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Many poker players are aware of the horrendous bad beat suffered by Connor Drinan during the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop when his #ad#ac lost to the flush of Cary Katz, who was holding #ah#as.

The hand was shown on television during an ESPN broadcast of the tournament. A video of the sick bad beat was also uploaded to YouTube on July 29 and has gone completely viral with more than 6.4 million views as of this writing. For those who have yet to see it, click here for an entertaining three minutes and 49 seconds.

Poker misunderstood by public

While poker generally takes a backseat to other sports in terms of popularity and recognition worldwide, the massive amount of viewers does show that people are paying attention to poker. But a brief scan of the comments section in response to the video reveals that there remains a lack of education among the masses regarding the game of poker.

A poster identified as ‘POCKIEtime’ wondered, “wait…who won? lol im dumb. i dont play poker that much but who lost 1 million? the guys with the hat or the shades???”

Also requesting clarification was ‘chase morley,’ who asked fellow YouTubers, “what does chop mean? when the guy at the end told him do you still want to chop and he said not anymore.”

‘Bill Meador’ attempted to answer the question of ‘chase morley,’ but completely missed the mark. “In a cash game, there are options to split the pot if everyone still in the hand agrees to it. It is not allowed in a tournament,” he wrongly stated.

You get the main idea. Similar comments go on and on, with many centered around the belief that poker is a game of luck and not skill. They point to Drinan’s bad beat as proof that luck will win out. A sampling:

While I don’t mind watching people play poker I wish people would stop calling it a sport or saying it takes skill,” posted ‘Blake Belladonna.’ “It’s a luck-based card game which is entertaining and interesting to watch but it is NOT a skill based sport because all the training in the world can’t save you from shit luck!”

Many lawmakers also don’t understand

While such a video does wonders to promote the game of poker, it remains questionable whether it actually does more harm than good with regard to proposed legislation. Unfortunately, a lot of lawmakers seem to also be unfamiliar with the nuances of the game just like the commenters who watched the video. Many hold the erroneous belief that the amount of skill involved is minimal, if any is involved at all.

They will view the Drinan bad beat video and have no clue as to the analysis of risk and reward required by players on every single hand. They won’t grasp the fact that a hand’s value must be assessed and compared to the size of the pot, in addition to having a read on the tendencies or play of one’s opponents.

Instead, they will merely point to a hand like the bad beat experienced by Drinan and assume that poker should be lumped in with the other games of chance offered in casinos. While strides have been made in educating the public about the skill required in poker thanks to a number of rulings by judges admitting as much, there is still a long way to go as the game remains misunderstood by many.



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Charles Rettmuller

Charles has been an avid poker player for a number of years, both live and online. He holds a degree in journalism and previously worked as a reporter for a Chicago-based newspaper. Charles joined the PokerUpdate team in early 2012 and writes daily news articles for the site.