It is official! We’ve found the best bad beat story of all time!

Man alone on a swing on the beach in winter

Not all bad beat stories take place at the poker table, as Gary Clarke well knows. [Image:]

Gary Clarke’s ‘Bad Beat Story’ earns him a Unibet Open Bucharest package worth €2,000

In 2013, Danish poker player Adonis Gus Hansen delivered a heartbreaking blow to Gary Clarke, but the Irishman got the last laugh today when the discerning folks at named him the winner of the Bad Beat Competition on poker podcast The Chip Race”.

he will be entertained and entertained

Clarke’s prize is a package worth €2,000 ($2,117) for the upcoming Unibet Open Bucharest, which starts on November 29th. Courtesy of Unibet Poker and The Chip Race, he will stay at the luxury Marriott Hotel, receive cash for his flights and play in the €1,100 ($1,164) Main Event, and will be joined by myself and Dara O’Kearney in the to be hosted and entertained in the Romanian capital.

That’s a really nice price, so at this point you might be wondering what hand Clarke was holding and what terrible run-out took the pot away from him. Well, this particular bad beat didn’t take place on the felt. Rather, it was in a nightclub in Galway, not far from the poker venue, where the amorous Clarke tried out a completely different variant with a lady named Sarah.

Oh, I! Oh, pain, pain forever, forever!

If poker is pain, then tournament poker is torture, piled high with unbearable agony punctuated by a rare moment of glory. Percy Bysshe Shelley said: “Ah me! Oh, pain, pain forever, forever! No change, no break, no hope! Still, I can endure it.” That’s true, but every now and then you get a reprieve. With this in mind, you as a player have three main options:

Go deaf

Developing a cold detachment from results and a tenacious resistance to results-oriented thinking is probably the best way to navigate your little ship through the tsunamis of variance you encounter in the game.

let it out

If you can’t internalize the pain, it may be best to let it go. There are different forms of catharsis. In the early years, my personal preference was to trigger an expletive-laden stream of consciousness, but you could also punch the computer screen, smash the mouse, or knock over a chair.

Learn to love it

The poker gods have a sick sense of humor. They will tease us, torture us, beat us and, worst of all, they will give us false hope. Masochism is the antidote. Learn to love the pain and you will become invincible. After all, (poker) death smiles on us all. All we can do is smile back.

From 37 to 5…

Well, it turns out there’s actually a fourth option.

Write it down as a hilarious, self-deprecating story and enter it in a “Bad Beat” contest

37 people competed in the Chip Race Bad Beat competition, announced on September 28th. Submissions included videos, Twitch clips, hand stories, short stories and a poem. The ten finalists were announced on October 14th:

From this list,’s four-person team ranked the entries and used a Eurovision Song Contest-style points system to rank them. On this week’s edition of The Lock-In (The Chip Race’s sister show with cameras), Terrance Reid, Poker.Org’s live event manager, stopped by to discuss the top five:

Coming in at number 5 was English poker player Mark Tearney’s story entitled “Stupid Hand, Stupid Game” about an unfathomable blow he took in a home game:

With the fourth biggest points rally came an incredibly funny story from Welshman Ed about the time his propeller plane broke down on the way to a poker tournament and things only got worse and more embarrassing from there:

Third place went to another video – this time by Matt Skeadas – entitled “The Dangerous Football Bet That Never Was.” Check it out to see why.

A lesson in blockers

According to Reid, there was very little difference between the two best entries, which were voted into the top two by all four judges. Reading both stories makes it very clear how difficult the decision was, as both were truly beautifully told, lushly drawn and absolutely captivating.

In the end, second place and a hastily added but very deserved runner-up prize of €250 ($265) went to “Kiplesworth” and his Joycean tale of woe about the cruelest bad beat of all, a new pair of diesel jeans, and Fluffy Mulkerin’s dog. I dare not to cry with laughter:

The winner was a work guaranteed to become part of Irish poker folklore, as Gary Clarke received a cruel, impromptu lesson on blockers from Don Juanesque Gus Hansen. With fewer scruples than he had buttons on his shirt, the Dane kidnapped the beautiful girl Sarah from the arms of the unfortunate Gary, who was left with nothing but a bad beat story. But oh, what a bad beat story.


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