It’s Official! This Is the Best Bad Beat Story Ever!

  • Gary Clarke wins a €2,000 Unibet Open Bucharest prize package
  • Players can cope with bad beats by becoming numb, venting, or just learning to love them
  • The top two finalists were voted in the top two by each member of the judging panel
  • Gus Hansen handed Clarke his bad beat, but it was not at the poker table
Man alone on a swing at the beach in winter
Not all bad beat stories take place at the poker table, as Gary Clarke well knows. [Image:]

Gary Clarke’s “Bad Beat Story” wins him a €2000 Unibet Open Bucharest Package

In 2013, Danish poker Adonis Gus Hansen put a heartbreaking beat on Gary Clarke, but the Irishman got the last laugh today as the discerning people over at made him the winner of The Chip Race poker podcast’s “Bad Beat Competition.”

he will be wined and dined

Clarke’s prize is a €2,000 ($2,117) package to the upcoming Unibet Open Bucharest starting on November 29. Courtesy of Unibet Poker and The Chip Race, he will stay at the luxury Marriott hotel, he will receive money for his flights, he will play in the €1,100 ($1,164) Main Event, and he will be wined and dined by myself and Dara O’Kearney in the Romanian capital.

That’s a really nice prize, so at this point you might be wondering what hand Clarke held and what sort of horrendous run-out took the pot away from him. Well, this particular bad beat did not take place on the felt. Rather, it was in a Galway nightclub not far from the poker venue where the unlucky-in-love Clarke was trying out an altogether different line with a lady named Sarah.

Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, for ever!

If poker is pain, then tournament poker is agony piled on top of excruciating agony, punctuated by a rare moment of glory. Percy Bysshe Shelley said “Ah me! alas, pain, pain ever, for ever! No change, no pause, no hope! Yet I endure.” It’s that kind of thing, but you do get the very occasional reprieve. In the face of this, you have three main options as a player:

Become numb

Developing a cold detachment from outcomes and a hardy resistance to results-oriented thinking is probably the best way to navigate your little ship through the tsunamis of variance that you encounter in the game.

Let it out

If you cannot internalize the pain, maybe it’s best if you release it. There are various forms of catharsis. Releasing an expletive-laden stream of consciousness was my personal preference in the early years, but you could punch your computer screen, smash your mouse, or kick over a chair.

Learn to love it

The poker gods have a sick sense of humor. They will tease us, torture us, smite us and, worst of all, they will give us false hope. Masochism is the antidote. Learn to love the pain and you become invincible. After all, (Poker) Death smiles at us all. All we can do is smile back.

From 37 to 5…

Well it turns out that there is actually a fourth option.

Write it down as a hilarious self-deprecating tale and enter it in a “Bad Beat” contest

37 people entered The Chip Race Bad Beat Competition, which was announced on September 28. The submissions included videos, Twitch clips, hand histories, short stories, and a poem. On October 14, the ten finalists were announced:

From that list,’s four-person team took over, using a “Eurovision song contest” style points system to rank the entries. On this week’s edition of “The Lock-In,” (The Chip Race cameras-on sister show), Poker.Org’s Live Events Manager Terrance Reid stopped by to discuss the top five:

The person coming in 5th place was English poker player Mark Tearney’s “stupid hand, stupid game” story about an unfathomable beat that he took in a home game:

With the fourth biggest points rally came a side-splittingly funny story submitted by Welshman Ed about the time his propellor plane broke down on his way to a poker tournament and things only got worse and more embarrassing from there:

The third place finisher was another video submission – this time from Matt Skeadas – which was coined “The Hazardous football bet that never was.” Watch it to see why.

A lesson in blockers

According to Reid, there was very little between the top two entries, which were voted in the top two by all four members of the jury. It’s very clear when you read both stories how difficult the decision just have been as both really were beautifully told, sumptuously drawn, and utterly engrossing.

In the end, second place and a hastily added but very deserved runner-up prize of €250 ($265) went to “Kiplesworth” and his Joycean tale of woe involving the cruelest bad beat of the all, a new pair of Diesel jeans, and Fluffy Mulkerin’s dog. I dare you not to cry laughing at this one:

The winner was a piece of writing guaranteed to become part of Irish poker folklore as Gary Clarke received a cruel off-the-felt lesson on blockers by the Don Juanesque Gus Hansen. With fewer scruples than he had buttons in his shirt, the Dane whisked fair maiden Sarah from the arms of the hapless Gary, who was left with nothing but a bad beat story. But oh, what a bad beat story.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *