Learn to Embrace Your Bad Beats

30 January 2008, Created By: Henrik Nilsson-Dahlbom
Learn to Embrace Your Bad Beats
It never ceases to amaze me how bad some people play poker online.

I'm not talking about going all-in with that second pair on the flop or with 9Ts pre-flop - oh no. That might be justified sometimes.

I'm talking about these mind-bogglingly stupid moves where you're not sure if your opponent clicked on the call button by accident or if he is just clinically brain dead. Moves where you don't think it's possible there is any kind of thought process behind them whatsoever.

Many of these probably just slip your mind because you rake in the pot and proceed to the next hand. Sometimes you might not even realize how bad your opponent played because you never checked the hand history.

But some of these situations stick in your mind - usually the ones when your opponent actually hit his miracle hand. And you're sitting there gasping for air not knowing whether to laugh or to cry.

I played a hand like that earlier this week. I was sitting at a quite loose (even by Omaha standards) five-handed $5-$5 Pot-Limit Omaha table on the Ongame network.

Phil Hellmuth
I haven't played a hand in two hours and you call me with that garbage?

Most players were seeing the flop no matter the cost, and you could say that I put myself in trouble when I limp-raised from a bad position to try and narrow the field (but I had a very strong hand):

Seat 1: Henrik ($616.25 in chips) [J A A T]

Seat 4: Player 2 ($514.75 in chips)

Seat 8: Player 3 ($396 in chips)

Seat 9: Player 4 ($508.10 in chips)

Seat 10: Player 5 ($849 in chips)

Player 4 posts blind ($5), Player 5 posts blind ($5).

Henrik calls $5, Player 2 bets $25, Player 3 calls $25, Player 4 calls $20, Player 5 folds, Henrik bets $125, Player 2 calls $105, Player 3 calls $105, Player 4 calls $105.

FLOP [board cards: 2 Q 2]
Player 4 checks, Henrik bets $155, Player 2 folds, Player 3 calls $155, Player 4 folds.

TURN [board cards: 2 Q 2 7]
Henrik bets $222, Player 3 calls $111 and is all-in.

RIVER [board cards: 2 Q 2 7 2]

Henrik shows [J A A T ]
Player 3 shows [7 K A 7]
Player 3 wins $1,054.

I'm not going to whine about my bad luck; stuff like this happens when you play a lot of poker and I love the fact many players have wishful thinking as their main asset at the poker table.

I have tried to analyze the hand, but I can't even begin to imagine what the guy was thinking (Player 3) when he called on the flop. A problem when you make a limp-raise under the gun in Omaha, as I did, is that most players "know" that you have the aces.

I probably wouldn't have done it in this situation with any AAxx hand, but AAJTs is a very strong hand and I'm prepared to commit a lot of chips even if my position is bad. Ideally I would have been able to make a larger raise, but I thought my pot bet at least would decrease the number of opponents.

I was wrong.

Well, back to the flop. 2 Q 2 is a pretty good flop (in my book) when you hold the aces in Omaha. It eliminates the risk of getting beat by two pair and the only hands I'm scared of are the ones containing a two or two queens.

With slightly over $500 in the pot I think about $150 is a good-sized bet here. Most players that haven't got me beat will fold, because there are no draws out there, and if someone calls with a hand like KKxx or Qxxx I'm still way ahead. (If I get re-raised I will have to re-evaluate the situation.)

The Spoils of War
Embrace the inept: They're the ones that make online poker profitable for the rest of us.

The aim is to pick up the pot right there or get someone to make a bad call.

Well you could say that I succeeded with the latter. What was Player 3 thinking?? My guess is he wasn't. He holds an underpair on a paired board. And if his opponent holds aces or better he has a very slim chance of winning.

His call pre-flop with 7 K A 7 is questionable to say the least, but that's Omaha; Many players will play any hand no matter the cost. I guess the attitude is anything can happen when you hold four cards.

But most players at least have the sense to release their hands on the flop when they miss. Well, as long as you have outs... right?

And this is what makes poker so wonderful. Anything can happen, and if a player that is ready to risk his whole stack on an underpair on a paired board didn't occasionally hit his two-outer, the game wouldn't be as juicy as it is.

So embrace the opponents that play like they are blindfolded. Don't curse them out in the chat when they hit their miracle hand (as I used to do). They're the ones that make online poker profitable for the rest of us.

Or at least I keep telling myself that when I stare in disbelief at the screen, not knowing whether to laugh or to cry.





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