If you have read my book, The No B.S. Guide to Winning Online Texas Hold’em, you know that I spend quite a little bit of time dealing with bad beats and the players that accompany them in online poker. Be it Full Tilt, PokerStars, or some other site, you are going to find all manner of crazy plays and bad beats, no matter what dollar level or game you are playing at. Getting used to these things happening and dealing with them in your mind is as important a part of online poker as how you play the cards.
You have to remember, No Limit Hold’em means just that. You are ALWAYS going to have players, usually ones with very little skill who are willing to put all their chips in the pot with a variety of cards in a variety of situations. Sometimes to bluff or intimidate you, and sometimes because they are just to stupid to realize that they do not have the best hand. This is to the good, but it can also make the game very frustrating at times. All it takes is your pocket Aces to be cracked by a guy in the BB who called a raise with 2-4 off suit, hits 2-pair on the flop to end up putting you out, and you will not only be pulling your hair out, but swearing that online poker is rigged in the first place! (Trust me, it is not, and by the way, the above hand was a real hand and beat that I took in a LIVE tournament at the Venetian in Vegas. So, yes, it can happen in live play as well as online, it will just be more prevalent online.)
Why, is it more prevalent online? Because the players making bonehead plays are not sitting across from you. Nor, most likely, will you ever lay eyes on them. It is the annominity of the internet game that makes so many of these bad beats possible. Many players, especially novices at low levels, think “oh what the hell, I’ll just call and see what happens” They don’t have much skill level, sucking out with a hand is really the only shot they have to win. Sometimes they do, and it makes you want to chuck your computer out the window.
So, bottom line is, you have got to find a way to deal with bad beats. I don’t know what that is; pet the dog, take a walk, drink a beer, play with your kids, mow the lawn, whatever it takes, just DON’T sit there letting it eat at you and letting it affect your mindset. If you are not careful, soon you are playing as carelessly as the players who play against your, or just as bad, you tighten up and expect to be beat every hand to the point you are playing nothing but A-A and K-K. Either extreme is bad.
When a bad beat occurs, keep playing your game and move on to the next one. A If it is at a cash ring game, reload with some more chips and get into a hand with that idiot again. The odds say the outcome will be different. If it was a SnG, play another one, or wait to play another one depending on your mind set, but do not let it get to you and do not let it alter your game. That is one of the keys to being a successful poker player over the long haul.