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What Is A Bad Beat In Poker?

If you are an avid poker player, you must know that losing is part of the game. Even so, you are probably not immune to the frustration of getting a bad beat in poker. 

But what exactly is a bad beat, and how common are bad beats in poker? In this post, we will put all cards on the table and tell it all.

What Is A Bad Beat In Poker?

A bad beat is when your statistically strong hand is beaten by an even stronger hand, and you lose.

They are common in high-stakes games or poker tournaments. The first thing to understand about bad beats is that they are usually way more irritating than an expected loss. Imagine seeing one of the best poker hands you could possibly have, say, a pocket pair of A-A, for example. 

You would be confident that you have won the round, and then another player turns their cards, and they beat yours. That would be different if you had a hand that had a 50%-50% chance of winning.

Poker Bad Beat Example

Poker players often confuse a bad beat with losing when they have a relatively good hand. But it's more than just that. Some would even wager that bad beats, though they happen, are extremely rare. So, for example, losing on a hand with a 70% or an 80% chance of winning may not be a true bad beat.

So, to help you better understand what a bad beat is, let's look at the example below:

Say you are playing a Texas Hold 'em poker game with two other players. The first player has flopped quads, which means they have a hand with four cards that are the same. E.g. 4 queens, 4 kings, etc.

The chances of flopping quads are extremely small, but the priority will now be for the player to try and maximise what they win from their opponents. The only hands that can beat the quads are if an opponent manages to achieve four of a kind of a higher value card or if the opponent can achieve a straight flush.

So, your opponent is feeling confident with such a strong hand. However, you have cards that could give you a straight flush. A straight flush is made of five cards from the same suit in consecutive order.

You go all in. After a turn and river, your hand is a complete straight flush. All the pot comes to you, and you are declared a winner. This loss for your opponent would be considered a bad beat.

How Common Are Bad Beats In Poker?

The example given above is an extreme side of a bad beat, which is not very common. As we said, the chances of getting a flush are very slim. But bad beats can be considered relatively common on the milder spectrum of losses.

But, seasoned poker players may not necessarily consider those to be true bad beats as they are often expected. For example, if you are playing Texas Hold 'em and have a three-of-a-kind, you have a fairly strong hand. But, it can easily be beaten by several other hands, including a four-of-a-kind which your opponents may have.  

That is a typical example of a bad beat happening often. So, the answer to this may depend on what you consider a genuine bad beat. They are quite common if you think it's when you have a good hand to be beaten by an even better hand.

However, if you consider it is happening only when you have an excellent hand and are beaten by an even stronger excellent card, such as a four-of-a-kind being taken by a royal flush, then bad beats are not at all that common.

What Is A Bad Beat Jackpot?

Some casinos and online slots sites may offer a bad beat jackpot to mitigate the frustration that may come with a bad beat hand. That is a payout for the player with a bad beat hand. The casino basically pays you for losing with a strong hand.

However, there are conditions that your hand must meet before you can qualify for a bad beat jackpot. One of these includes losing with a four-of-a-kind hand of 5s or better. So, if you lost with a three-of-a-kind hand, you probably wouldn't qualify for the bad beat jackpot.

How Much Is A Bad Beat Jackpot?

There is no set amount of how much the bad beat jackpot would be. You would have to check in with your chosen casino to find the exact amount. 

Each casino may have its own rules. Some may not even offer a bad beat jackpot, so it's always best to get familiar with your chosen casino's rules.

How Do You Win The Bad Beat Jackpot

In order to win the bad beat jackpot, you first have to play poker at a casino that offers said jackpot. Then you would have to have at least a four-of-a-kind hand of 5s and still lose to a better hand.

You may also need to satisfy other or any requirements the casino may have, such as your bad beat hand and the winner's hand being a part of the hole cards. Hole cards are cards only you can see. They are dealt face down, and you do not reveal them until the showdown.

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