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Bad Beats

  There’s not much more I can say about ad Beats that hasn’t already been said.  Just keep in mind that a bad beat is a statistically improbable draw and that really is the way you want your opponents to play online poker .  Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’ve suffered more than your share of bad Beats:

  • Don’t give up your game plan.  Stick to your Basic Strategy.  Don’t abandon those qualities that make you a good player.
  • Don’t give in to the temptation to play more hands in an effort to get even quickly.  Remember, you’re playing for the long run and you should understand that bad Beats are a necessary part of the game.
  • Don’t get mad or upset.  Sometimes it seems as if the players putting the bad Beats on you don’t have the social skills necessary to stay out of a barroom brawl.  Some of them are just plain obnoxious jerks.  Don’t get emotional even though you feel like you’re being taunted.  It can only affect your game in a negative way.
  • Stay in the game for as long as you’re a favorite to win.  Time at the table is a sure cure for recovering from bad Beats.
  • Keeping that in mind, you shouldn’t pass up an opportunity to move to an even better game.  Don’t stay in a bad game just because you feel you have to beat a certain player out of a certain amount of money.
  • Take a break.  Get up when it’s your big blind and go do something else until it’s your big blind again.
  • Tighten up your pre-flop starting requirements for an hour or so.  This means you’ll be playing fewer hands than average, but you’ll have much better than average starting hands when you do play.  This will cut down your exposure to the number of bad beat possibilities.
  • Use this time to study your opponents.  Try to figure out what their starting requirements are for each position.
  • Realize that it usually takes both the turn and the river for a player to put a bad beat on you.  That means that he’ll be putting a lot of money in the pot to see the river Card Games and when he misses, which will be often, you’ll win some pretty big pot.
  • Get a seat change.  If possible, sit to the immediate left of the bad beat artist.  That way, he’ll always have to act before you.
  • Ask for a deck change or a new set up. It doesn’t necessarily change your luck but it will make you feel better and improve your attitude.
  • Last, and maybe most importantly, be willing to accept a temporary loss if you have to.  There’ll always be another game and another chance to get your money back.  It’s just not worth losing your entire bankroll in an effort to get revenge on one play poker

Playing the Rush   Fortunately, there is a flip side to bad Beats and it’s called a rush.  It’s when you can do no wrong.  Every card you touch turns to gold.  There are times when it doesn’t matter what you play or how you play it, you’ll win a big pot.  Your seat gets hot and you win nearly every hand.  even hands that you throw away would have won if you had played them to the end.  It’s a perfectly normal and expected part of the game.
  In a ten handed game each player can expect to win 10% of the hands dealt in the long run.  But that does not mean that the wins will be evenly spaced out so that the player in the one seat wins this hand, the player in the two seat wins the second hand, and so on.  You will not win every 10th hand on schedule or as a matter of right.

  Your odds of winning the next hand in a ten handed game is one in ten.  Your odds of winning the next two hands is one in one hundred (1/10 x 1/10).  Your odds of winning of next three hands is one in one thousand and the odds of winning the next four consecutive hands is one in ten thousand.  This, of course, assumes that all ten players play each hand against you, which is pretty unrealistic, even in a very loose low limit game.
  If only five players play against you, then your odds of winning one, two, three and four consecutive poker hands is 1/5, 1/25. 1/125, 1/625, respectively.  So you can see how difficult it is to maintain a rush even under the best of conditions.
  The problem comes in knowing when to stop pushing your luck when you’re on rush. There is no sure way to know but  I recommend that you go back to your regular degree of aggressiveness after you’ve lost two or three hands in a row.  If you’ve lost two hands in a row, then one of two things is true:

  • Either you’re still on the rush and your two losses don’t mean anything, or
  • Your rush is over.

Considering how difficult it is to maintain a rush, and how seldom you do get a rush, it’s easy to conclude that it’s much more likely that the rush is over.  Don’t play purely garbage hands if the only reason is to keep a rush going.  It just doesn’t win in the long run.

  Realize that it’s not necessarily folding, checking, calling, betting, or raising in itself that makes you a winner at this game.  What makes you a winner in this game is understanding why you do what you do.  Every time you have to make a decision in this game, you are trying to accomplish a particular goal.  It’s knowing what your goal is that tells you how to play the hand.  For example, if you have the nuts, then you would like to get in a check-raise to make everyone call a double bet, if possible.
  It’s not the check-raise that makes you a winner, it’s knowing that a check-raise is called for that makes you a poker winner
  Be aware that the later it gets, both in terms of how long the game has been in progress, and how late it is on the clock, the more mistakes your opponents will start to make, especially in a typical low limit game.  An expert makes his money by waiting for his opponents to get tired of playing correctly.  An expert puts his money in the pot only when he is a favorite to win the most money in the long run.  Your job is to strive to be that expert to be that expert.

