Poker can be a cruel and unusual mistress. When everything conspires to manifest the almost-impossible at the tables, the situation can get a bit bananas. Whether it’s how a hand went down, a cooler straight from hell, a player’s reaction or something just downright bizarre occurring at the felt, there’s plenty of crazy golden moments that have secured their place in the annals of poker to be retold through the ages. Here’s a few of my favorites:
1. Filippo Candio celebrates
Whenever you celebrate making your hand from way behind, there’s always a proportionally horrified loser on the other side. Most players’ celebrations are a bit tempered out of respect. In this gem, Italian pro Candio makes a pretty bad play but the hand isn’t what we’re here for – check out his reaction when the river hits.
2.Tom Dwan, ladies and gentleman
Bluffing is an important part of poker. It’s an alluring prospect – to take what’s not rightfully yours through aggression and posturing, and to change the outcome of a hand with a well-told lie. This stand-off between Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan is nothing short of crazy. It’s the hand itself that’s nuts this time, but watching both players’ full intuition and skill bearing down on the other is a thing to behold. It all came together in this one.
3.Danny Nguyen gets there
This list wouldn’t be complete without a traditional bad beat. Nguyen is 274 to 1 to win on the flop. Yep, I’m sure you see where this one is going but if you’ve any empathy, you’re still not prepared for what goes down.
4.Haxton and Daut in a battle for the ages
This is my favourite entry on this list. Neither player lacks the courage of their conviction, and the way it plays out is a sight to behold. You can see the full board is already out when we join Haxton and Daut in this hand, and perhaps it’s better to just experience what happens next for yourself…
5.WSOP Final Hand 2005 – Joe Hachem vs Steve Dannenmann
At one point in history if you asked any punter on the street what they thought the archetype for a professional poker player was, they’d have responded with a string of long-since obsolete expletives like ‘guttersnipe’ and ‘ne’er-do-well’. A few hundred years pass and you ask the same question – in your mind, what does a professional poker player do? How do they carry themselves? Is it all stetson hats, busty girls, polished belt buckles and swimming pools filled with gold dust? I don’t think anybody would guess that two mortgage brokers would end up head-to-head in the World Series of Poker tournament final in 2005 with millions of dollars on the line. Joe Hachem, an Aussie, came away with the big win to much hooting and applause from the Vegas Crowd. Prior to competing in the tournament Hachem was a relatively unknown player outside a loyal contingent of Aussie fans cheering his every move. Hachem was short-stacked for much of the final table, and was constantly being re-raised. Fortunately for him, Hachem was rejuvenated when he went all in with Q♦ 7♦ against Dave Kanter, who had 9♦ 9♠. Hachem caught a queen on the flop and doubled his chips. At this point only three players remained in the game. By the time Hachem went heads-up against Dannenman, it only took six hands for him to win the game. In the final hand, Hachem called a pre-flop raise from 300,000 to 700,000 chips with 7♣ 3♠, one of the worst starting hands in Texas hold ’em. The flop came 6♥ 5♦ 4♦, giving Hachem a straight. When the turn brought the A♠, Dannenmann made the top pair with his starting hand of A♦ 3♣. Hachem bet, Dannenmann raised, Hachem moved all-in and was called. In the end, Dannenmann could only tie if the river brought a 7, but the 4♣ on the river ensured Hachem the win.
If you’re looking for somebody’s head to kiss for luck, this might be your Huckleberry!