Poker’s a cruel game but if you think you have it bad spare a thought for these unfortunate souls, victims of the most expensive bad beats in poker history…
5. Ernest Wiggins v Phil Hellmuth, The Big Game
The Big Game was a fantastic TV show that pitted an amateur against a table full of pros in a high stakes cash game. In this hand Phil Hellmuth flops trip Nines and has the amateur Wiggins in all sorts of trouble with Kings.
The rest of the pros give Hellmuth a hard time for slow-rolling Wiggins and the two agree to run it four times, with each pot worth $50k. Hellmuth is a 0.05% shot to lose all four run-outs but takes the first. Then Wiggins goes on a charge, winning the remaining three pots to the delight of the rest of the table.
The chances of Hellmuth losing three out of four pots as an 85% favourite? Less than 1%.
4. Gus Hansen v Daniel Negreanu, High Stakes Poker
Luck might even itself out in the long run, but what if you get your run bad at the worst possible moment? Negreanu endured a horror show on High Stakes Poker, which left him the biggest loser after seven seasons.
It wasn’t for want of trying though and this hand should certainly have ended differently. Set-over-set in a high stakes cash game is one of the most unfortunate spots you can hit, unless you hit quads on the turn.
The case Five turned Hansen’s pocket Fives from a 4% shot into a 98% sure-shot, and a $575,700 winner, when the river bricked.
Despite tanking on the river and calling out the hands that could beat him, Negreanu couldn’t find a miracle fold.
3. Andrew Robl v Patrik Antonius, 2009 Aussie Millions Cash Game
Pot limit Omaha is a swingy game, especially when you play it like Andrew Robl and get it all-in with A♠-Q♠-Q♦-J♣ on a 4♦-A♦-7♠ flop in a $262,200 pot.
Patrik Antonius is a big favourite to win (70%) with 9♥-8♦-6♦-5♦ – giving him a full wrap and a flush draw, and he allows himself a smile and takes a small dig at Robl’s play.
The two players agree to run it four times and, improbably, Robl goes on to win all four run-outs. The chances of Robl winning all four are just 0.52%.
Antonius is a pro though and keeps his composure to quip at the end: ‘Reminds me of Sammy Farha… He used to do this to me.’
2. Olivier Busquet v Sven Reichardt, 2014 EPT Barcelona €50k High Roller
It’s the moment every poker player dreams about. On the final table of the €50k Super High Roller at the 2014 EPT Barcelona, Sven Reichardt gets his money in good with Kings against Olivier Busquet’s A♠-2♠. You’re always sweating the Ace, but the 8♥-8♣-K♣ flop leaves Busquet drawing almost dead. He needs the two remaining Aces in the deck on the turn and river, which equates to less than 1% equity. Where there’s a will there’s a way though…
Busquet survived the all-in and went on to win the tourney for €896,434, which is still his biggest single win to date.
1. Cary Katz v Connor Drinan, 2014 $1m Big One For One Drop
$1m is a huge prize for any poker player but that was just the buy-in for the 2014 WSOP Big One for ONE DROP. First prize was a whopping $15.3m, enough to propel anyone into the all-time top ten money list.
Connor Drinan was one of the lucky ones – he qualified via a $25,300 satellite. Then variance caught up with him. Katz raises with Aces and Drinan looks down at the same hand. A preflop raising war sees all the chips get in, but it’s just the prelude to a chopped pot, surely?
The poker gods have other ideas, with Katz making a runner-runner flush to leave Drinan down and out on the river in 18th position. Katz went on to min-cash for $1.3m.
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