Tips on Varying Your Play
  If one out of every four cards in the deck is a♥ it does not mean that every fourth card will be a♥.  Likewise, it does not mean that every thirteenth card will be an Ace or any other card you name.  You can deal five consecutive♥s off the top of the deck and you can look through half the deck and not find a single Ace.
  One-half of all five-card hands will be a pair or better, but as everyone who has played 5-card Draw knows, you can be dealt twenty consecutive hands without getting a pair or better.
  In the long run, the cards will average out.  But in the short run, anything can, and usually does, happen.  How short is the short run?  Look at it this way.  There are exactly 19,600 different three-card flops possible when you hold two cards in your hand.  You may play one hundred hands and not see a flop that you like.  But you should realize that one hundred flops out of a possible 19,600 is only 1/196th of the total flops possible.  One hundred hands may seem like a lot but it is really a small number in the larger scheme of things.
  Cards can and do run in cycles.  The theory of large numbers says so.  If you experience a period where it seems like nothing but the low cards are winning the pots, then it is a perfectly legitimate strategy change to start playing low cards.  For a while.  This would be an excellent time to vary your play so that you don’t get a reputation as strictly a high card player.  It kills your action when everyone knows exactly what kind of cards you’re probably holding.  The trick is knowing when the cycle ends and low cards should not be played anymore.  Playing low cards, such a 7♠ 6♦, 6♣ 5♣ and 6♥ 3♥ do win some pretty big pots but you cannot play then consistently if you want to be a big winner at this game.
  If you do choose to vary your play by playing a hand you ordinarily wouldn’t, here’s a few tips to keep in mind:

  1. A Raise Pre-flop

With a pre-flop raise, especially from a good player, you should consider abandoning the hand and pick another hand to vary your play.  The pre-flop raise means you are a big underdog to win the hand.

  1. Pick Your Hand

Try to choose a hand when you are in late position and there are a lot of callers already in the pot.  This gives you the best odds and you might even have a positive expectation after the flop.  An example would be if you limped in on the button with 7♦ 6♣ and the flop was A♥ 5♦ 4♣.

  1. Winning or Losing

Consider whether you are winning or losing.  If you are losing, then you probably shouldn’t risk your remaining chips on such a speculative venture.  You should be more inclined to vary your play if you’re winning and have respect at the table.  Whether you are winning or losing is also a consideration when deciding to Play passively or aggressively.  You normally don’t want to play more have more aggressively than your hand warrants if you don’t have that many chips left in the game.

  1. Ace on the Flop

Be careful if an Ace comes on the flop and it doesn’t help you, because in a low limit game it probably has helped someone else, even if everyone checks on the flop.  This is especially true if you’re in a jackpot game.

  1. If the Hand Turns Sour

Don’t be embarrassed to give it up.  Save your money for your really good hands.

  1. Disguised hand

When you do a play a hand that you’re not known for playing, you’ll have a very well disguised hand for a while.  Remember, as the pot gets bigger and bigger, it is less important that you disguise your hand and it is less important that you disguise your hand and it is more important that you maximize your profit in the hand, even it you have to play the hand in such a way that you think might be giving it away.  It’s okay.  By the time you get to the river and the pot is very big, your remaining opponents will either have the right odds to play or they won’t.  There’s nothing you can do about it except make them pay to beat you, or fold on the river and save a bet if it’s obvious the river card beat you.

  The concept of zero expectation has an important influence on your decisions to vary your play.  Since you’re going to win nothing and lose nothing in the long run anyway, you have great latitude in how you choose to play the hand.  A good example would be if you have an open-end straight draw before after the flop in which your odds of completing the hand are 2-1 and the pot odds are exactly 2-1.
  Whether you fold, check, call or raise does not matter because you have zero expectation in the long run.  If you’re winning, then you can bet and raise to take advantage of your to save your money.  If you’re losing, then you can check or fold to save your money.  And since you have zero expectation, you’re free to play the hand in a completely different way than you normally do.

  An excellent strategy would be to check-raise with the straight draw and then show everyone the hand, whether you make the straight or not.  And then the next time you check-raise, you will have sown the seeds of doubt about your hand in your opponent’s minds.  They won’t be sure of what you might have, and that, as they say, is the name of the game.
  If you are losing and thinking about changing up your play, then there is one other thing to think about.  If you have only $25 in poker chips and you have to call a $4 bet, then that $4 represents 16% of your total stake.  If you have $100 and you have to call that $4 bet, when you have $100 is not nearly as bad as losing $4 when you have only $25.  Even though the Pot Odds and the drawing odds may be the same in both instances, you should be aware that a loss is more devastating to you when you’re losing.