It’s the part of poker that can drive players crazy. After getting the chips in with the best of it, an opponent sucks out in gruesome fashion. Bad beats in poker seemingly reward an opponent while ripping out a player’s heart.

For those new to the game, poker bad beats are when players with inferior poker hand rankings get lucky. They somehow hit cards that transform that ugly hand into a winner.

The term can also refer to a tough run of cards where a player has a big hand up against an unlikely bigger hand (also known as a “cooler”).

How to deal with bad beats in poker?

Realise that poker is a skill game with some luck involved. But seeing some of these hands play out is a bit like rubbernecking a car wreck:

Things may look ugly, but many can’t help but look.

With that in mind, 888poker counts down some nasty bad poker beats from 2023.

(For Part 1 of this series, click here).

Did these players handle things well? That’s for you to decide.

How to deal with bad beats in poker?
How to deal with bad beats in poker?

1 – Straight Flush Over Nut Flush for $600K

Thanks to an intriguing mix of players, the Hustler Casino Live cash game stream has grown in popularity over the last few years. The game was the site of this genuinely awful run of cards for poker vlogger Andy Stacks.

The action saw three players going to the flop after seeing a four-bet with Stacks holding A4. A player named Mariano held K10♦, and Charles held 7♥8♥.

The game featured blinds of $100/$200 with a $200 big blind ante. All three players had huge stacks compared to the blind, with Stacks at around $465,000. The flop was a massive QJ9, handing Stacks the nut flush while Mariano landed a straight flush.

As Doug Polk noted in analysing the hand, Stacks was in a “nightmare scenario.”

The action unfolded with Stacks checking to let opponents bet, but Mariano and Charles also checked. The turn brought the 3♥ and Stacks checked again. This time, Mariano bet $8,000, about a third pot. Stacks then raised to $35,000.

Mariano slow-played by calling. By the time the hand was over, more than $600,000 was in the pot.

Stacks took a real punch to the gut with this bad beat – and a significant win for Mariano.

2 – Main Event Mayhem

It’s a dream for most players to final table world poker tournaments like the World Series of Poker $10,000 Main Event. Finishing one spot short of the final nine may bring a nice payout but also some real depression – especially when eliminated via the dreaded bad beat.

The 2023 Main Event saw Jose Aguilera facing a raise from Jan-Peter Jachtmann. On a short stack, the Spanish player looked down at A♠J♠ with only seven big blinds remaining. But to call would put his tournament life in jeopardy.

After deep consideration, Aguilera put in his own raise with crumbs remaining.

The flop brought 6♥45♠, and with Jachtmann holding A♥8♥, Aguilera’s dream of a final table appearance looked to at least be a possibility. Of course, that wasn’t the case, and this bad beat delivered a 7 right on the turn, giving Jachtmann a straight and dashing any hopes Aguilera might have had. An eight on the river would have made for a chopped pot, but that didn’t happen.

Aguilera finished in 10th place for $700,000 but was no doubt hoping for much more.

 Jachtmann went on to take fourth for $3 million.

3 – Monster Stack Delivers Monster Bad Beat

The 2023 WSOP was the site of another significant bad beat, this time at the final table of the $1,500 Monster Stack. Joe Cada, the 2009 WSOP Main Event winner, went for his fifth bracelet win at this final table.

The Michigan poker pro has been one of the more successful Main Event winners in the long poker term. He was in good shape after shipping in the last of his 30.1 million chips with AK.

Braxton Dunaway made the call with A♥J, giving Cada a 72% chance to win the hand and an opportunity to be in the top three chip leaders.

However, a bad beat awaited the four-time bracelet winner. The flop of 97Q looked good for Cada. A 6 on the turn card even gave him the nut flush draw.

Dunaway was dead to one of the three remaining jacks in the deck. Of course, the J♥ fell on the river – sending Cada to the rail under very inauspicious circumstances.

He looked utterly dejected as he shook opponents’ hands before exiting the tournament area.

Those chips came in handy for Dunaway as he went on to win the tournament for $1.2 million. Cada finished seventh for $186,149. The three-outer costing a player a shot at a bracelet undoubtedly hurt.

4 – Quads Make Pocket Aces Quiver

A look at bad beats wouldn’t be complete without the devastation of seeing pocket Aces getting cracked like a naked poker hand. This hand from the 2023 WSOP Main Event delivered the cooler of a lifetime for one unlucky player.

Kory Kilpatrick looked down at AA and raised the action to 2,500 chips. He received three callers, including Robert Bogo with 9♠9♥.

Unbelievably, the flop produced 9A♥9. Kilpatrick flopped a full house, but this sick, bad beat saw his opponent, land quads.

A player with pocket fives bet, and both players simply called. Eventually, Kilpatrick and Bogo got all the chips all in. And it was not a good ending for the aces full of nines.

Kilpatrick was a good sport and wished everyone good luck as Bogo raked the pot of more than 66,000.

It was a crash landing for these pocket rockets.

5 – Straight Flush Strikes Back

The action returns to the Hustler Club- one of the places where to play poker in Vegas- Live stream for this bad beat. The $10/$20/$40 cash game with a $20 big blind ante may not be the highest stakes among the hands listed here. But the result was pretty sick indeed.

With four players seeing a flop of 2♥67, a player named Nick V. picked up the nut flush draw with A2 while Peter found an inside straight flush draw with 35. Nick put out a bet of $340, but Peter raised that up to $1,400.

A player named Nate scored two pair with 76♥ and three-bet to $4,000 before Peter moved all- in.

Nick eventually sent his hand to the muck. In the end, Nate and Peter saw a turn card of 4, giving Peter the straight flush and a pot of more than $25,000.

Nick celebrated in his good fold, but it was an absolute cooler for Nate.

Nick may have avoided a bad beat by folding what would have been the nut flush.

Sean Chaffin is a poker writer who appears in numerous websites and publications. He is also the host of the True Gambling Stories podcast