“The Chip Race” Poker Podcast Wants to Hear Your Bad Beat Story

  • Poker players don’t generally want to hear each other’s bad beat stories
  • “The Chip Race” will award a Unibet Open prize package for the best bad beat story
  • I have a very bad track record when I’m all-in with pocket Kings
  • My first EPT event ten years ago went well until I got cowboys
Unibet Open Bad Beat Story Contest Banner
Send us your best bad beat story and you could win a Unibet Open Bucharest prize package. [Image: “The Chip Race”]

Loser becomes a winner

Poker players swim in a sea of variance and while it’s not a requirement, most have a high tolerance for pain. They also have a low tolerance for other people’s pain. Bad beats are commonplace, but nobody ever wants to hear your bad beat story…until now. 

As my regular readers will be aware, I co-host the Unibet Poker sponsored podcast “The Chip Race” with my fellow VegasSlotsOnline News contributor Dara O’Kearney. The Unibet Open Bucharest is taking place at the end of November and we are delighted to be giving away a €2,000 ($2,117) package to the festival. 

Having mulled over a number of contest ideas, we ultimately settled on how nice it would be if we could change the ending of someone’s bad beat story, re-narrating it so that a loser became a winner. Thus, players are cordially invited to write up or create a video telling us their most excruciating tale of woe. 

In the spirit of the competition, here is a bad beat story from my personal collection.  

The Curse of the Pocket Kings

I am not in the least bit superstitious, but, like a lot of poker players, I have a funny relationship with pocket Kings. At the beginning of my professional career, when I was exclusively an online grinder, myself and my first poker friend Nick “rounder63” Carrillo seemed to bust every MTT final table with the cowboys. It was so relentless that it prompted the shorthand “GG me” every time we picked them up and shoved and the other was railing. 

I was knocked out of seven out of eight consecutive live tournaments with pocket Kings

In 2012, I started playing a little more live poker and over a stretch in the summer, I was knocked out of seven out of eight consecutive live tournaments with pocket Kings. So, like the Pavlovian dog that I was (and maybe still am), I developed this thing where every time I looked down at Kings, I immediately pictured myself five minutes later, lying on the bed of my hotel room, staring at the ceiling. 

In February 2013, I played my first EPT event having online satellited my way to a Deauville package. The home of France’s most eccentric film festival, it is an exclusive getaway destination for the rich and famous, a mock-Tudor Disney Land for aristocrats and the nouveau riche. It was therefore the most perfect and simultaneously the most ridiculous place to hold a big buy-in poker tournament series.

Just don’t bubble

I’d be lying if I said there were no nerves as I took my seat in the €5,300 ($5,611) Main Event. I had about $500,000 in online profit and $170,000 in live winnings, but I had never played anything that big. At that point in my career, my average online buy-in was $81 and my average live buy-in was less than $500. Suffice to say, this was a shot. 

Day 1 went well as I navigated and small-balled my way to an above average stack. Day 2 was a shorter day and played until close to the money bubble. I suffered one small setback early on, but thanks to the terrific structure had ample time to recover to an average stack by the close of play. Day 3 started very well as a little card rush coupled with a terrible call from Freddie Deeb helped me jump to a biggish stack with the bubble looming.

Don’t do anything mental now!”

Hand for hand took a full level, however, as short stacks refused to lose races and I was joined on the rail by my then relatively new friend Dara O’Kearney and long-suffering girlfriend Saron. With each hand taking ten minutes, I was able to go over and chat to them, receiving inspirational pearls of wisdom like: “Don’t do anything mental now!” and “Just don’t bubble!” 

Pain au chocolat strategy chats 

Fortunately, I didn’t bubble, but sitting at a stacked and aggressive table, an entire level of rags saw me slip back to 60% of the average by the time it burst. The drought continued and by the time there were 70 left, I was short. I had laddered a few rungs, but that really hadn’t been the game plan, more the residue of card death. 

With 23 big blinds, I was all-in for the first time in the tournament and got my double-up as the ladies held against the princes. From there, I navigated my way to the end of the day with two-thirds of the average and 54 left. It had been a tough few levels, but I was happy to have survived. 

