Bad Beat Mythology 1,101 views

Good evening everyone. On numerous occasions people have referred to the term "bad beat" as a reason when they have lost a bet they were under the impression they were sure to win if a certain chain of events hadn't occurred.

The thought of this term ever being used within the context of sports betting, and even poker, makes me cringe. Why do people refer to these losses as "bad beats"? The explanation is very simple. People inherently need to justify why something has happened when they they have no logical reason to validate the circumstances that occurred. This is especially so if the situation did not work in their favor. The fact is, there is no such thing as a "bad beat" as it pertains to betting on sports, or in poker.

For example, a bettor wagers on the UNDER, let's say the total is set at 6.5, in an MLB game. The game is scoreless through 9 innings of play, and both teams generate some offense in the top and bottom of the 12th frame. The final score ends 4 - 3. Is this a "bad beat"?

The answer to the above example, and any other is a resounding NO! Any chain of events that occurs within the allowable time parameters set for any event, game, match, or otherwise, is part & parcel. This means that the event only ends when the allowable time parameters have expired. To reference the above example once again, those 7 runs could just have easily been scored at any point in time during the game, it just so happens they were generated in the 12th inning.

The "bad beat" myth is not only a self inflicting lie, but may also contribute to an emotional imbalance that leads to "tilt".

Enjoy your evening everyone!

I've always considered a bad beat losing a game that you have huge advantage late in the game. So what you are saying is 7 runs in the first inning is no different than 7 runs scored anytime during the game.

It's a unique perspective.

I should clarify further. The "bad beat" does not exist in reality, however, it does exist virtually if a player allows their own mind to accept it. This is up to the player to realize, and not let it cloud their own perception.
Yes and when talking about these bad beats people forget about the good beats (for lack of a better term) that's when you get a win that should have been a bad beats exist I have to disagree with you Tim there because I think there are bad beats when we lose a game we should have won...but there are also good beats where the opposite the long run they probably occur at the same's just natural for handicappers to remember the bad beats and forget all about the good beats!
Holy Shit...Timothy Wynn and PitchBlack actually getting along with each other...look out because the sky might be falling!
@PitchBlack – I agree with your personal analysis of the topic at hand.  Correct me if I am wrong, but what you are stating is the concept will inevitably work both ways.  All things being equal, the wins and losses determined in this manner produced over time should even out.  I acknowledge and absolutely agree with you on the stance you have taken.  Thank you for your valid input.

The illusion I am attempting to debunk is that “bad beats” even exist as a tangible concept.

My thoughts are more philosophical in origin as it pertains to this topic.  For me, any chain of events that occur within the allowable time parameters (i.e. – 9+ innings, 3+ periods, 4+ quarters) set for a game, event, match, etc. is part & parcel.  When a wager is placed on a sporting event, the bettor is effectively accepting that all action generated within that game will yield a favorable or negative result without questioning when result producing actions will occur.  As outlined in the initial post on this thread, it does not matter when the 7 runs were scored.  The result is the same because they were generated within the allowable time parameters set for the completion of the event, thus the term “bad beat” does not exist in reality from the standpoint that not everyone agrees.  It is the personal emotional response by a spectator when viewing the event, and they have the personal choice to either acknowledge what they witnessed as a “bad beat” or just the natural occurrences that produced the final result.   Personally, I choose the latter.

For instance, if a sports bettor is exercising “emotional detachment” to its fullest extent.  Meaning they are treating their bankroll as if it were a true traditional and long term investment.  People don’t generally review their long term investments with a bank or financial institution on a daily basis.  In this case, a sports player simply starts with a personally comfortable bankroll and inputs their wagers in a clockwork manner.  They do not spectate the events they are wagering on, and do not review any statistics other than the final result.  Would a “bad beat” ever exist?

There really is no right or wrong answer as it pertains to this philosophical subject matter, and therefore personally subjective as well.

I guess we have to agree to disagree on the subject because I do think there are bad beats and good beats...I guess what we are actually talking about is luck...there is luck in sports and sometimes we win a bet we shouldn't because of good luck and sometimes we lose a bet we should have won because of bad luck...and yes the point I am making is that if a handicapper wagers long enough luck will cancel itself out in the longrun...if you want an example of a bad beat...let's say Vegas took bets on whether a pitcher will throw a perfect game on any particular night...and someone bet that prop the day that the Tigers pitcher took the mound a couple seasons ago...I can't even remember his name...but he game within two outs of the perfect game and then on the next play the umpire (Joyce was his last name) called a player safe at first when he was clearly out...then the final two batters were reality 28 outs in a row had occurred and anyone who wagered that there would have been a perfect game would have lost their that to me is a bad beat!

Edited 9/3/15 at 12:12PM by PitchBlack - No reason listed.


