The Worst Bad Beats in Poker History
1976 World Series of Poker
Some of the worst bad beats in the history of tournament poker have happened at the World Series of Poker, where players stand to lose the most by losing to a loose play.
In 1976 Doyle Brunson came up against Jesse Alto in a winner-takes-all battle for the Texas Hold’em main event. Alto was short stacked when he picked up an AJ. The flop brought better news for Alto when AJ turned up on the board, giving him a high pair. The other card on the flop was a 10, which gave Brunson a pair of tens.
The turn and the flop produced one of the most unlikely hands in the history of the World Series of Poker’s main event. The turn was a 2, giving Brunson a low pair, before a 10 came on the river handing Brunson a full house and $220,000 in prize money.
1979 World Series of Poker
The final hand of the main event of the 1979 World Series of Poker has to rank as one of the most agonising bad beats in the history of the event. The tournament finale saw Hal Fowler up against Johnny Moss in a heads-up battle for the tournament title.
Fowler was in the chip lead when Moss got dealt pocket aces. Moss did what any player in his position would have done, and went all-in with his Aces. Fowler then responded like a tuna-steak and called with his 7-6 unsuited.
Moss probably thought he’d doubled his stack when Fowler called on a board showing 5, 3, J. However, his joy turned to despair on the turn where the dealer showed a four, handing Fowler the win and the bracelet for the 1979 World Series of Poker.
World Poker Tour
One of the worst bad beats in the history of professional poker happened at the final table of the 2005 World Poker Tour’s Borgata Open, when Al Ardebili faced on Ricardo Festejo in the final heads-up battle. The final hand of the tournament saw Festejo dealt an A2 unsuited, while Ardebili picked up 23 diamonds.
Both players paid into the hand, which came up 2s, 7d, Ks. Festejo raised on the low pair, expecting Ardebili to fold. However, Ardebili attempted to bluff Festejo out of the game by going all in on his low pair of twos with 3 kicker.
Festejo thought about calling for several minutes, knowing that he might be up against a pair of 7s or Ks, but eventually made one of the toughest calls in the history of the tournament, going all in on his pair of 2s with Ace kicker.
Unfortunately for Festejo the turn came up with a 4, handing Ardebili a 9-1 advantage. Festejo hung around the table waiting for an Ace to come up on the river, but Ardebili’s luck held as the dealer turned over an 8, handing him the World Poker Tour title and $1,5 million in prize money.
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