Craziest Hands Of The 2016 WSOP Main Event

4 years ago
Craziest Hands Of The 2016 WSOP
22 Jul


Are you fed up with the coolers you constantly take while playing online poker? Do you believe online poker is rigged just because hands run so high when showdown is reached? Have you ever considered folding quads? Or laying down flushes? No, you say? Then you better take a breather from your grind, start reading this unique PokerTube article and see how the players - both pros and recreationals - do it on the live green felt.

And who knows, maybe next time you open your favorite poker room or go to your nearby casino, you will too go deep into the tank and start thinking about actually making epic folds. Because it happened ladies and gents at this year’s World Series of Poker Main Event: from flopped royal flushes to countless quads and losing top boats. And yes, even a notorious fold that will go down in history as the most controversial ever.

Shuffle Up and Deal!

9. Phil Ivey’s Rookie Mistake

Before going through the actual crazy hands though, let’s warm up with a funny moment that happened on Day 1C, nine days ago. We all know poker legend Phil Ivey decided to show up for the WSOP Main Event and try to reach the November Nine. Before hitting the tables, he told PokerNews he hadn’t played tournaments for quite some time and that he was ‘a little rusty.’

Well guess what? We don’t quite know what games he and his buddy Tom Dwanplay in Macau, but he seemed to be quite rusty at Holdem in general during the $10,000 event. At one point on Day 1C, he was short-stacked and moved all-in with King-four suited. One opponent had pocket nines and called. The board showed two tens and three fives and Ivey was quite ready to hit the rail not noticing it was actually a split pot.

Yes, Ivey had threes full of tens just like his opponent - the nines didn’t help him in any way. It was the dealer who pointed that out to Ivey and the legend could only say: ‘Oh!’ before sitting back on his seat comfortably.

Definitely a rookie mistake, Phil. Six Plus Holdem anyone?

8. Pocket Aces Are Junk

During the Main Event, poker lady standout Liv Boeree tweeted an interesting note to self stating that the players can’t quite fold Aces ‘no matter the action and however many draws complete.’

Unfortunately, Australian former cricketer Shane Warne didn’t see the tweet in a timely manner and busted out of the tourney because of those cursed bullets.

According to Warne’s Twitter account, he got dealt the best hand preflop in Holdem twice in a row and both cracked. Once, two pairs - Kings and Queens beat him at showdown - and the second time a lower pair - sixes - picked up great equity on the flop as another six crept in. We don’t know any other details - the action, the actual texture of the board - but we do know Warne lamented on Twitter. He even went on and questioned poker’s label as ‘a game of skill’ and wondered if another player have experienced something similar in the recent history of the WSOP Main Event. Well, we don’t have the actual facts but we’re pretty sure this has happened before. Even though this is the best hand preflop, Aces can be quite a pain in the ‘arse’ especially if you don’t play poker that often. Sorry, Shane.

7. Quads Galore And One Hero Fold

Showing quads at the WSOP Main Event isn’t that extraordinary anymore as hundreds of card decks are shuffled per minute especially in the early stages of the tourney.

This summer’s top event in Las Vegas made no exception and many sightings of the third-best hand in Holdem have been reported during the starting flights. One of them involves an early six-figure pot on a King-King-Five-Queen-Seven board. According to the WSOP updates, Walter Sato won that pot with quads Kings; his opponent had queens full.

Arthur Schiavo was another lucky player who got all his chips in the middle this time with the lowest four-of-a-kind in poker. Again, the opponent couldn’t get away from his hand as he had a full house. Mark Gregorich (quad sevens) and Gary Fisher (quad kings) are some other players who turned their pairs into monsters at this year’s Main Event and chipped in.

However, there was one player with quads who didn’t get the value he wanted although his opponent had a very good hand. Dietrich Fast had just flopped the nuts on Queen-Four-Four board with his pocket fours and poker pro Simon Deadman was in the pot with the second nuts - queens full. But guess what? Deadman folded his boat soul-reading Fast perfectly:

Deadman busted one and a half hours later despite some huge laydowns. He said on Twitter:

Not even several hero folds can save a player from busting out in the Main Event. Oh, those merciless poker gods… Still good game Simon!

6. Folding Flushes… Or Maybe Not!

For a couple of days, many were picking Daniel Colman as a strong November Nine competitor. Indeed Colman had a deep run finishing the ME in 31st place and cashing in over $200,000. But at the end of the day, it wasn’t meant to be. As his hero fold when Dan Heimiller applied maximum pressure on him. Heimiller shoved over the top of Colman on the Queen-Seven-Three-Four board with three spades and the younger Dan thought for a moment with his King-high flush.

“Such a big shove,” Colman said before asking for a chip count. In the end though, he couldn’t fold his second nuts. “It’s so sick,” he said before calling his opponent. And it was the good cal

Heimiller had a set of sevens and didn’t improve on the river.

Sam Stein was another player who thought about folding his second nuts. On a three-seven-two-four-eight board with four spades, Stein had a decision to make with his Ace-high flush. And it wasn’t an easy decision at all. His opponent was all-in and Stein knew villain could have a straight flush. Yet, it was just one hand combination so he ended up calling. Unfortunately for Stein, David Aalvik did have the nut hand: five-six of spades.

