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Getting Past Bad beats in Texas Hold’em

Written on:September 3, 2009
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A regular player of Texas Hold’em would know that some days are just not your days. One bad beat follows another and it can get quite disappointing when all your moves just don’t seem to pay off. Whether it is protecting your stack, trying to beat aggressive opponents or just getting a good hand – nothing seems to be working for you.

So, how do you manage this situation before your chip stack runs out? Well, it’s nearly impossible to control a bad beat and just as difficult to control the cards you get. However, what you can control is how you handle the situation.

Changing the Way You React

The first thing you need to understand about bad beatsĀ is that they don’t cause the actual harm. It’s how you react to them that can really destroy your game for the evening. Extreme frustration and anger only leads to bad decision-making and thus cost you your hands, your stack, your game and eventually a tournament. You have to be very careful about the manner in which you handle bad beats because a bad session could count against you in a competitive tally.

First, you need to calm down and rationalize after a particularly tough bad beat. Understand that this happens to every player of Texas Hold’em from amateur to pro. Assure yourself that you played to the best of your ability but it just didn’t turn out right. The quicker you are able to manage your anger at this stage of the game is what separates the professionals from the amateurs.

The longer you stay frustrated and faith in your game, te longer you will lose your concentration on the hand in front of you, leading to additional bad decisions. You might try and over bet the wrong hands to quickly revive your stack, or limp in with weak cards that catch a piece of the action, causing you to follow up with another bad decision to stay in the hand. Other players will pick up on your desperation, recognize the fact that you are on tilt and hammer your chip stack.

What to Do After a Bad Beat

Just after experiencing a bad beat, do the following:

  1. Reassure yourself that you played the previous hand properly and the odds were well in your favor and the next 10 times that hand comes up you would do the same thing.
  2. Maintain discipline in your game and don’t get carried away, play the next hand exactly the same way you played the previous hand.
  3. Focus on your the cards in front of you and not on your bad beat.

These may seem like difficult steps to follow when you are on tilt, but what you need to do is practice these steps after every bad beat. In the long run you will minimize your losses and make it deeper into tournaments, which is the goal of Texas Hold’em after all.

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