Chalk up another loss at the casino last night. How? Well, we had two cards, and he had two cards, and after the five community cards showed, his were better. Sound like a bad beat? Probably not.
Let’s take a closer look at the hands. We’re playing at the £40 NLHE table where the blinds are £1 and £2. We’re in the small blind and a player from early position limps for £2. Action is folded to a middle position player who makes it £7. Action then folds to us, and we look at the Ace of Spades and the Ace of Hearts. Things couldn’t be much better, except maybe if we were playing at the £4000/£8000 table, and we were much deeper stacked, right?
So we call the $7 hoping to build the pot on the flop by firing out a bet regardless of the cards. The Big Blind throws his cards into the muck, and the early position limper does the same. So heads up, we see a flop of 8d-4h-2d.
This is an excellent flop for us, and since we’ve been at the table for a few rotations and established ourself as a pretty loose player, we fire £8 into the pot, hoping that the guy 3 seats to our right is going to be too aggressive and commit all of his chips. In our fantasy as a poker player, he does this and flips over something other than pocket 8’s, 4’s, or 2’s.
Our dream comes true as he shoves his whole stack of £65, and we waste no time in placing the £45 that we have right into to pot, and flip over the two aces. The other gentleman’s eyes roll back inside his head as he stares at the ceiling, and he sheepishly tosses over two red Queens. This is about as good as you can hope for in this particular spot. Right?
Well the turn card comes the 5d and the river card comes the Kd, and we lose. Why? Because he just made his flush and we have a lowly pair.
Without question, this is an unfortunate turn of events as we’ve just gone bust. Now £50 lighter in the wallet than what we started the hand with, and £90 lighter in the wallet than we would have been had the dealer decided that she didn’t like our shirt (why else would she deliver me such brutal news). But in no terms does this constitute having Aces cracked in this situation as a bad beat. Again, you may ask why?
Many casinos and a few online poker rooms operate a special bonus called the “Bad Beat Jackpot” whereby if someone at your table loses to a bad beat, they qualify for a special bonus amount of money. The trouble is, there are qualifiers to this Bad Beat Jackpot, and the hand that I held didn’t qualify. In most cases, a bad beat is considered to be a hand that loses that is at least a full house of 3 aces and two Jacks, or better than that. A single pair of Aces going down in battle just doesn’t come close.
We’ve all heard many stories about how players go bust on hands similar to this, and that they can’t really imagine how they got their money in good, but it ended “OH SO BAD.” But the reality is hands that are ahead just don’t always stay that way. Beats happen, but bad beats are extremely rare. In fact, so rare that many locations that offer the Bad Beat Jackpots continue to post growing figures for MONTHS before they actually occur.
So the next time you have your Aces cracked, make sure that you take a look at the community cards before you say you got a bad beat. Because if it doesn’t qualify for a jackpot, then you’re just looked at as a broke guy, albeit an unlucky one.