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Poker news | Nov 29, 2023

The Worst Folds in Poker History

By RTR Alex

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In the crazy world of poker, where fortunes are won and lost with the turn of a card, one decision can make you millionaire or lose an entire stack. From missed opportunities to mind-boggling mistakes, some plays have left the poker community speechless.

Today we're going to explore some of the most unforgettable moments, breaking down the details of the worst folds in poker history.

Phil Hellmuth's Triple Queens Fold

Even the legendary Phil Hellmuth is not immune to making mistakes, and his worst decision came on the biggest stage.

At the World Series of Poker (WSOP) One Drop event in 2017, Hellmuth faced off against Bertrand "Elky" Grospellier. With a $111,111 buy-in, the stakes were high but the tension was higher in this crucial hand.

Hellmuth was holding three queens, while Elky only had jack-ten off suit. After a series of raises and faced a check-raise, Elky had bluffed his way to a 1.2 million chip pot. The poker world still expected Hellmuth to play aggressively, as he usually does. But instead of calling the bet, he shocked the world, and folded the nuts.

Hellmuth was knocked out in 10th place, while Elky went on to take second and prize of $2.2 million.

Ryan Leng's Ace-5 Fold

During the 2021 Poker Player Championship, Ryan Leng found himself in a key hand with only three players left. Holding ace-5, he faced off against Dan "Jungleman" Cates, who held a king of diamonds and a queen of clubs. The tension escalated with each raise and call, leading to one critical moment.

As the game unfolded, the 9 of Hearts hit the table on the turn, creating an open-ended straight flush draw for Cates. With a top pair and more than 10 million chips, Leng bet 600,000, but Cates took it to new level, going all in for 900,000 bluff.

Despite clearly having the best hand, Leng folded at the last minute, leaving him to watch from the sidelines as Cates went on to win the bracelet.

David Fishman's Unique Approach

In the PokerStars Big Game, a televised event where amateur players had a shot at significant cash prizes against professional poker players, David Fishman took an unconventional path. Building up around $230,000, Fishman's rule was to keep anything over $100,000, already ensuring a profit of $130,000, three times his annual salary.

To safeguard his winnings, Fishman adopted an extreme strategy, literally folding everything that came in front of him, including premium hands like pocket aces and pocket kings. While this unique approach allowed him to cash in after the show, the poker community remains divided on whether Fishman left potential winnings on the table with this overly cautious style.

Mikhail Smirnov's Quad 8 Fold

In the 2012 WSOP Big One for One Drop event, Mikhail Smirnov made a move that only secured his place on this list.

Smirnov held pocket eights and landed two more on the flop and turn, creating a rare quad 8 hand. The pot jumped to $3.4 million when his opponent, CEO John Morgan, went all-in.

Morgan had been playing a tight game, and with the table hinting a potential straight flush, it was a great opportunity to bluff. So, despite holding an unbelievably strong hand, Smirnov folded face-up. But Morgan's hand remained a mystery as he never showed his cards. Smirnov only found out he had thrown away the multimillion dollar pot after the tournament had ended.

Joe Hachem's Low Straight Fold

In the 2006 World Poker Tour, Joe Hachem, a seasoned poker veteran with over $12 million in earnings, faced a critical decision. With an open-ended straight draw, Hachem faced off against the new kid on the block, Jordan Morgan. As the championship unfolded, Hachem suspected Morgan might be hiding a stronger hand after a confident series of raises.

When Morgan pushed all-in for an additional 27,000, Hachem made a surprising fold, revealing a low straight. The crowd was stunned as Hachem's fold turned out to be a regrettable laydown. The hand delivered one of the worst folds in history and a memorable bluff from Morgan, leaving spectators questioning Hachem's decision-making in that pivotal moment.