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Poker news | Mar 02, 2024

The Worst Bad Beats in Poker History

By RTR Alex

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In the rich tapestry of poker history, there are moments etched in the annals of the game that stand out not for their brilliance or strategic prowess, but for their sheer devastation. These moments, known as bad beats, are the stuff of nightmares for poker players everywhere, where victory slips through one's fingers in the cruelest of fashions.

Let's delve into some of the most infamous bad beats to ever unfold on the felt of professional tournaments.

The Miracle at the River: Jonathan Duhamel vs. Matt Affleck

In the 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event, Jonathan Duhamel and Matt Affleck were involved in what is widely considered one of the worst bad beats in poker history. With the blinds escalating and the pressure mounting, Duhamel found himself holding pocket aces, arguably the strongest starting hand in Texas Hold'em. Affleck, on the other hand, held pocket jacks, a formidable hand but certainly no match for the aces. The chips went flying pre-flop, and Duhamel looked to be in an enviable position with a high chance of winning the hand.

However, the flop brought a jack, giving Affleck a set and leaving Duhamel with just a slim chance of recovery. The turn and river failed to improve Duhamel's hand, and in a shocking turn of events, Affleck took down the pot, eliminating Duhamel from the tournament. It was a devastating blow for Duhamel and a stunning upset for Affleck, solidifying its place as one of the most memorable bad beats in poker history.

The Unbelievable Comeback: Bryce Yockey vs. Nick Schulman

In the 2019 World Series of Poker Poker Players Championship, Bryce Yockey and Nick Schulman clashed in a hand that left spectators in awe. Yockey, holding a strong hand in 2-7 Triple Draw, was up against Schulman, who had a solid starting hand. Yockey confidently drew one card to improve his hand, while Schulman opted to stand pat, indicating he was likely holding a strong hand already. As the betting escalated, it became apparent that both players were committed to the pot. When it came time for the final draw, Yockey decided to draw one more card, hoping to complete his hand.

Miraculously, he hit the perfect card on the river, completing a perfect 2-3-4-5-7 low, the best possible hand in 2-7 Triple Draw. Schulman, who appeared to have the advantage throughout the hand, was left stunned as Yockey celebrated winning the hand and a massive pot. The hand goes down in history as one of the worst bad beats for Schulman and one of the most remarkable comebacks for Yockey.

One of the most memorable bad beats in recent poker history occurred during the 2017 World Series of Poker Main Event, featuring a showdown between Vanessa Selbst and Gaëlle Baumann.

Selbst started with pocket aces, the best hand in any poker game. As the community cards were revealed, Selbst's confidence grew with an ace appearing on the flop, giving her a set. However, Baumann, sitting with pocket sevens, saw two more appear in the flop and the river, giving her quad sevens.

Despite Selbst's strong hand, Baumann's unexpected quads put her in a commanding position. The final blow came with the river card, sealing Selbst's fate as Baumann confidently pushed all-in. Selbst, sensing the inevitable, sat with her thoughts for a few minutes. After debating whether she was up against quads or another full house, she reluctantly called all-in, only to be met with one of the worst bad beats of all time.

Bill Klein VS. Ryan Brown VS. Stuart Taylor

In the 2023 WSOP Main Event on Day 5, spectators witnessed one of the most dramatic and heart-wrenching bad beats in World Series history. The action unfolded three-handed, with Ryan Brown facing off against formidable opponents Stuart Taylor and crowd favorite Bill Klein. Brown, holding ace-queen, found himself in a precarious position as Taylor's re-shove with pocket aces was called by Klein with pocket kings.

The tension reached a fever pitch as the flop revealed a king-high board, seemingly sealing Brown's fate and propelling Klein to a commanding lead with a set of kings. With just a 2% chance of survival, Brown resigned himself to defeat, standing up and preparing to exit the arena. However, a glimmer of hope emerged when a jack on the turn increased Brown's outs to four, albeit still leaving him with just a 10% chance of hitting a ten to complete a Broadway straight.

In a stunning turn of events, Brown defied the odds as the ten appeared on the river, completing his straight and snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. As the chips were pushed in his direction, Brown resumed his seat, stunned by the improbable turn of events.