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Spoiler: the answer is not very 


This post will be analysing what "bad beats," in my opinion, are and are not.


Bad beats for dummies

Wat is bad beat? ? ?  A bad beat occurs when the hand with the best equity (probability of winning the pot) loses.  Usually refers to all-in spots where there is no more betting action, although it is not limited purely to those spots.  Can also refer to times when an opponent makes a bad play and gets lucky - calling down with an underpair and hitting a set on the river for example.

Now that you are fully versed in badbeatage, it's time for your diploma.


Advanced bad beat diploma

Here at bad beat university, we will teach you some important tips and ideas that will help you learn to stop worrying and love the bad beat.


Fundamental idea 1: If it can happen, it will happen.  (And has happened before, and will happen again.)

This sounds obvious, but think about it for a second.  Bad beats can only happen if there is a chance of them happening, no matter how small that chance might be.  Fundamental idea 1 doesn't mean that it will definitely happen to you on any given hand, but it will definitely happen eventually to someone - that much is certain!

Fundamental idea 2: If they're not drawing dead, go to fundamental idea 1.

You need to have 100% equity, aka a lock on the hand, to be immune from those nasty bad beats.  In real terms this is extremely rare.  Usually an opponent will have at least some backdoor equity vs your hand.  This means that most of the time you will be in danger of being bad beated.  But don't worry, everyone else faces the same danger so it's a level playing field.

Fundamental idea 3: Good players get bad beated more than bad players.

This one might not be so obvious, but it has sound logic behind it.  Good players will be making better decisions, getting their money in with better equity, and making fewer unprofitable plays.  If you consider that someone needs to either be making bad plays (chasing with incorrect price) or getting lucky (going allin with worst hand and improving) to inflict a bad beat, then you'll see that these two situations are encountered more by bad players.  Good players will be getting their money in ahead more, and in those spots by definition they can only win, or get bad beated.

*Bad players may feel they are getting bad beated/unlucky, but the difference is that the maths never lies.  If you are making correct decisions and profitable plays, your main large-pot showdown losses will be from bad beats.  If you are making bad decisions and unprofitable plays, you will be losing money from those plays and generally only winning big pots at showdown by bad beating your opponent.  


Bad beat FAQ

"My bad beat was SOOO unlikely, SICK!!!"  Please go to Fundamental idea 1.  Your bad beat may be mathematically improbable, but it was absolutely certain to happen to someone.  Sucks to be you (but you got the money in with great equity so congrats)

"My bad beat made me lose SOOO much money, SICK!!!"  Welcome to poker, and I must refer you to Fundamental idea 1.  I kinda sympathise with you, we've all been there, bad beated for what we perceive as lifechanging/yearchanging money.  But it's gonna happen.  And it's gonna happen to your opponents too.  Luck is a cruel mistress, and the variable we have no control over.  Keep playing well and getting your money in ahead.

"I keep getting bad beated. I am calm and have no emotional reaction though. LOLJK, SOOOO SICKKKK!!!!!"  Fundamental idea 3 for you, good sir.  It's not sick, it's frustrating but it's a sign you're playing well.  Or that you suck and don't realise 

"I got KK and villain had AA OMG SOOO SICK!!!" Just a cooler. You'll get the aces in that scenario on average as many times as you'll get the kings.  I bet you won't be complaining then (unless the K binks, in which case GO TO FUNDAMENTAL IDEA 1!! You know the drill by now.)



Congratulations, you now have a diploma in bad beats

See you at the river 

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