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In poker
Poker
Poker is a family of card games that share betting rules and usually hand rankings. Poker games differ in how the cards are dealt, how hands may be formed, whether the high or low hand wins the pot in a showdown , limits on bet sizes, and how many rounds of betting are allowed.In most modern poker...

, bad beat is a subjective term for a hand in which a player with what appear to be strong cards nevertheless loses. It most often occurs where one player bets the clearly stronger hand and their opponent makes a poor call that eventually "hits" and wins. There is no consensus among poker players as to what exactly constitutes a bad beat and often players will disagree about whether a particular hand was a bad beat.

Any hand that looked like a favorite to win can end up losing as more cards are dealt, but bad beats usually involve one of two scenarios:
• The player who wins on a bad beat is rewarded for mathematically unsound play. Calling a bet despite having neither the best hand nor the right pot odds
Pot odds
In poker, pot odds are the ratio of the current size of the pot to the cost of a contemplated call. Pot odds are often compared to the probability of winning a hand with a future card in order to estimate the call's expected value....

or implied odds to call, then winning anyway, is characteristic of this type of bad beat. It can also involve the inferior hand catching running cards when it requires two cards in a row to come from behind to win the pot. For example, catching cards on both the turn and the river in Texas hold 'em
Texas hold 'em
Texas Hold 'em is a variation of the standard card game of poker. The game consists of two cards being dealt face down to each player and then five community cards being placed face-up by the dealerâ€”a series of three then two additional single cards , with...

that complete a straight or flush.

• A very strong hand loses to an even stronger one. This type of beat occurs with some frequency in movies. In the films The Cincinnati Kid
The Cincinnati Kid
The Cincinnati Kid is a 1965 American drama film. It tells the story of Eric "The Kid" Stoner, a young Depression-era poker player, as he seeks to establish his reputation as the best...

and Casino Royale
Casino Royale (2006 film)
Casino Royale is the twenty-first film in the James Bond film series and the first to star Daniel Craig as fictional MI6 agent James Bond...

, The Kid and Le Chiffre
Le Chiffre
Le Chiffre is a fictional character and the main antagonist in Ian Fleming's James Bond novel Casino Royale. On screen Le Chiffre has been portrayed by Peter Lorre in the 1954 television adaptation of the novel for CBS's Climax! television series, by Orson Welles in the 1967 spoof of the novel and...

each lose with a full house to a straight flush.

These two scenarios are not mutually exclusive.

A bad beat can be a profound psychological blow, and can easily lead to a player going on tilt
Tilt (poker)
Tilt is a poker term for a state of mental or emotional confusion or frustration in which a player adopts a less than optimal strategy, usually resulting in the player becoming over-aggressive...

. Professional player Phil Hellmuth
Phil Hellmuth
Phil Hellmuth is an American professional poker player. He is best known for holding a record 11 World Series of Poker bracelets, for winning the Main Event of the 1989 World Series of Poker and for his temperamental, "poker brat" personality...

, among others, is notorious for his pronounced reactions to bad beats. However, suffering a bad beat means that the losing player was "getting the money in good" and in most instances would win by playing the same hand the same way. Thus, the more stoic
STOIC
STOIC was a variant of Forth.It started out at the MIT and Harvard Biomedical Engineering Centre in Boston, and was written in the mid 1970s by Jonathan Sachs...

poker players accept bad beats as an unpleasant but necessary drawback to a tactic that works the vast majority of the time.

In online poker
Online poker
Online poker is the game of poker played over the Internet. It has been partly responsible for a dramatic increase in the number of poker players worldwide...

rooms, bad beats often lead to accusations that the random number generator is "rigged", even though such beats also occur in offline games. Many online poker rooms post statistical data to demonstrate the randomness of the hands generated.. In online poker games players have an opportunity to play in "bad beat" tables where the player who has the best losing hand receives an accumulated prize pool. An additional amount of rake is taken from each hand to fund the jackpot. The largest online jackpot to date is \$1.2 million.

A bad beat jackpot is a prize that is paid when a sufficiently strong hand is shown down and loses to an even stronger hand held by another player. Not all poker games offer bad beat jackpots, and those that do have specific requirements for how strong a losing hand must be to qualify for the jackpot. For example, the losing hand may be required to be four-of-a-kind or better. There may be additional requirements as well. For example, in Texas hold 'em
Texas hold 'em
Texas Hold 'em is a variation of the standard card game of poker. The game consists of two cards being dealt face down to each player and then five community cards being placed face-up by the dealerâ€”a series of three then two additional single cards , with...

there is usually a requirement that both hole cards play in both the losing and winning hands, or that where a full house is the minimum (usually aces full of jacks or higher), both hole cards must be used to make the three-of-a-kind in the full house.

Bad beat jackpots are usually progressive
Progressive jackpot
A progressive jackpot is a jackpot for a gaming machine where the value of the jackpot increases a small amount for every game played...

, often with a small rake
Rake (poker)
Rake is the scaled commission fee taken by a cardroom operating a poker game. It is generally 5 to 10 percent of the pot in each poker hand, up to a predetermined maximum amount. There are also other non-percentage ways for a casino to take the rake. Some cardrooms will not take a percentage rake...

being taken out of each pot to fund the jackpot (in addition to the regular rake). When a jackpot is won, it is usually split among all players sitting at the table at the time of the bad beat with the losing hand getting the largest share, followed by the winning hand, and all the other players dividing the remainder. Generally, only the best losing hand is eligible to win the largest share, even if another hand would also qualify.

Specific rules, collections, payout percentages, and amounts vary greatly from one casino or cardroom to the next, and are sometimes changed.

The purpose of the bad beat jackpot is partly to enhance customer relations by softening the psychological blow, and also to encourage more aggressive play.

## Books

• Bad Beats and Lucky Draws by Phil Hellmuth ISBN 0060740833
• Poker: Bets, Bluffs, And Bad Beats by A. Alverez ISBN 081184627X