Poker has had its fair share of cunning, bad luck, and insane play throughout history. Some hands have gone down in poker lore, known to millions of players and fans.
Stu Ungar’s Sucking Out
In the 1981 World Series of Poker Main Event final table, young phenom Stu “The Kid” Ungar called amateur Perry Green’s huge all-in raise holding only a high draw. The flop gave Ungar the winning straight to survive. This monster suck-out hand propelled Ungar to the win and cemented the phrase “sucking out” in poker terminology.
Chris Moneymaker’s Bluff
Unknown amateur Chris Moneymaker pulled off an epic bluff against pro-Sammy Farha at the 2003 WSOP Main Event final table. All-in with nothing but King High vs. Farha’s pair of nines, Moneymaker sold the bluff with flawless acting to take the massive pot. He rode the momentum to win the bracelet in poker’s biggest Cinderella story.
“Amarillo Slim’s” Bluff of the Century
1972 WSOP Main Event winner Thomas “Amarillo Slim” Preston pulled off what is considered the greatest bluff ever versus Johnny Moss. Down to just $6k chips vs. Moss’ $90k stack late in the heads-up match, Slim went all-in on seven-high, proclaiming “I play the board” to psych out Moss. Slim won the pot to fuel his comeback.
Phil Hellmuth’s pocket aces cracked three times
In the 1989 WSOP Main Event, Phil Hellmuth had his pocket aces cracked three key times, likely costing him the win. His repeated grimaces after the brutal bad beats were caught on ESPN, creating the iconic “Poker Brat” persona. But Hellmuth rebounded to win the Main Event two years later.
Jamie Gold’s Bluff with Seven High
En route to his 2006 WSOP Main Event win, Jamie Gold pulled off an outlandish bluff holding just 7-high against Texan Prahlad Friedman’s pocket queens. Friedman folded his overpair, falling for Gold’s consummate acting job.
Daniel Negreanu Trashes Two Opponents
In a shocking 2004 WPT episode, Daniel Negreanu flawlessly read his two opponents to make an unbelievable hero call. After Negreanu’s pre-flop raise, Erick Lindgren suspiciously re-raised, with David Grey also coming along. Sensing collusion, Negreanu called all-in holding only ace high to bust both opponents.
Phil Ivey Uses Poker Tells to Fold Pocket Aces
Poker tells master Phil Ivey has folded many premium hands intuitively based on reads. But none more shocking than laying down pocket aces pre-flop after psyching out Grayson Ramage’s excited reactions with his all-in shoves. Ivey’s folds with the nuts awe audiences and validate poker as a bandarqq game of skill.
Matt Damon Bluffs Mike Matusow on TV
When newbie actor Matt Damon appeared on 2005’s Poker After Dark show, pro Mike Matusow targeted him mercilessly. But Damon got the last laugh by pulling off a huge bluff against Matusow, showboating on television to the amusement of veteran poker pros.