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How to get over a bad beat

December 26, 2018

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Bad beats: they happen to everyone. Instead of costing even more of your bankroll by reacting emotionally, read our tips on how to overcome the situation and grow as a poker player.

First off, here’s what Lou Krieger had to say on the subject:

“You have it in your power to turn a bad beat around simply by realizing this simple truth: The more bad beats you encounter, the luckier you are. It’s a sign that you are playing against opponents who continually take the worst of it, and if you can’t beat someone who always takes the worst of it, you can’t beat anyone.”

“Most of the money you’ll win at poker comes not from the brilliance of your own play, but from the ineptitude of your opponents.”

Daniel Negreanu has his own take in this short, six-minute video:

We all lose hands we were expecting to win.

Negreanu recommends closing your eyes and taking three deep breaths. Try it. It certainly won’t make matters worse and could save you from doing something rash.

Dealing with the disappointment of losing chips, which represent your time and effort, is a fundamental necessity for any poker player who wishes to improve their game, whether they’re cash chips or Replay Poker play chips.

Assuming that you’re not going to give up on the spot and want to stay focused, the first priority is damage control.

  • Do not lash out at the winner, or any other entity which could have been at least partly responsible. Showing that you’re unsettled and might do something reckless in the near future just invites more pain.
  • Do not commit good money after bad. In the heat of the moment, it’s tempting to make a snap decision to try and win the chips back right away.
  • Ask yourself if your tournament life is seriously diminished, or if your ring game bank is in danger, and then make a conscious decision to prepare for life without that pot as quickly and calmly as possible.
  • If there’s time, make a note of the hand for review later. Not all of the hands that result in devastating losses are as favorable to us as we first think. It is the size of the pot, the dynamics of the game we are in, or the sub-plot between ourselves and the opponent(s) in the hand which initially strikes us, and sometimes the math is not as clear cut as we thought.

Not all bad losses are the result of our opponents’ actions or good fortune. Remember that everyone is fallible, and until we get a chance to play back the hand, it is not always clear if there were mistakes in our own approach to the hand.