As stated by Matt Damon in the movie Rounders, “Few players recall the big pots they have won, strange as it seems, but every player can remember with remarkable accuracy the outstanding tough beats of their career”. Matt was quoting Jack King and his book, Confessions of a winning poker player, when stating this fact and the more you play poker, the more and more you will realize the truth within it.

I remember it like it was yesterday, but it was actually 6 years ago. I was 4 tournaments into the Pokerstars dream job. It was the semi-final tournament if I remember correctly and I had about 9.5 million in chips. I was sitting in a nice spot to play patient and hit the top 25(?) to get in the finals.

I’m dealt pocket kings. I can’t not play pocket kings, can I? UTG (High stack) and UTG1 call, I’m in MP1 and I 3-bet the pot, leaving some details out, UTG re-raises, I re-raise and he calls.
The flop comes with no flush draw in the works, a 3 6 and a 10, if not that exactly, close to that, UTG checks, I bet the pot, UTG re-raises, and I go all in. and he calls. When the cards turn, my heart starts pumping, I’m going to win this tournament is all I’m thinking. UTG turns over 7 4o.

To make a long story short, he chased the straight and won the pot. 9.5 mill of my chips, i was out.

There is a kicker in poker though and there is a kicker to this bad beat and the story. It wasn’t 2-3 months later, Pokerstars comes out with this commercial and its Daniel getting dealt kings, he folds them and says something like ‘sometimes you just need to know when to fold them’ I almost smashed my TV, but it's so true.

You could argue that I was overly aggressive, but I still played that hand to a T and calling those kinds of bets with 7 4 is crazy preflop play; believe me, I’ve tried. I still learned many things from the experience however and that’s the point, the bad beats are an opportunity to learn.

What did I learn? Among other things, when in a demanding chip lead, don’t play hard, play smart. Kings are still a nightmare for me and still can get me in trouble, pre or post flop and I have been known to fold them. To me, kings just aren’t worth the gamble when in a solid lead.

Pay attention to position, don’t give them away, but slow play if you can. Don’t be greedy, get to the final table.

Without a doubt, that will be the beat that I am always going to remember. Do you have a bad beat you’ll never forget? Did you learn anything from it? If so, what?

To no more bad beats =)