The poker glossary is one of the richest and most varied as far as the card game is concerned. Terms, expressions and acronyms are used to designate hands, moves and even situations that can occur during a poker game.
Anyone who enters the world of cards and wants to master it, must become familiar with all this theoretical corpus that will allow him not only to acquire a deeper knowledge of poker, but also to understand it much better.
In today’s article, we reveal the meaning of two expressions that designate poker scenarios that are quite painful for those who experience them. If you still don’t know what is bad beat poker or what cooler means in poker, we will tell you below.
What is bad beat poker?
If you’ve been playing poker for some time, you’ve probably experienced this hard beat: have you ever had a strong, clearly winning hand, but the river gave the win to your opponent? Then you have already understood a little more about bad beat meaning poker.
Few situations have unleashed as much frustration as the one experienced after suffering a bad beat. And no wonder. Imagine the following situation:
You are playing Texas Hold’em and you have J-10 of clubs as your hand pair. Your opponent has 9-3 of hearts. The flop is revealed, and Q-K-9 appears, of different suit. You have positioned yourself with a straight on the flop, while your partner has only pair of 9’s. Your chances of winning are 92.2%, compared to 7.8% for your opponent.
However, the turn and river come and reveal nothing more and nothing less than two 3’s. Your opponent, who barely had a chance of winning, has managed to hit a full house and, with it, the victory over your straight.
This is just one example of bad beats poker that you can find or suffer in your own flesh. It must be taken into account that, to speak of bad beat, it is not enough with the appearance of unlucky cards on the turn and river, but it is a failure of a clearly winning project against another that had little chance of winning.
Now that you know what is bad beat in poker, we will now address another situation very similar to this one, known as cooler poker, which leads many players to confusion with the one we have just described.
What is a cooler in poker?
Expression less known than bad beat poker, but also quite common. When defining what a cooler is in poker, it is best to use this example that defines it perfectly:
Again, you find yourself in a game of Texas Hold’em. You uncover your hole cards and you find yourself with A-Q. Your opponent, on the other hand, has started with A-K. As expected, the preflop betting is quite strong. The flop is revealed, and A-A-2 appears.
For the moment, it is your opponent who has the upper hand. The turn is revealed, and the card that gives you a full house appears: Q. But it does not end here. The river shows a K and it is finally your opponent who takes all the chips on the table.
This type of situation generates, as in the case of suffering a bad beat, a lot of helplessness in the players, even unleashing the dreaded situation of the tilt. Since we are dealing with cooler poker and you already know what is a bad beat in poker, it is a good time for you to learn what is tilt in poker.
Tilt is the term used to describe a state of anger and frustration that poker players come to experience and that results in losing control over the game and making unfavorable decisions.
How does one reach tilt in poker? In many cases after situations like the ones we have described in this post, after a bad beat or a cooler in poker. In both cases, the players who end up seeing how their chips end up in the opponent’s possession, have believed they were winners with their hole cards almost until the end, especially in the bad beat.
Despite the similarities between bad beat and cooler in poker, the truth is that we can cite some differences, such as the ones we tell you below.
Difference between bat beat and cooler in poker
If you review the examples we have given to explain what is a bad beat in poker and what is cooler poker, you will have noticed that, in the first one, there was a clearly winning hand from the preflop.
This would be the big difference between bad beat and cooler in poker. Unlike cooler in poker, a situation in which players start from a fairly strong preflop, in a bad beat poker there is a hand that has a very high chance of winning against another with a very low chance. We are talking about a percentage of 80% versus 20%.
However, in cooler poker, the intrigue is maintained, practically, until the river. Other examples of cooler poker would be losing an all-in of kings against aces or three of a kind against three of a kind.
In both cases, the players are playing perfect poker. Their bets are commensurate with the strength of their hands, but one of them is eventually beaten by a higher value hand. Unlikely, but possible, as it happened in one of the tables of one of the events of the tournament series par excellence of the poker world: WSOP.
In this case, two poker greats, Justin Phillips and Motoyuki Mabuchi, were competing for a very promising flop: A-9-Q. On the turn came a 10 and on the river an A, both diamond streets. After a very strong bet from Mabuchi, Phillips sees it, and raises. Mabuchi responds with a re-raise, answered by a call from Phillips.
The result? Mabuchi experienced a tough cooler poker, as his ace-jack lost to Justin Phillips’ royal flush.