The Biggest TV Pots in History

4 years ago
Biggest TV Pots in History
10 Oct


Televised tournament poker has always been an enjoyable part of my poker ‘fanaticism’, a steady diet of EPT’s and the WSOP schedule every summer keeping me well-fed. But somehow the memories of huge TV cash games have stuck with me much longer, and here I want to share with you three of the most exciting and biggest-ever pots to have made it to our screens.

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Boneta’s bluff comes unstuck

When you wake up with pocket aces, what you really want to see is a straddle followed by two calls in front of you. At an active table, Johnny Chan decided just to flat-call, in the hope that someone would decide to steal the pot somewhere after him.

That someone was Negreanu, who decided to kick it up from his $1600 straddle to over $9k. Erik Boneta decided to come along, as did Phil Laak - and Chan must have been smiling inwardly! Re-raising to $30k got rid of Negreanu, but with the other pair calling he now had aces and a $101,800 pot! No ‘win small, lose big’ with these pocket rockets.

And things got even better. The 2, 5, 6 rainbow flop had missed Boneta completely, while Laak’s pair of 3’s may just have called Chan’s $45k lead out bet, if Boneta hadn’t decided to shove with his complete bluff of KQ spades!

Chan wasted no time in calling – his aces good against almost all of Boneta’s range here – and the amateur was left red-faced and on the wrong end of a $516,400 cash pot, even though they ran it three times - probably the easiest money Johnny Chan has ever won!

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Durrrr’s aces cracked!

Just like in Chan’s hand above, Tom ‘durrrr’ Dwan must have been licking his lips when he peeked at his cards and saw aces, then witnessed a raise and a re-raise before him. A timely 4-bet saw initial raiser Eastgate get out of the way, but fellow poker legend Barry Greenstein decided his J♥ 9♥ was worth a look at the flop, the pot sitting at a comfortable $68,500.

When the flop came…

3♥ J♦ 10♣

…Dwan was unperturbed. Although a better flop for Greenstein’s range than Boneta’s was above, it still wouldn’t prevent Dwan from continuing with a 2/3rds pot bet. Greenstein, however, decided that Dwan could be doing this with almost anything – and essentially committed himself by raising $146k, ‘durrrr’ taking little time in shoving, which Greenstein had to call.

$548,700 in cold hard cash was sitting in the middle, Dwan’s aces ahead of Greenstein’s top pair with Jacks – and then the turn came the 9♠!! Greenstein had just hit two pair and Dwan was left reeling, although he managed a joke about ‘running it three times’ – a reference to Greenstein’s slightly unusual habit of only ever running it once.

When the river missed Dwan, he had that sickly look on his face that only comes from half-a-million bucks going astray!

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Dwan takes Ivey for $1.1million

It would be unfair on poor Tom Dwan if I didn’t include the biggest televised pot in history in this compilation, and not least because it seems Dwan recoup the $1/2 million he just lost to Greenstein and then some! But it’s not the $900k plus pot that Dwan won when cracking Greenstein’s aces – oh no, it’s bigger and even better!

It came from modest beginnings, Ivey’s A♣ 2♦ and Dwan’s 6♥ 7♥ seeing a flop, the pot only $49,500 at the time. The flop, however, made for interesting reading…

J♣ 3♦ 5♣

and Dwan called Ivey’s $35k bet. Now what card might the turn bring which could see these two mighty players getting it all in? That’s right…


And for Ivey, there was no getting away from his turned wheel – Dwan’s re-raise of his $90k bet leading to an all-in from Phil and instacall with the nuts from Dwan! $1,108,500 all in greenbacks!

Completely sick – just what you would expect for the biggest televised pot of all-time – and featuring the two biggest names in high-stakes TV poker!

Articles 2005

Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more


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