“You seemed like you wanted a call,” Stein said shaking his head. Tough luck Sam.

5. Meet Christopher Frank

Christopher Frank is a young poker pro from Germany who wanted to make history in this year’s WSOP. He had quite a nice run in Las Vegas cashing in six times, including a worthy 128th place in the $10,000 Main Event. Before busting out though, Frank had a pair of hands that could go down as two of the most memorable poker hands in the Main Event.

In the first one, he flopped a nut flush with his Ace-King of hearts and bet it out. The four-turn didn’t change anything yet the river brought the Jack of hearts and improved Frank’s hand to the stone-cold nuts: a royal flush. Unfortunately for him, the opponent Chris Klodnicki only called him two streets and gave up on the river. Still, Frank wanted to show the best hand in Holdem to the whole world.

The next hand was even more epic. He had the cowboys preflop and was faced with a lot of action: one shortstack was already all-in and Maxim Sorokin put even more pressure on Frank with a large reraise. Frank eventually threw the Kings into the muck...yes preflop giving up to a huge pot that could have sent him among the chip leaders. Or yet again, could have sent him to the rail much earlier because Sorokin had the nuts preflop - pocket Aces. How in the world did he make that fold?


4. An 18-Minute Poker Hand

Remember Jordan Cristos and his strategy of taking at least 15 seconds on every single decision? Well, long after he was eliminated, on Day 7 of the 2016 WSOP Main Event, two players took the whole tanking business to a whole new level. The usual suspects? November NinerMichael Ruane and Aussie standout James Obst.

The actual hand was very unusual to say the least: Fernando Pons opened from under the gun and Ruane, Obst and Qui Nguyen called. Pons made a continuation bet on the Queen-Jack-Seven with two cloves flop only to get raised by Ruane. Obst thought for about two minutes and reraised Ruane. After another two minutes, Ruane called. On the Ten of cloves turn Obst check-called Ruane but it took around five minutes for the river card to show up which was another Ten. Obst led out and Ruane shoved over the top. The Aussie thought for around four minutes before folding and giving away the big pot.

To put things into perspective, the hand lasted around 18 minutes. Yes, ladies and gents, one sole poker hand. Is live poker slow? Indeed it is, at times even excruciatingly slow. Now who can blame the online whizkids for avoiding the live green felt?

3. Flopped Royal Flush Anyone?

Again, the cursed pocket Aces… According to former November Niner Steve Gee’s Twitter account, another Royal Flush showed up at this year’s Main Event besides Frank’s. Gee had pocket Aces and the flop brought King-Queen-Ten of the same suit. However, he didn’t slow down and continued to fire away on all three streets till his last chip. At showdown, a surprise was waiting for him: not only his opponent had a better hand than his, he had the best one in Holdem: the royal flush. How cruel was that?

Not the best way to be eliminated but still, we have to appreciate Gee for holding his head up and loving the game no matter what. Or was it just plain irony? Hmmm…

2. Quads Over House Over House

Nothing can be more fun than running into big hands multi-way, especially for the one who actually holds the best hand. That was the case for Shea Smith on Day 2AB. Smith actually had the third worst hand on Six-Five-Ten flop with a set of fives but in his mind, he was the best. That’s why he check-raised the initial raiser and surprisingly enough, two players called him. His aggression was paid off as the turn brought the fourth five from the deck. He continued to bet and on the seven river, he got all his chips in the middle. Both players called and boy, what a showdown: Smith had the quads while the other two players had full house. One of them had tens full while the other sixes full. So basically, on the flop, Shea had only one out - the remaining five on the deck. Live poker rigged anyone?


1. Folding… Quads???

Definitely the craziest hand of this year’s Main Event was an epic laydown. It happened almost nine days ago and it involved bracelet-winner Kyle Bowker. According to him, on a King-Nine-Jack of spades plus two red sevens, he folded quads. He was dealt pocket sevens preflop and raised to start the action. Three players called and on the flop, Bowker bet his set. Only one player called and when the fourth seven showed up, he took another stab at the pot. The Jack of spades completed a possible flush so he the bracelet winner fired his third bullet only to get raised..

Indeed there was only one combination the could beat him for the straight flush: the Queen-Ten of spades. Bowker went deep into the tank and thought the only hand that made sense was actually the Queen-Ten of spades… and he folded. Yes, HE FOLDED QUADS! He even showed the hand to the whole table before throwing quads seven into the muck.

He later told CardPlayer:

I felt like when I showed my hand I could see on his face that he was disgusted.I felt really confident that I was making the right fold anyway, and that just kind of confirmed it more."

According to Bowker, he spoke with his opponent and he said he indeed had Queen-Ten of spades. He also said he would have played nines full the same way. Was he lying? Kyle will never know but he remains confident he made the right decision although many members of the poker community laughed at his epic fold/fail.

One thing is for sure though: folding quads can definitely go down in history as the craziest hand of the WSOP Main Event.

Do you agree? Would you have folded the quads? Did you make similar epic laydowns while playing poker, either live or online? Please share your thoughts and your crazy hands with the rest of the poker community in the comment section below.

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Florian is a freelance journalist and avid poker player with a strong passion to create unique and appealing stories.He is an experienced researcher on various topics, from business and the financial markets to psychology and the gambling industry.He blogs at more


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