How to Avoid Bad Beats
art of laying down monster hands is one of the toughest skills to learn
in poker. It doesn’t tell you in your poker books
how to avoid the bad beat. Let’s face it, if there
was a system for eliminating near-nuts beats from your game, the guy
who creates it would be unstoppable. I won’t claim
to be that guy here, but I’ll discuss some theory around how
you may be able to sniff out a monster or two.
you’re a sound player, you limit most of your starting hands
to premium hands. Big pocket pairs and two cards over
ten. Maybe you play ace suited and suited connectors as
well. A common hand would consist of you playing your big
cards aggressively and an opponent or two looking to hit a
flop. You pre-flop raise your premium hands to eliminate the
jokers. After a flop you would look to be sitting with top
pair solid kicker, or an over pair.
say you have Ah,Kd and the flop comes Ac,10s,9s. Once you bet
out your lead and get callers, you need to figure out why those
opponents called your large bet. The board shows two spades
and possible straight draw. If the turn completes any of
these possibilities – Q,K,J,8, or any spade – you
could be in trouble. It’s my opinion that many
players are too attached to suited cards and I would be more afraid of
the spade than the straight card. They must have had something in order
to have called your pre-flop raise.
turn drops a spade. Let’s say Ks. Now what do you
do? The only thing you can do in this situation is to
bet. Bet as much as you’re willing to lose in this
hand. The fact that you now have two pair is minimal, it
would only help you if your opponent had two pair, say A,10 or
A,9. If your opponent calls your bet you’re on thin
ice. If they have the flush, most will slow play it in this
situation. If you get raised it is very possible to be a
bluff, but I would still put it down. Even if my opponent
hasn’t hit the flush, all the other outs are still
there. Not to mention the possibility of trips, which they
easily could have because they called your pre-flop raise.
river is a brick and you are forced to check. Your opponent
puts in a good size bet. It’s unlikely that you
have the best hand and you should not spend any more money on this hand.
say you have the same cards, Ah,Kd. The flop comes
Ac,9s,2d. Now things are different. No flush draw
and any straight draw would mean a terrible pre-flop raise
call. 3,4 or 5,3 are unlikely. Any answered
aggression would mean you have to be up against trips, or A,9 or A,2
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side of the coin is your gut. You made pre-flop raise, an ace
hit the board and you bet it twice. If you still have an
opponent in there you should be getting that little feeling.
Spiderman was in tune with this feeling. You know the one I
mean, that feeling of when you know you’re beat.
That feeling that warns us of danger. Follow that feeling and
don’t look back. That feeling will save you more
money than any poker book.
I play a
counting system with myself. Every time I fold a big hand
because I smell doom, I count plus-one. If I talk myself into
a call and take the beat, it’s a minus-one. I know
I have to try and keep my number above zero, so it forces me to wait
for very aggressive opponents where I will find a higher percentage of