I would be willing to bet that once that game entered the 9th inning, there were some sportbooks out there with an in game prop bet on whether he would get the perfect game or not...and someone that wagered money that he would get it experienced a bad beat in my opinion!

And there were two outs not one at the time of the missed call...just wanted to clarify!

Edited 9/3/15 at 12:25PM by PitchBlack - No reason listed.

I'm not sure what one would call it in MMA, but when some of my MMA picks lose due to bad judging, it sure isn't a self inflicting lie. When this happens, I always check with the 3 MMA Websites that have play-by-play Analyst and when all 5 of the independent Analyst scored the fight opposite of the Judges, I know it's not me lying to myself. I'm not talking about close fights either, rather, fights that are blatant one sided domination's and the losing fighter just happens to be fighting in his hometown/country ... but is declared the winner by the Judges. To me, this is a bad beat.

Pitchblack - What's ironic about that blown call by Jim Joyce, they both wrote a book. Not two separate books. They wrote the book together. It's funny how life is - A catastrophe can turn into a profitable result.

I like to pick horses sometimes on pickmonitor. I've seen horses get boxed in or pushed wide and I would call this a bad beat. If you are winning in the end of a game and something fluky happens, it sure feels like a bad beat.

I have to agree with your analogy. It's a term used by people who feel they were the winner and it was taken away from them. In reality, the score can change at any time during a sporting event.

I could use an analogy in poker. If there's only one card in the deck that can beat you on the river - this could be considered a bad beat. The odds are quite high in your favor.

I guess poker is poker and horse racing is horse racing and sporting events are sporting events. Anything can happen at any given time. Great topic Timothy.


I think the example used in the original post may not be the best example of what is perceived as a bad beat. I think a more appropriate example would be if a visiting team was headed into the bottom of the 9th with a 3 run lead, and with 2 outs and a 2-0 count, the home team batter hits a grand slam to win, I think most would perceive this to be a bad beat. I'm not sure if an example of a game being tied up and eventually came down to just one inning would be perceived to be a bad beat by those who would use the term.

While I perceive a bad beat as a person or team dominating play, with what would be perceived as a rare event occurring very late in the game that alters the outcome in an unfavorable way, this involves the perception of individuals. After reading the examples by PitchBlack and custom2006, their examples carry this out a little further and incorporate what is shown to be the incorrect judgment of others that negatively impact the outcome (instances when someone would say the other person or team got screwed). I'm not so sure I would consider these as bad beats as opposed to being screwed by the event judges, although the outcome is the same (screwed out of a win). Maybe their examples are truly the bad beats. I'm interested in what others think about this.

Theoretically, I would agree with TimothyWynn, what happens during regulation play is all good regardless of when it occurs during that time (this is why the games are played out in their entirety). Practically speaking, I agree with PitchBlack and custom2006. When you have a large lead all game or at the end and then suddenly rare and unexpected events happen, it isn't just a beat, psychologically it is a bad beat for that person who had already expected the win (although they should not have until the final result was known). I have been on both sides as I am sure many others have. Like PitchBlack, I accept these as balancing themselves out over the long term.

Edited 9/3/15 at 1:47PM by JaneG - No reason listed.

Thank you to those who have provided their insight on this topic. Terrific stuff! Hopefully more posters will join in on this discussion.
i think with instant replay they should give him his perfect game back. I remember that game Armando Galarraga was not the same after that call either.

what about this situation. huge scoring 1H in baskeball and everyone and everyones mom starts betting on 2H over as well. you are a contrarian and bet against the public so 2h under is the play. 3q is low scoring and your headed for a clear win. then all of a sudden the team that is down makes a comeback and ties the game at the last second on a hail mary 3 pointer. now your headed to OT and lose the under. thats not a bad beat??

Edited 7/10/16 at 3:16PM by rickybuckets - No reason listed.


Hi rickybuckets, thanks for your post. I can only speak for myself regarding this subject matter. I don't believe bad beats exist because anything that occurs within the allowable time frame from the beginning through to the end of an event is fair game IMO. Therefore any scoring at any given time, no matter when they occur, are part and parcel, and make up the final result. I would agree bad beats exist if the game was officially over, I won, but then lost because a protest overturned the final result resulting in my losing.


Rickybuckets, yes re basketball. lol. I feel this happens in basketball very frequently. This is why it's almost impossible to watch any NBA games I select. There can be 5 seconds left and a player runs full court with zero defense and lays it in to cover the spread and/or total. Or a 90% free throw shooter missing a free throw with seconds left. I agree with Pitchblack that if I really anaylzed this properly it probably happens on both sides equally.

Edited 7/12/16 at 10:44PM by labgy1009 - No reason listed.


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