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The Ten: Memorable Television Bad Beats

Watch Phil Hellmuth cry, Matt Affleck painfully exit the main event, and Andrew Robl catch a miracle


This week we bring to you some of the most memorable and heart-breaking bad beats ever seen on TV. Everyone hates a suck-out story, but these hands are worthy of reliving and talking about over and over again.

1. Greg Raymer v. Aaron Kanter: Given the context, this beat Raymer took was historic. The 2004 main event champion was gunning for an astronomically improbable repeat, until Kanter put him to the test for most of his stack. Raymer didn’t budge and was right with his read, but Kanter got there on the end to cripple the defending champion.

Raymer took it about as well as possible, soon falling in 25th place.

2. Matt Affleck v. Jonathan Duhamel: This hand is not only brutal because it was for such a huge pot near the final table — Affleck had made it deep in the main event the year before and faltered. In the 2010 rendition he had a dominant stack until eventual-champion Duhamel sent him into one of the most gut-wrenching reactions ever recorded on TV.

3. Andrew Robl v. Patrik Antonius: This pot-limit Omaha cash game hand is one of the most incredible you will ever see. Robl gets all his money in with a nearly naked pair of aces, against the wrap and flush draws of Antonius. As you will see by the percentages, Antonius was a huge favorite with his draw-heavy hand. They agreed to run it four times, and the unthinkable happened.

4. Scott Montgomery v. Paul Snead: Montgomery was poised for a massive blowup near the final table of the 2009 main event, until he spiked a two-outer on the river to send Snead reeling. The Canadian’s bluff was brazen since Snead seemed pot-committed. Nonetheless, it worked, and the hand propelled Montgomery to the final table.

Notice how the play nearly worked, as Snead almost folded after Tiffany Michelle, who wasn’t in the hand, called the clock on him.

5. Jean-Robert Bellande v. Sarkis Akopyan: The best thing about this hand is that Bellande thought he had his opponent drawing dead on the turn. Shortly after other players at the table warned him that his opponent had turned a gut-shot straight draw, Bellande witnessed another heart-breaking end to a WSOP main event. He has cashed in the event three out of the past four years.

6. John D’Agostino v. Hoyt Corkins: D’Agostino cruised into the final table as a big chip leader. He took some huge blows early, but it was this one against Corkins that left him crippled. Corkins play was bizarre, shoving for a ton of big blinds with just 8-7 off suit, but managed to hit quads after D’Agostino looked him up with pocket tens.

What was even more brutal about the hand was that D’Agostino had to endure multiple chip countdowns in order to determine what he already knew — he was left with just one chip. Just to rub it in, the very next hand D’Agostino was all in for the ante and woke up with kings, but ended up losing.

7. Chris Ferguson v. T.J. Cloutier: Chris Ferguson sucked out multiple times to win the 2000 main event (including a hand against Card Player’s own Jeff Shulman), twice running down A-Q with A-9. Here is the final occurrence, a hand where Ferguson hits a nine of the river to capture the title. The suckout sent Cloutier to the rail once again just short of the main event bracelet.

8. Chris Moneymaker. v. Phil Ivey: Moneymaker flopped huge, and Ivey got lucky on the turn. However, all the money went in with Ivey as a huge favorite to win a monster pot and enter the 2003 main event final table in great shape to capture the most prestigious bracelet of the summer. Moneymaker resucked and went on to help start a boom.

9. Phil Hellmuth v. Andy Seth: This hand is relatively standard in terms of how the money went in preflop, but after the ace hit on the river, sending Hellmuth to the rail, the room witnessed perhaps one of poker’s most monumental meltdowns. Hellmuth was on the floor in tears for minutes, before eventually being called back to sign a t-shirt as part of the Bay 101’s bounty ceremony.

10. Annie Duke v. Paul Wasicka: This miracle helped propel Duke to the NBC National Heads Up Championship title in 2010. Wasicka took it with a smile.

Honorable Mentions:

Danny Nguyen v. Shandor Szentkuti: Nguyen was getting lucky all throughout the final table, but this hand takes the cake. He was under one percent to win the hand.

Joseph Cheong v. Filippo Candio: Like the Affleck hand, this was for such a huge pot so close to the November Nine. Candio called all in drawing extremely slim, but managed to hit runner-runner straight to survive. Cheong figured out a way to bounce back and finish third in the event despite the atrocious hand versus the Italian.

Phil Hellmuth v. Ernest Wiggins: Another classic Hellmuth bad-beat reaction.