There are bad beats in poker. And then there’s getting brutally punched in the stomach while you’re down. I’ve experienced quite a few bad beats, both playing online poker and live tournament poker.
I’ve hit bullets and managed to get smacked out of a hand against pocket sevens when the flop dropped two more sevens to give my opponent a flop. I’ve even had four eights and saw myself rivered out of a win when my opponent notched quad tens.
It happens a lot, not just online but live too. Those two examples? They happened to me in Las Vegas on two separate trips. Thankfully, I was playing a $1/$2 cash game and I had only bought in for $200. And while I felt the sting as I left the tables, every bad beat I’ve been dealt feels like a walk in the park compared to what happened to Connor Drinan at this year’s World Series of Poker.
The Big One for One Drop is a poker tournament at the World Series of Poker that’s like no other. You might be familiar with the Main Event, which sees between 6,000 and 8,000 poker players vie for the tournament title. The buy-in for that one is $10,000. Not a small chunk of change, but nothing like Big One for One Drop, which is a $1 million buy-in tournament that attracts a much smaller field, understandably so – but comes with a much bigger first place prize.
Connor Drinan paid his $1 million fee and was dealt a seemingly unbeatable hand. He received pocket Aces – an Ace of Diamonds and an Ace of Clubs. That’s the best hand in poker and a favorite to win against every other hand in the deck…except for pocket Aces.
And that’s exactly what happened. After a series of raises and re-raises that pushed everyone else out of the hand, Cary Katz pushed Drinan all in. With bullets, calling was a no-brainer. Unfortunately, Katz also had pocket Aces – an Ace of Spades and an Ace of Hearts.
Now, normally, this wouldn’t be cause for concern. Most likely, if the Bad Beat Gods are asleep at the wheel, the worst thing that could possibly happen is a tie, with both players netting a straight to the Ace, a full house, two pair, or simply a pocket pair as their high card.
Unfortunately, the Bad Beat Gods were wide-awake. And they decided to drop 2d, Kh, 5h on the flop. That gave Katz three hearts. And all he needed were two more hearts to score a flush and use his bullets to destroy Drinan.
That’s exactly what happened. Watching the video, you can see Drinan was shocked and felt the sting. But big props to Katz who looked equally uneasy with what happened. Definitely a class act.
If there’s a lesson here, it’s that bad beats happen live just as much as they happen online. You might see way more bad beats online because you happen to be playing 20x more hands in an hour than you would live. And the other lesson? Never buy in to a tournament for $1 million. Ever.