CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Send to a Friend Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Related Links
Recent Articles
Best of Mark Pilarski

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

Bad beats we've all known and loved

31 January 2005

Dear Mark,
Get this for a bad beat in a Texas Hold'em tournament I recently played in. With nine players remaining I'm dealt a pair of kings in the hole. The flop comes K-3-3. Naturally I go "all in." Across from me a player was holding 6-5 suited, then matches one of the threes. Then he catches on the turn a four of hearts, then the five of hearts on the river to give him a straight flush. Out of the tournament, and out of the money (only the top eight got paid). Now that's a bad beat. Tom A.

By policy and design, Tom, I steer clear of "bad-beat" stories. I'm sharing yours because it illustrates two points. What a bad beat is, and of course, a bad beat story.

So what counts as a "bad beat"? First, the obvious: you have to lose the hand. But secondly, you lost in a spectacularly unlikely way when you were the odds-on favorite to win it. With your full house on the flop, you couldn't possibly have been expected to do anything less than go "all in," putting all your chips into the pot. The bad beat was that the other dude got amazingly lucky, and you lost in a way that seemed inconceivable until you saw it happen. Getting KO'ed from the tournament and being one slot short of prize money, well, I'd call that a Class A bad beat.

Then there is the ever-popular "bad-beat story" contest. Most gamblers, especially (but not exclusively) inexperienced players, love to compete with stories about how rotten their luck was. I've listened to countless gambling anecdotes over the years, and I'm confident I've heard or seen them all, and, Tom, they are not exclusive to the game of poker: The dealer who got a seven card 21 at blackjack; red and white 7's on the payline; the blue seven one line below on a progressive slot machine; and the dreaded back door cover in sports, where a last-second touchdown beats you on the spread. I've taken enough bad beats in sports that it finally put me in therapy.

I do realize that some readers of this column do enjoy a good bad-beat story. Heck, we've all, on occasion, lost so improbably that we feel compelled to tell the story, but, some readers would just as soon watch paint dry for four hours as to read another. I'll keep listening because it's part of my job description, but readers, if I fail to chronicle your bad-beat narrative, please don't take it personally.

Dear Mark,
Please describe the different types of straights in poker; for instance, drawing to an inside versus an outside straight. Sandy R.

A lot of people don't quite understand the difference between drawing to an "inside straight" and to an "outside straight. And yet, Sandy, it's pretty straightforward (pun intended). An inside straight is one in which an "inside" card is absent, such as the nine in this example (7, 8, 10, J), whereas an outside straight is one in which an outside card is missing, such as the six or jack in this case (7, 8, 9, 10). The latter is open-ended because it consists of four consecutive cards (none of them an ace) and can be completed at either end. Drawing to an outside straight is a cut above drawing to an inside straight, because there are eight ways to complete the outside straight and only four ways to spiff up an inside one.

Gambling quote of the week: "Many new slot machines don't even have handles, just buttons to push. Should we now call them "one-button-bandits?" Jean Scott, The Frugal Gambler

Related Links
Recent Articles
Best of Mark Pilarski
Mark Pilarski

As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.
Mark Pilarski
As a recognized authority on casino gambling, Mark Pilarski survived 18 years in the casino trenches, working for seven different casinos. Mark now writes a nationally syndicated gambling column, is a university lecturer, author, reviewer and contributing editor for numerous gaming periodicals, and is the creator of the best-selling, award-winning audiocassette series on casino gambling, Hooked on Winning.