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Top-10 televised poker bad beats

20 February 2012

This Saturday, the Epic Poker Mix Max event final table will be broadcast by CBS. Like any other final table, it had its share of bad beats, but none were as interesting as the bad beat Joe Tehan put on Faraz Jaka and Vanessa Rousso on Day 3.

While the beat was bad, it's hardly the worst one I've seen.



There are several factors that contribute to how bad a bad beat is. One is clearly how bad a cooler it is; getting your money all-in and losing to a one-outer is tough. But the scenario is just as important, if not more. One of the things that made the hand above such a bad beat was that it occurred on a $50,920 bubble. Instead of chipping up and having a great shot at making the money, both Jaka and Rousso busted with nothing.

But there's one more factor that determines just how good (or I guess I mean bad) a beat is: how well it plays on television.

So without further ado, here are the 10 worst beats in televised poker.

10. Matusow eliminated from 2004 WSOP Main Event
Mike Matusow played his final hand in the 2004 World Series of Poker perfectly. His all-in four-bet got Greg Raymer's pocket eights out of the hand, giving himself a heads-up battle with ace-king vs. Ed Foster's ace-queen. He did everything right except fade the river queen. His 87th-place finish earned him a $20,000 payout, but Matusow was clearly crushed as he exited the tournament.

9. Jen Harman slow rolled by straight flush in 2005 WSOP
Hitting top set with pocket queens feels pretty good, until you get raised with a possible straight on board. But then, when you make a full house on the turn, you feel pretty good. Losing to a straight flush on the river, and getting slow rolled to boot? That's a bad beat.



8. Hellmuth loses three of four on The Big Game
Ernest Wiggins probably could have just taken down the pot if he had raised Phil Hellmuth's three-bet with his pocket kings, but by just calling he created a monster pot. Sure, he ended up way behind when Hellmuth hit trip nines on the flop, but when they decided to run it four times, he netted an extra $20K by improbably winning three out of four. The beat was bad enough for Hellmuth, but the pure joy shown by all the other players at the table made it even harder for the Poker Brat to take.



7. Dealer mucks player's all-in cards
Not all bad beats come as a result of an unlucky card. Some come because of a dealer mistake. Estelle Denis was feeling pretty good when she raised all-in with pocket aces at the 2009 WSOP. But then the dealer took her cards and added them to the muck. Her thoughts of doubling up were dashed when a tournament official was unable to retrieve her cards from the top of the pile of discarded cards, and while she got her raising chips back, she lost the value of the call. Denis went on to finish 203rd for $36,626, but must still be wondering what might have been.



6. Ferguson beats Cloutier with a nine on the river
With the 2000 WSOP Main Event on the line, this hand should be ranked higher in the hierarchy, but because the broadcast quality is so terrible (can you believe this is how poker was broadcast just 12 years ago?), it ends up as number six on my list.

Chris Ferguson called T.J. Cloutier's all-in bet with ace-nine, only to see he was way behind Cloutier's ace-queen. With the players holding virtually equal stacks, whoever won the hand would likely win the tournament. Ferguson spiked a nine on the river to win the hand and the tournament.



5. "BrokeLiving" goes broke
No one personifies the hard-luck role in poker better than Jean-Robert Bellande (aka @BrokeLivingJRB on Twitter), and with hands like this, it's no wonder why. After making it into the money in the 2008 WSOP Main Event, Bellande had thoughts of making a deep run. And he thought he was going to double up with his ace-queen vs. Sarkis Akopyan's 10-9. Akopyan made a head-scratching call pre-flop, which befuddled Bellande. Making the river beat even harder to take was the fact that Bellande thought he had a hammer lock on the hand on the turn until other players reminded him that Akopyan had a gutshot straight draw.



4. Paul Snead catches a bluff and is crippled
Snead had a tough decision with top pair with a weak kicker with 21 players left in the 2008 WSOP Main Event, but eventually made a hero call against Scott Montgomery's all-in bluff. The table talk and Tiffany Michelle's decision to call the clock made this hand even more gut-wrenching for Snead. While Snead didn't exit the tournament after the hand, he didn't last much longer and was the next player eliminated, claiming $257,334. Montgomery went on to finish fifth for more than $3 million.



3. Hansen's quads beat Negreanu on HSP
Daniel Negreanu thought he was going to win a big pot off Gus Hansen when he hit a set of sixes in an early season of High Stakes Poker. He felt even better about his hand when he improved to a full house on the turn. Only problem was, that boat gave Hansen quad fives. Negreanu lost nearly $300,000 cash in the hand, which was the biggest pot in High Stakes Poker history at the time.



2. Matt Affleck's aces cracked
I was in the room for this one, and I have to say, I've never heard a collective gasp as loud as the one that occurred at the end of this hand. Affleck, who was making his second-consecutive deep run at the WSOP Main Event, was cruising to the final table when he clashed with one of the few people who could bust him, Jonathan Duhamel. Affleck held pocket aces and Duhamel held jacks. Affleck played it perfectly, getting his whole stack in as a 4:1 favorite. Affleck's emotions at the end of this one were clearly understandable. Sure, he won more than a half-million dollars, but he would have been the chip leader with 14 players left. Duhamel, of course, went on to win the 2010 title.



1. Guy wearing wife-beater beats quad aces
Almost all the beats on this list are actually worse than the top one on my list, but none beats the pure entertainment value of this one. There's really just too much in this one to take. Justin Phillips (the guy in the beater) makes a royal flush and beats quad aces, flexes, hugs the dealer, then calls Ray Romano "Raymer." This one just can't be beat.


Top-10 televised poker bad beats is republished from CasinoVendors.com.
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Best of Aaron Todd
Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.

Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.