7 Poker Bad Beat Stories that Would Scare Anyone

Poker Table, Hand Throwing Poker Card, Angry Man Yelling Making Fist
There may not be one true definition of what is or isn’t a bad beat, but one thing’s for sure: you never want to fall victim to one. Imagine yourself with a bunch of chips on the line and a much better hand only to lose at the last instant when your opponent just happens to get a lucky draw on the last card. It’s never fun to lose, but it’s even worse to fall from grace when by all poker logic, you should have had the winning hand.

Still, in the world of poker, there are bad beats and then there are bad beats: the ones that keep even the steeliest poker pro up at night. Not sure what that means? Well, here are seven poker bad beat stories that will strike fear in anybody.

1- Dealing to an Inside Straight

Is this a bad beat? It’s kind of a debatable and the poker purists are likely to say no. However, let’s say you get any decent starting hand (even say pocket kings) and your opponent has queen/king off-suit. Already, you are in the driver’s seat with a great starting hand while your opponent does not have anything until the flop comes when they pick up a nine and a ten. Again, your opponent cannot beat your kings (or even a pair of twos for that matter) without some help so you keep bidding aggressively.

That is, until the last card when that jack hits the table and suddenly the opponent who was sitting idle is now bidding like he has something.

When the chips are down and the other player reveals his straight, you can’t say you don’t feel hit by a bad blind. There wasn’t a lot of skill that went into that win. Mostly, it was just dumb luck that slotted the right card into their straight at the very last second. It never feels good when it happens to you and, in fact, always feels like a poker bad beat.

2- Three-of-a-kind Jacks Should Win…A Full House Should Win More, Right?

The Poker Wire’s Twitter feed has 2016 video of Romanian Cosmin Petrica playing Australia Ben Richardson. When the video starts, both men have already gone all-in preflop.

Petrica had to be feeling pretty good that his pair of jacks were going to win the day against Richard’s pocket nines.

In fact, you can see from the video that Patrica is favored more than four-to-one before the flop.

But then the flop, well, flops (at least for Patrica.)  Out comes a single jack and two nines. In most cases, Petrica would be cruising down easy street with a full house, jacks over nines. There’s only one problem: those two nines mean Richardson has quads and Petrica has a front row seat to watching a very strong hand get taken out by a freak occurrence. Hats off to Richardson for keeping the unlikely winning hand during the first round of betting and for calling the all-in. He must have thought Petrica was bluffing and could only sit and hope for a nine or two to show up. Also, kudos to Petrica who handles the fact his full house is a loser with more diplomacy than most could have managed!

3- Four-of-a-kind Doesn’t Win?

Poker News recounts the tale of R.J. Bergman at Casino Del Sol, a non-pro who found himself staring at a large pile of chips … only to lose them to a straight flush.  As the small blind, Bergman had a pair of nines. A good starting hand that only got better after the flop revealed a second pair of nines and a ten: he had four-of-a-kind, one of the best hands in the game!

Poker Cards, Flush SetThe next two cards were a ten of diamonds and then the jack of diamonds. The betting turned aggressive with Bergman sure he was going to win on the strength of his quad fours… right until one of his opponents flipped the king and queen of diamonds. With the nine, ten and jack already on the table, Bergman found his quads losing to a straight flush. Of course, if that wasn’t bad enough the other player who had stayed in had pocket tens, meaning that, unbelievably a four-of-a-kind with nines was the weakest hand of the three at the table. A bad beat poker indeed.

4- Trip Aces Makes You Feel Invincible

So it’s day 1B at the World Series of Poker. You’ve been playing for a while and all the sudden, a little bit of magic drops in your lap. The dealer sends you two cards, you surreptitiously take a peek and at each one and lo and behold… you have pocket aces. There is literally no stronger hand you can start with in the game. So, what do you? Of course, you raise. You might as well get some cash out of a hand like that, right? Right! Except sometimes even though you start strong, your opponent somehow manages to make good on pocket sevens!

In this case, Vanessa Selbst was dealt pocket aces and even flopped a third ace. Unfortunately, Gaella Baumann would flop a set of sevens and hang around until the river. Which also was a seven. At the end, Selbst, who should have been in control the whole hand called a huge raise (all the time knowing that she shouldn’t have) and lost to quad sevens. Her run at the World Series ended right after…even though she had one of the stronger hands you’re likely to see.

5- Pocket Aces Gets Flushed

Again with pocket aces! In one of the strangest hands of poker you’ll ever see, Connor Drinian and Cary Katz both started their initial betting with the best of feelings in poker: pocket aces. Neither knew the other player was holding a pair of aces and each bet accordingly.

It was only a twist of fate that let Katz secure the win, over ten million in chips, and ensure that Drinian did not cash in the World Series of Poker that year. Katz held the ace of spades and hearts, while Drinian held the ace of diamonds and clubs. Normally, that would almost always guarantee a split pot except that the flop revealed a pair of hearts (king and five) and the next two cards were also hearts. At the end of the day, Katz took the pot valued at ten million, fifty thousand chips and Drinian took his exit and, more than likely, a whole lot of antacid.

6- Second Place is the First Loser

This bad beat comes from the world of 2-7 Triple Draw, a fast game where the goal is to make the worst hand possible without creating a straight or a flush (which is 7-5-4-3-2) which is followed by (7-6-4-3-2). Starting the hand with less than a million chips, Bryce Yockey’s initial hand is that nearly-magical 7-6-4-3-2 combo. On the other hand, Josh Arieh starts with a hand you might bet post-flop in Texas Hold ‘Em. Then something magical happens. Over the course of three draws, Arieh’s hand continues to improve and improve until, on the last card he gets that magical 7-5-4-3-2 combo.

You have to watch the video to hear the awe in announcer Nick Schulman’s voice who, at first, states that Arieh could draw into the winning hand and then repeatedly has to tell the audience he was just joking and never thought he’d see Arieh put it out. By the end of it, Yockey has been eliminated from the World Series of Poker $50,000 Poker Players Championship in what Schulman refers to as one of the worst poker bad beats in televised poker history.

NOTE: Do be careful.  The language in the video gets a little NSFW.

7- Over Thirty-One Million Reasons to Love a Bad Beat

Maybe you were thinking you should always keep pocket nines. They seem to star in a lot of bad beat poker videos.

Not always.

In this 2010, Matt Jarvis and Michael Mizrachi battle over a thirty-one million dollar pot with a Main Event win on the line. In a bold move, Jarvis bets a little under thirteen million chips on his pocket nines. After a few moments’ hesitation, Mizrachi calls and shows ace/queen suited.

Jarvis has to feel like he’s made the mistake of his life when the flop produces two queens and immediately makes Mizrachi a nine-to-one favorite to win the hand. Unfortunately, for Mizrachi, there were the river and the run. The dealer puts down the turn and it’s a nine! Jarvis immediately jumps back in the lead with a full house of nines and queens.  His corner goes wild as he becomes a four-to-one favorite to take the hand.

But Mizrachi had the last laugh. Needing a little luck, the dealer drops an ace, giving him a better full house (aces and queens) than Jarvis. Jarvis goes home in eighth place and the announcers just cannot believe it.


What can be learned from these poker bad beats? Maybe it is that you should always keep pocket nines? Probably not.

Hopefully this didn’t scare you away from playing poker, either way, be sure to check out some other casino games we offer and give them your best shot!

Maybe the lesson is that bad beats happen to every poker player of every skill level in every game. If one happens to you, just roll with it and appreciate the fact you have a good story that someone’s going to write out about one day!