When I lived in Ithaca, NY for three years, and had little else to do with my life except wait for my wife to finish law school so I could return to civilization, I was in a regular poker group. I love poker, but mostly, I love playing poker because it’s an opportunity to hang out and shoot the shit with a group of folks. What I never really liked that much was getting together to play poker and talking about poker, and some of the more serious players could spend hours talking about bad beats they’d had, which is kind of like talking about fantasy football with someone who is not in your league. No one cares.
At any rate, no story of theirs could or would or will ever top what has to be the worst bad beat in poker history. I watched this last night, and twice more this morning, and every time I do, my heart jumps into my throat.
Two players in a poker tournament with a $1 million buy-in are dealt pocket aces. Ninety-six percent of the time, that’s a split pot. Basically, the only way to win is if one of the players is dealt a flush, and that’s exactly what happens here. Even the guy who gets the flush and wins the hand, knocking the other guy out of the tournament, looks like he feels bad about it. I don’t know what the odds of that actually are, but there was still only a 5 percent chance after the flop, so the odds must have been astronomical pre-flop.
That’s not poker skills. That is sh*t luck.