over. The dealer now has to hit that 16, and – you guessed it – he draws a five. That's 21, and that beats your hand. If you are the person on the receiving end of that defeat, you can most certainly call that a bad beat.

There is almost nothing we can really tell you about how to handle bad beats if you don't have the kind of psychological makeup to bounce back after defeat. No one is ever prepared to lose in such discouraging fashion, but the simple fact is, you're going to win as many times under bizarre circumstances as you're going to lose. Once you understand this, you'll have an easier time taking bad beats in stride.

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