What is a Bad Beat in Sports Betting?

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To Read: 4 minutes

A bad beat is like a bad dream for a player. It is something you cannot predict or control, but you should know that it can happen to anyone sooner or later. What makes it so unwelcome, and are there ways to avoid it? Discover by reading on! 

Betting Glossary: A Brief Overview of Terms

Sports betting is replete with terminology. And without understanding it, you will not be able to take a single step on a gambling platform. While pre-match and live betting are relatively easy to figure out, the specific types of bets will require some effort to grasp. 

Odds, accumulators, underdogs, futures, handicaps — these and many other concepts are part of an avid punter’s everyday vocabulary. Our glossary can help you get started on your path to understanding betting terms.

A Bad Beat: What Is It?

In sports betting, it means an unexpected, or rather jaw-dropping, development that causes your wager to lose. It is when you are dead sure your prediction is accurate, but there comes a surprising twist that flips everything upside down.   

Bad Beat Situations 

Here are a few scenarios that can fall under the concept:

  • The team is strong throughout the season, but it ends up losing in the final game.
  • The projected favorite of the tournament loses and fails to make it out of the group.
  • Everything goes as planned until one mistake or refereeing decision alters the result.
  • Doomed to be beaten, the underdogs suddenly get hold of the lead and turn the tide.

A Few Bad Beat Examples in Classic Sports 

Bad beats are more of an anomaly rather than a common occurrence. However, such situations do happen. Ardent fans of classic sports might remember the following real-life examples:

  • Man United’s grievous loss to a third-tier team in the 2013/14 Premier League.
  • Serena Williams’ nerves that failed her and led to her defeat at the 2015 US Open.
  • The shocking collapse of the US basketball team at the 2004 Summer Olympics.  
  • Sri Lanka’s remarkable zero-to-hero transformation at the 1996 Cricket World Cup.

Bad Beat in Poker

Poker is the birthplace of the term. It is used originally to describe the out-of-the-blue defeat of a player with a powerful hand of cards.

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Ways to Reduce Bad Beats 

Bad beats can result in significant losses for both athletes and bettors. Also, they cannot be avoided since much depends on pure luck and coincidence. But even though you are unable to escape it, you can always soften the blow as follows: 

  • Bet small amounts of money to minimize potential losses.
  • Place live bets to track the slightest swings during the match.
  • Utilize the cashout and bet insurance features to mitigate risks.


Wrap-up BetPawa

Surprises like bad beats are not too common in sports venues, but they do occur from time to time. They can not only make the game spell-binding but also empty punters’ wallets. To avoid the latter, you should always be on guard and use risk-reduction strategies at hand.


How often does a bad beat happen?
It is not frequent, but as a sports bettor, you should expect it to happen occasionally.
What are the requirements for winning the jackpot on a bad beat?
You must lose with a particular combination of cards set by the poker room.
What are the odds of winning the bad beat?
They are not at all high. The odds of winning such a jackpot are 1 in 2 million.