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Editorial: Guide to Biggest Pots in Poker History

Biggest Pots

One of the facets of TV poker shows that makes the game so exciting is to see the best players take down the largest pots in poker history, raking in piles of chips and cash. Many online poker sites also host games with "nosebleed" stakes, with blinds of $500 and $1000 for pot-limit Omaha and no-limit Texas Holdem cash tables.

The GamblingPlanet.eu Guide to Biggest Pots in Poker History will relate some of the stories behind the largest pots in the storied history of the game, including some of the hands featuring the best players in the world.

Biggest Pots: Montgomery vs. Demidov

At the 2008 World Series of Poker no-limit Texas Holdem Main Event final table, Canadian player Scott Montgomery went all-in preflop with ace-nine of diamonds. Russian pro Ivan Demidov called with pocket kings as a two-to-one favorite with his tournament life on the line. The pot had over fifty-two million chips before a single card hit the board.

The flop came six-four-six with two diamonds. Demidov was still ahead in the hand, but Montgomery could catch an ace for the higher pair or a diamond for the flush. The turn card was the ten of spades, a blank that pushed Demidov to a three-to-one advantage with one card to come. The river card was a harmless three of clubs, allowing the Russian to dodge the bullet. Demidov finished second behind eventual champion Peter Eastgate.

Biggest Pots: LaLiberte vs. Brunson

In one episode of the on the TV poker show "High Stakes Poker", poker legend Doyle "Texas Dolly" Brunson took on Cirque du Soleil creator Guy LaLiberte in a hand of no-limit Texas Holdem. Brunson pushed in a $10,000 raise preflop with ace-ten of diamonds, but it wasn't enough as four other players called the bet, including LaLiberte, who held ace-five of hearts.

The flop was ace-jack-four with no matching suits. Brunson bet $40,000 with his pair of aces and LaLiberte called with his weaker ace. The turn was the two of diamonds, giving Brunson a flush draw and LaLiberte an inside straight draw. Brunson bet $110,000, but LaLiberte raised another $200,000. Brunson re-raised all-in for another $30,500 and LaLiberte called. Brunson caught another ten on the river for two pair and a pot of over $800,000 in cash for one of the largest pots in the history of the show.

Biggest Pots: Farha vs. Antonius

2003 World Series of Poker runner-up Sam Farha, who earned his fame by losing to eventual champion Chris Moneymaker, was involved in one of the biggest pots, worth just shy of $1 million, with Finnish pro Patrik Antonius. Farha raised $3,000 preflop with king-queen of diamonds, but Antonius re-raised another $12,000 with jack-nine of hearts. Farha called the raise out of position, believing he could outplay the former male model after the flop.

The flop came nine-six-three with two diamonds; Antonius paired his nine, but Farha had a flush draw and two overcards. Farha checked and Antonius bet $20,000. Farha check-raised to $100,000 with his strong draw. Antonius re-raised all-in and Farha instantly called the bet. With $998,800 in the pot, both men waited for the next two cards. The turn was a five of diamonds, giving Farha the hand and nearly $1 million, one of the largest pots in TV poker history.

Biggest Pots: Ivey vs. Dwan

One of the biggest pots in any TV poker cash game came during the Full Tilt Poker Million Dollar Challenge. Two of the top no-limit Texas Holdem players in the world, WSOP bracelet winner Phil Ivey and online poker sensation Tom "durrrr" Dwan, faced off in a hand with blinds of $1000 and $2000 and a $500 ante.

Dwan called preflop with seven-six of hearts, but Ivey raised with ace-deuce offsuit. Dwan called with his suited connector to see a flop, which came jack-five-three with two clubs. Ivey bet $35,000 on the flop and Dwan called, bringing the pot to nearly $120,000. The turn was a four of clubs, giving both players the straight, but with Dwan's seven-high crushing Ivey's five-high.

Ivey bet $90,000 with his dead hand. Dwan took his time and raised another $140,000, pushing the pot over $440,000. Ivey re-raised all-in and Dwan called, taking down a pot of over $1.1 million, the biggest pot in televised poker history.

Biggest Pots: Antonius vs. Isildur1

Not all of the biggest pots happen in front of the TV cameras; some of them happen on computer screens. Also, of the top twenty pots in online poker history, only one was in no-limit Texas Holdem; all of the rest were in pot-limit Omaha games, including all of the top fifteen. Pot-limit Omaha is a very popular game in Europe, and online pros from that continent are among the toughest in the world.

The biggest pot in online poker was in a pot-limit Omaha hand between Patrik Antonius and online pro "isildur1" in November 2009. "Isildur1" had a stack of over $678,000, while Antonius was at the table with over $1.25 million. After a series of pot-sized raises, the flop came five-four-two with no matching suits. After another set of back-and-forth raises, all the money went in the middle for a pot of over $1.3 million.

Antonius showed a five-high straight and "isildur1" showed a higher straight draw. When the turn and river did not help the online unknown fill his straight, Antonius took home one of the biggest pots in online poker history.

Biggest Pots: Conclusion

When a poker environment combines big money, top players and lucky draws, such a mixture can lead to watching players take down the biggest pots. The excitement that goes with these hands can only be matched by the satisfaction of raking in the mountains of chips and carrying them to the cage for cold, hard cash.


14-Mar-2010, 15:00

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