Avoiding the Horrible "Bad Beat"

Any poker player can tell you horror stories of "bad beats" they have encountered while playing in poker tournaments. Every poker tournament will feature instances of bad beats and you can go to poker school and learn poker until the cows come home and sadly, you will still not be able to avoid a bad beat once in awhile. A bad beat is when a player holds an overwhelmingly winnable hand but still loses. However, there are ways to reduce your chances of suffering this crushing event, whether it is in a neighborhood friendly game or in sanctioned poker tournaments.

Bad beats occur in every type of poker game. Whether it is a basic five card draw or seven card stud, any hand has the capability of losing when victory seems imminent. Don't change your poker strategy because you have had a bad beat. A strong hand is a strong hand and for you to change the way you play in preparation for bad luck is defeating the purpose of the long hours you spent playing online poker, going to poker school and the hours invested to learn poker.

One thing that you can do to reduce the chances of experiencing bad beats is to not "slow play." Slow playing is essentially the opposite of sandbagging where you are trying to make people think you have bad cards when in reality, you are holding very good cards. Slow playing, when you are holding bad cards but trying to convince your opponents they are better than they are, keeps you in hands you have no business being in. Bad beats are easier to take when you have done everything right and just have had bad luck beat you. When you have stayed in a hand with bad cards just to have the victory snatched from you by someone with better luck at a bad hand, that's when it gets tough.

Also, know your opponent as best you can. A weak player will tip their hand in a variety of ways. Learn your opponent and you will help your chances of avoiding a bad beat.

Change your betting habits and don't always "load up." This helps you absorb those bad beats better and makes you less predictable.

While there is no way to completely avoid the terrible bad beat, you can reduce both the frequency and the pain by being a smart player.

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