Bad beat is an expression taken from the vocabulary of poker that means a common situation where a player is in possession of a strong poker hand, facing a player with a lower value hand, and the latter wins the game with the help of one or more favorable cards.
It happens often this kind of situation in poker tournaments, especially the variant Texas Hold’em No Limit, when a player is “all-in” and the dealer turns the community cards without betting rounds. At that time, only the cards on the table determine the winner, without being able to move back or fold. Another term for a similar situation is the suckout.
This term can also refer to a situation in which a very strong hand is beaten by an even stronger hand. (four of a kind against straight flush, for example). The frequency of such a situation is obviously very low.
Bad beat is also a term used outside of the poker world, for unexpected and unfortunate events.
At the final table of a No Limit Texas Hold’em sit and go poker tournament of 27 persons:
Three players are still in game: Players A, B and C, with approximately the same number of chips, about 13,500 chips. Blinds at 400/800, 100 ante.
Player A has the button, the player B in the small blind and Player C in the big blind. The cards are dealt by the dealer. Player A goes down. Player B receives (K♥)-(K♠) as hole cards (an excellent hand, especially with 3 players), he raises to 2,500 chips. Player C call 2500 chips. The pot is now 5300 chips.
The dealer shows the flop (Q♥)-(2♦)-(4♠). Player B bet 2500 chips. Player C raises to 6500 chips. After a light reflection time, player B raises. Player C calls.
Player C shows (K♣)-(V♦). At this time Player B is well positioned to win the pot over the player C. To be exact, player B has exactly 96.46% chance to win the pot, against 3.54% chance for C. There are two player cards back by the dealer without betting round, because the two players are all in.
The turn brings (J♠). The probabilities in favor of Player B are 95.45% and player C is 4.55%.
The river provides: (J♣)
Final table: (Q♥)-(2♦)-(4♠) — (J♠) — (J♣)
Player C wins the pot with a set of jacks (Q♥)-(K♣)-(J♦)-(J♠)-(J♣) AGAINST two pair, Jacks and Kings for Player B (Q♥)-(K♥)-(K♠)-(J♠)-(J♣)
Player B is eliminated from the tournament in 3rd place.