Scoffing several pain au chocolats with Dara on the morning of Day 4, I made it clear that my approach was going to be different. For 3 days, I had refused marginal spots, taken lots of pot-control lines, and waited for situations where my edge was substantial. Going back with 27bbs, I signaled my intent to open tight, re-shove selectively, but look for some good cold four-bet shove spots when the dynamics and my holdings allowed it. 

Repressing visions of an elegantly corniced French ceiling

I was playing with the big boys and it was now time to make some big boy moves. In the first two orbits, I found three cool spots, reshipping King-Queen twice and cold four-bet shoving Jack-Ten suited for 27 big blinds over an active UTG open and a Jason Koon three-bet. With €770,000 ($815,161) up top, there were suddenly 40 players remaining, very few big names among them and for the first time, I entertained notions that I had a real chance of doing something special on the Côte Fleurie. 

Oh mon Dieu!”

I returned to my table after the first break and within the first orbit, looked down at two black Kings in the hijack. Repressing visions of an elegantly corniced French ceiling, I opened and was called by the small blind, the then-Winimax ambassador Aurelien Guiglini. He check-called a flop of 3-2-2 and when another 2 hit the turn, the player who was in the big blind leapt out his seat gesticulating wildly and screaming: “Oh mon Dieu!”

“Ok, so I can rule out Aurelien having a deuce,” I thought. 

In pursuit of value, I bet again, and again Aurelien made the call. The pot was 195,000 and I had 205,000 behind. The river brought a 7 and he checked again. At this point, I took a moment to consider the situation. My perception of his perception of me was that I was tight as we had played the latter levels of Day 3 together. My perception of him was that he was capable of folding a small to medium pair if my river bet appeared too much like a value-extractor. I therefore decided that my best bet would be a larger one that did a better job of polarizing me. I fired 156,000 and stared blankly down at the felt, hoping for a call. 

Getting the price for “extremely unlikely”

Twenty seconds elapsed and Aurelian announced: “All-In.” I looked up and stared at him in utter shock. This was the last thing I expected. I had 49,000 behind and the pot was 556,000. Rubbing my face, I began muttering things like: “I can’t believe you have sevens” and “This is so sick, how the fuck can you have sevens.”

I trolled through the disgusting math of the situation. I only had to be good around 8% of the time to justify the call, but how often does he shove here without 33, 77, or AA? It was possible but very unlikely that he was making a bad ultra-thin value bet with Jacks or Queens. It was possible but extremely unlikely he was bluffing. The problem was I was getting the price for “extremely unlikely.” 

I stood up and called. He showed his pocket Sevens and I was eliminated in 38th place. Five minutes later, I was lying in bed in my room in the Royal Barriere, staring at the ceiling. Those cursed Kings had gotten me again.  

One thought on ““The Chip Race” Poker Podcast Wants to Hear Your Bad Beat Story

  1. WSOP Main event 2006.. bubble time… there were 14 to go .. they played a full round of the table.. dealer stood up and they did a recount.. i was the last hand… no joy still 4 to go… another round.. just fold for 9 hands and get 20k… how hard can that be.. 8.. 7.. 6.. 5.. 4.. 3 .. 2.. o shit.. AA… i had knocked out phil ivey an hour before.. he can tell you his own bad beat story… so i was second in chips at the table.. the guy on my direct right was over whelming chip leader… we were all having a laugh for the round as he raised every hand with random chunks of chips of the top of his stack.. i remember having about 90 bigs.. its the last hand .. fold for 20k.. don’t be an idiot.. he puts the big raise in.. id say maybe 20 bigs… im laughing at the time.. then i look down at my hand.. i look at him and tell him what i have.. he doesn’t believe me.. so i show him.. then move all in.. hand over you would think. He says CALL.. for 50% of his stack and turns over 66.. the dealer is one of those that flops 1 card at a time… so here it comes.. 2… 6… i felt physically sick… then it happened.. A.. I jumped from my seat screaming.. yes .. yes. Yes.. then the turn.. 6.. o my god… after a 4 on the river I shook everones hand and walked away… still not knowing if I made the money… I actually started crying.. my heart was broken.. I did make the money …

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