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Have you heard sports bettors or card players talk about getting a ‘bad beat’ and wondered what it meant? You probably guessed it’s not a term that implies a positive outcome, but let’s take a closer look at its origins and definition.

What’s a Bad Beat?

This phrase bad beat basically describes a situation when a bet that looks like ending in a positive outcome suddenly turns bad. That exact moment when joy turns to despair on the turn of a card, the kick of a ball or any other event that transforms a surefire winner into an unexpected defeat in an instant. It is thought that the term originated in the world of poker.

To be considered a bad beat, the downturn in luck should be related to something rare or unexpected: a turn of events so unlikely that a bet that had seemed certain to win somehow lost. When the outcome seems cruel or unfair and beyond the realms of normal gambling losses, it’s probably a bad beat.

Real Life Example of a Bad Beat

In a European Champions League soccer match between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur in 2019, the teams played two games at home and away with the overall winner going through to the semi-final. In these two-legged matches, if the scores finish all square, the team that scored the most goals away from home goes through. With 73 minutes gone in the second leg, the score was 4-3 to Manchester City on the night and 4-4 overall. As Tottenham had scored three away goals while City scored none in the first leg, the Londoners had the advantage. However, a single goal for City would have put the Sky Blues through.

As the game entered its final seconds, it seemed as if Tottenham was going through but a final attack from City resulted in the third goal for Raheem Sterling. The home crowd went wild, players and staff ran joyfully up and down the touchline, and it appeared as if the game was over. However, amongst all the mayhem, the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) officials checked if the goal was legal. As it happened, a key player was offside in the final phase of play and the score was disallowed.

This game represented a false bad beat for those who had backed Spurs and had to watch as their bet turned bad with the last kick of the game and then good again after the review; and a real bad beat for those who backed City (or Sterling to score a hat-trick) and had those few moments of joy snatched away by the VAR.

Why You Should Use OddsChecker to Limit Bad Beats

Bad beats are part and parcel of gambling and all bettors have to allow for some losses along the way. The trick is to minimize your losses by always maximizing your wins. This means seeking out the best odds available on every bet you place. This will increase your overall returns and limit the damage caused by losses. The best way to do this is by using OddsChecker’s odds comparison tool, which compares odds on a range of markets across all the major bookmakers.

Sometimes, a bet or a poker hand just loses; that’s not a bad beat. Only when it is snatched away in the most unexpected and unlikely way can it truly be described as a bad beat. And the bigger the loss, the worse the beat. Sometimes, those thrilling moments that make sports so great to watch can be the most painful for those with money at stake. As a gambler, you just have to take it on the chin and move on.


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