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. Phil Hellmuth vs Paul Magriel

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.

He decides to go all-in with an Ace and a Queen against Paul Magriel’s Pocket 7s, so he is immediately odds against to win the hand.

Hellmuth finds himself in a more precarious position when the Flop produces a 9, Jack and a 4, dropping his chances of staying in the game to 28%.

This falls again to 20%, as a second 9 appears on the Turn to hand Magriel Two Pair, and the blow up is almost complete.

Finally, the River delivers a 5, and Hellmuth is out of the game completely, thanks to his erratic betting style.

He is quite clearly furious with himself, and after shaking hands with his opponent he gets up from his seat and marches around the table before leaving.


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

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

This time it’s Cristian Dragomir who takes advantage of his ill-temper, and taking away 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. Daniel Negreanu vs Jonathan Duhamel 

Both players in this case are guilty of a blow-up, but obviously only one of them can lose.

Jonathan Duhamel initially goes all-in with $250,000 with the 7 and 4 of Clubs, and while the other players fail to call him, Daniel Negreanu throws his $189,000 stack into the pot.

He has an Ace and a Queen, but as we’ve seen already, high cards don’t always come to your rescue in these situations.

Things get interesting straight away when the Flop hands each man a Pair, with an Ace, 6 and a 4 appearing.

Negreanu seems like he’s going to be safe though, as he moves up to an 87% chance of winning following a King coming up on the Turn.

However, it was all false hope; he gets a bad beat on the River, with a 4 granting Duhamel Three of a Kind and the $434,000 pot.

Negreanu reacts by hilariously throwing his chips across the table and collapsing onto it, and he is out of the game.


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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