Best ever All-In Moments in WSOP History

2 years ago
Best WSOP All-In Moments
17:28
02 Jul

(Photo: Cardplayer.com)

Some of the best poker drama takes place when both players go all-in and everything is on the line. The players try to keep control of their emotions as they await the revealing their fate with hundreds of thousands, or sometimes millions, of dollars on the line. These are the moments where we genuinely hold our breath and await poker history being made before of our very eyes. There is no bigger spectacle than at the World Series of Poker and many a classic all-in moment has taken place there. Let’s look at a few of the big moments now.

Here are my top three all-in moments from the WSOP.


Sammy Farha vs Oliver Hudson (2005 WSOP Main Event)

This was the first hand of that WSOP event and Farha looked down to see Ah Td. He raised to 200 chips and Hudson, son of actress Goldie Hawn and brother of Kate Hudson, re-raised to 450 chips holding pocket tens. Farha, never one to shirk a challenge, called. They went two-handed to the flop which was dealt Ac, Ad, Th giving both players full houses, but Farha had the nut full house thanks to his Ace.

With both players celebrating their good fortune but with Hudson unfortunately unaware that Farha had the stone cold nuts, the chips were quickly sent into the middle doubling up Farha and busting Hudson out of the tournament on the very first hand. As one youtuber ironically said in a comment “You know what they say: "Don't go broke with just a full house" but I would bet this hand still hurts Hudson now. Farha went on to finish in 316th place in the Main Event, cashing for $21,000. Hudson paid $10,000 for that one hand.


Johnny Chan vs Eric Seidel (1988 WSOP Main Event)

This hand proved dramatic for a number of reasons. Firstly, it was a historic moment because it cemented Chan into poker history because when he secured the 1988 Main Event, he retained the main event title he won in 1987. Secondly, ten years later, the poker movie Rounders used the hand we are discussing now as an example of perfect play by Chan. This is perhaps a little unfair on Seidel, who is also a very successful poker player as we see the same play with top pair work out well for players online all of the time.

The action went like this. Chan held Jc 9c and limped in. Seidel, holding Qc 7d was delighted when the flop was dealt Qs, Td, 8d, as he had flopped top pair. What he did not know was Chan was celebrating too with a straight. Chan bet $40,000 when Seidel checked to him and holding top pair, Seidel decided to raise Chan another $50,000. Obviously Chan called the raise. The turn was 2s and again Chan checked. This must have looked weak to Seidel and the deuce card was good for his top pair as it was unlikely to have improved Chan’s hand. Seidel went all in. Chan immediately called and stood up. The river card did not matter as Seidel’s hand was already dead and Chan was again WSOP Main Event champion.


Scotty Nguyen vs Kevin McBride (1998 WSOP Main Event)

This is arguably the most famous of all the all-in poker moments at the WSOP. It was 1998, five years before the poker boom, and Scotty Nguyen, a vietnamese immigrant who had travelled to the USA with absolutely no money and found work as a poker dealer before rising to the top of the game, was heads up against Kevin McBride with a big chip lead.

Kevin raised the pot to $100,000 and Scotty called. The flop was 9h, 9d, 8c. Scotty checked and Kevin bet $100,000. Scotty tanked and then called. The turn was the 8h. Again Scotty checked and again Kevin bet $100,000 and again Scotty called, appearing to look unsure. The river was the 8s, putting a full house on the board but a nine or an 8 in the hole for either player would make them a better hand than what was showing on the board. Scotty immediately goes all-in and stands up. After a moment or two, before Kevin acts, Scotty utters what is now an immortal line in poker. “You call it’s gonna be all over, baby”. Kevin says he plays the board and he calls. Scotty turns over Jd 9c and becomes the World Series of Poker Main Event Champion for 1998.

This amazing moment was made even more dramatic because we could not see the hole cards as the tournament took place before hole card camera technology was introduced at the poker tables.

Those are my favorite three, but I know there are plenty more dramatic moments. Post them in the comments if you think we missed a good one.


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Malcolm comes from Consett in the North East of England and is an avid poker player and writer.Read more

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