How to Handle Bad Beats

It doesn’t matter how skilled or talented a poker player you happen to be, because even the pros can lose their cool if they get a bum hand and lose out on a lot of cash as a result. What makes the sting of such a loss even worse is that we psyche ourselves up, and a loss like this blindsides us, forcing us to swallow our pride which is not an especially attractive option for anyone. Whereas in other games skill will reign supreme and those who are the fastest, strongest etc will invariably win, poker is not quite so clear cut.

It is vital that you come to terms with this fundamental truth about poker: skill alone is not enough to allow you cruise the way to total victory. Luck will always play a big part in the final outcome of a poker game and so just because you have a good run of things for a while does not mean it will continue.

Bad beats are an unpleasant but ultimately unavoidable part of the game and just like the curveballs that life may throw our way from time to time, it is how we deal with the bad beats that make us who we are. You need to master the art of converting a bad beat into something positive and using it to get an edge over your rivals. That my dear reader, is the true mark of a poker pro.

Good players will recognise that whilst it is a kick in the teeth to lose money as a result of a bad beat, that they may have lost the battle, but they haven’t lost the war. Everyone loses, after all, if no one lost at poker how on earth could anyone hope to win in the first place? Poorly executed, rashly made EV plays are the lifeblood of this exciting game, and if it weren’t for them, well, the game sure wouldn’t be half as good as it is.

Often I find myself in the midst of poker tournaments and look around at the weaker players who have managed to win a good chunk of change (whether through dumb luck or a careful strategy) and I am grateful they have such a large pot. Why? Because I know that I can then exploit their weakness: their recklessness which is caused by their winning streak. They never know when to quit whilst they are ahead.

A truly professional and experienced poker player is not measured by one who wins tournaments and awards but rather, how he deals with the hands he is dealt. A true poker player will merely bide his time should he lose, until a reliable opportunity exposes itself allowing him to take back the money he lost and hopefully a little more. A good poker player will also focus on how their peers play and what their strategy was, rather than fussing over the chickenfeed they lost.