Top Five Biggest Poker Blow-Ups

Top Five Biggest Poker Blow-Ups

To be successful in poker, you really need to be able to manage your temperament to make the correct calls at the right time.

However, that is clearly much easier said than done, especially when you are on a losing streak.

When you are on a bad run and you make a massive bet in desperation, it is referred to as a “blow up”.

A blow-up is a hugely aggressive move, and when it goes wrong it can be a very expensive mistake to make.

For example, you could have a streak of defeats and decide to go all-in on a hand that isn’t very strong, or even before the Flop.

This clearly doesn’t do your chances of ending the run any good, and in a lot of cases will actually see you eliminated from the game, which will only worsen your frustration.

Below, we’ve made a list of some of the worst blow ups in poker, to give you an idea of the sort of thing you don’t want to do when you sit down at the table to play.


5. Mike Matusow vs Erik Seidel

Mike Matusow is known for letting his emotions out in poker, and he does so here after being knocked out of the game by Erik Seidel.

Despite his opponent holding Pocket Aces, Matusow is in a commanding position after the Flop with Two Pair of 8 and 10.

Seidel raises by $19,000 at this point, but Matusow responds with an extremely aggressive raise of his own.

He doubles the stakes to a $38,000 raise, and this causes Seidel to go all-in.

Matusow eventually calls, but is stunned by the cards on the Turn and the River.

Two 7s are produced, leaving Seidel with an astonishing victory with a higher value Two Pair.

Matusow storms away from the table shouting about his lack of luck.

If he'd held on to the raise a little bit longer, this could all have been avoided.


4. Vanessa Selbst vs Kevin MacPhee

Another example of how not to play a hold is demonstrated expertly by Vanessa Selbst, who decides to go all in with a stack of $977,000 on Pocket 4s.

Having been raised by Kevin MacPhee to $131,000, she evidently hit the panic button for a classic blow up.

MacPhee only has an Ace and a 9, so it’s a big call from him too, as he follows suit by going all-in with $425,000.

You can see Selbst beginning to tilt as soon as she gets called, shaking her head and looking rather unimpressed.

Her mood instantly worsens when an Ace appears on the Flop, giving MacPhee a Pair, along with an 8 and a 6.

While he looks as cool as a cucumber, she puts her hands behind her head in disbelief.

The Turn produces a Queen, giving MacPhee a 95% chance of victory and a monster pot.

That is confirmed with another Ace on the River and secures him Three of a Kind, so Selbst’s Two pair isn’t enough, and she loses $2426,000 altogether.

You can understand her fury at the end of the hand, though you would have to say it is entirely her fault.


3. Phil Hellmuth vs Cristian Dragomir

Phil Hellmuth is famous for his rash decisions and lack of any temperament in poker, and he shows exactly why he got that reputation in this video. 

Cristian Dragomir takes advantage of his ill-temper, and lands a near seven-figure pot.

After being dealt a 4 and a 10, Dragomir raises the stakes to $80,000, which Hellmuth foolishly raises to $255,000 with a King and an Ace in his hold.

You can see Hellmuth isn’t very happy from the get-go, as he doesn’t take his seat for the hand.

Cleverly playing on this, Dragomir decides to bet another $300,000 even though the Flop only grants him a Pair, with a 10, 9 and a 7 being produced.

With only a 25% chance of winning Hellmuth elects to fold, meaning that his earlier big bet was a very costly error of judgement.

When the other players start to take a bit of enjoyment out of his loss, he completely flips and gets into a heated argument with Dragomir.

It’s safe to say Hellmuth isn’t the most gracious of losers.


2. Phil Hellmuth vs David Fishman

If you’re a big fan of poker, you won’t be shocked to see Hellmuth appearing on this list for a second time.

He gets played for a fool by David Fishman, who lures him into a bet he should never make, and Hellmuth's reaction is extraordinary.

At the start of the hand, Hellmuth is dealt an Ace of Spades and 5 of Diamonds, and decides to raise to $1,000.

Fishman matches this with the King and Queen of Spades, leaving him in a very strong position.

However, it is Hellmuth who has the upper hand when the Dealer produces the 2 and Jack of Spades, plus the Ace of Diamonds, as he has a Pair.

His opponent only needs a Spade for a Flush or a 10 for a Straight though, and this is still the case after the next card is drawn.

At this point Hellmuth has bet an extra $21,000 after achieving Two Pair, but he gets the dreaded bad beat with a 10 on the River.

Hellmuth bets $23,600, and the theatrics then start from Fishman.

He seems ridiculously nervous and unsure of his next move, before going all-in with $97,200.

It was a fine acting performance as he lures Hellmuth into calling him, and when the cards are turned he loses it.

Hellmuth storms away from the table, and starts swearing and bemoaning his luck.

A classic Phil Hellmuth response to losing a hand. 


1. Tony G vs Roland De Wolfe

Tony G makes the top of our list, with another lesson in how not to play with Pocket cards, in his case two 7s.

Despite only needing to call $8,000, he chooses to go all-in with his stack of $561,000, which is called by his opponent Roland De Wolfe with his hold of Ace and 8.

The tactic was clearly made to eliminate De Wolfe from the game with his remaining stack totalling $176,000.

Two 5s and a Queen come up on the Flop, landing Tony G Two Pair and putting him well and truly in command of the hand.

To his dismay, the Turn isn’t so kind to him with an Ace, which all but seals his fate with just a 5% chance of winning.

Realising his mistake, he storms away from the table and pretty much does a lap of the studio, before returning to accept his loss, as the River deals a 3.

De Wolfe subsequently overtakes Tony G in the chip standings, and the latter stares blankly in frustration at the other players.

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