Top 10 Poker Fails of All Time
Poker is undoubtedly one of the most popular table games in the world, played by millions everywhere. With such a global presence, both online and in land-based locations, some mishaps are bound to happen.
Like any other game, poker comes with its ups and downs. And even professional poker players are not perfect.
So, it’s not surprising that poker fails happen all the time, whether they come from players, online poker sites, or third parties.
Without shaming anyone, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 biggest poker fails of all time. Read on if you’re interested in learning more about this or want to prevent fails in your own poker game.
Epic Poker League Disaster
The former WSOP commissioner, Jeffrey Pollack, and a former professional poker player, Annie Duke, announced the Epic Poker League in 2011.
The tour shared some ideas with the PGA Championship, especially the idea of having both pros and amateurs on tour.
The organizers announced a whopping $1 million freeroll at the end of the season, creating a lot of buzz in a dark period for poker in the USA. What no one expected was that there was no money. The tour was announced in the summer of 2011, and Epic Poker filed for bankruptcy in February 2012.
Many poker pros who signed up to participate in the tour were understandably upset, which led to Pollack leaving the industry. Duke followed his lead shortly after.
Tom Dwan, a professional poker player using the screen name “durrrr“, started talking about the Durrrr challenge on High Stakes Poker in 2009 and attracted a lot of attention as he offered anyone who would want to play poker against him a chance to win $1.5 million. Namely, the other player would have to invest $500,000, which Dwan could win in return.
The challenge was to play over 50,000 hands. The first player to take it on, Patrik Antonius, quit after 40,000 hands and a $2 million loss. Dan “Jungleman” Cates took up the offer a year later, and things went south for Dwan. Cates was up over $1.2 million in 19,335 hands, and Dwan decided to back out. A decade has passed, and the heads-up battle has yet to resume.
Failed Drag Poker Entry
Shaun Deeb and a few other men entered the Ladies No-Limit Hold’em Championship at the WSOP in 2010.
By doing this, Deeb offended many people, especially the women participating in the tournament in the already male-dominated industry.
Once called out, Deeb claimed that he lost a bet. When that didn’t sit right with the fans and players, the mischievous player claimed that he tried to make a statement about gender equality. It didn’t come as a surprise that nobody believed him.
Professional Poker Tour Not So Professional
Poker was supposed to get a new, high-end tournament called the Professional Poker Tour.
Only players who have previously established themselves on the World Poker Tour, World Series of Poker, etc., would be allowed to participate.
Unfortunately, the tour lasted only one season.
Players were not interested in adding one more $1 million tournament to their busy schedules, leaving a low turnout. Also, only the top five finishers cashed out even though the tournament was advertised as a freeroll.
After its failure, the events became stops on the World Poker Tour the following year.
Superuser UltimateBet and Absolute Poker Scandals
If you’re unfamiliar with the term “superuser,“ it is used to describe a player who can see another player’s hole cards. Both Absolute Poker and UltimateBet sites experienced unrelated superuser scandals in 2007 and 2008, respectively.
Two investigators discovered that an account under the name “POTRIPPER” played perfect poker on Absolute Poker.
On the other hand, the superuser on UltimateBet was none other than former WSOP Main Event champ Russ Hamilton.
The scandals rocked the online poker world back then. And to make matters even more frustrating, the sites never paid back the players who Hamilton cheated out of their money and became one of the most hated figures in the game.
Mike Matusow and Brad Booth, pro poker players, were among the cheated users.
Balkin vs Baumann at WSOP 2012
When the last 50 players were left in the game at the 2012 WSOP, Aussie David Balkin went head to head with Gaelle Baumann from France.
Before the river card was even dealt, Balkin had around 75% chance of taking the pot home. He had a strong poker hand which consisted of three-of-a-kind 10s against Baumann’s flush draw and straight draw.
Baumann got the nut flush thanks to the river card, and Balkin moved all-in. Balkin took a quick look at Baumann’s cards and jumped from his seat to celebrate with his friends. Once up, he heard the words “you lost” Baumann had a flush on the river. It was a pretty devastating and embarrassing loss for the Aussie.
Black Friday Disaster
One of the worst days for poker in US history was when the US Department of Justice finally took its stand on online poker on April 11, 2011.
It indicted PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, Absolute Poker and UltimateBet.
The sites were forced out of the US market and had to pay back their users.
PokerStars was the only platform that managed to stay afloat after one of the biggest fails in US poker history. This also forced many pros to move to Canada and Mexico to continue playing, while many quit the game. The event is now known as Black Friday in the world of poker, and the industry is still feeling the repercussions a decade later.
Full Tilt Poker Black Friday Fail
Although PokerStars recovered and players received their funds back, sites like Full Tilt Poker left players hanging.
The appeal of Full Tilt Poker was being able to play online with real poker stars. So, players like Annie Duke, Chris Ferguson and Phil Ivey advertised the site, assuring players of its safety.
However, after Black Friday, the site officials went silent, leaving many of its users in the dark. No one wanted to take responsibility, and thousands of players never got their balances back.
Gus Hansen’s Biggest Loss
One of the most ‘love him/hate him’ players on the tour, Gus Hansen was the man to watch every time. He inspired many players thanks to his loose and aggressive style of play.
He was an honest player who left all of his emotions out at the table. That’s why it was difficult watching him lose it all online on Full Tilt Poker.
A player named “highstakesDB” took Hansen for $20.7 million in March 2015. Hansen admitted to having lost a few million before the mishap as well. However, Hansen managed to recover as much as he could after such a devastating loss. Hansen still plays poker to this day.
Fall of Erick Lindgren
Another Full Tilt Poker story revolves around one of the most well-respected players, Erick Lindgren. He was one of the most publicized faces on Full Tilt Poker, with numerous poker championships to his name.
However, that all went crashing down after Black Friday put a stop to Lindgren’s revenue and left him in debt.
Things only got worse once the public learned about the $4 million loan Lindgren took from Full Tilt and never paid it back. After that, many people came out accusing Lindgren of not paying his debts. It turned out that he was actually broke and not the powerhouse he was claiming to be. He ended up going to gambling rehab, leaving his facade destroyed.