Poker is a game of seriously fine margins, and players at the top level cannot afford to make any mistakes.
They’re not immune though, and when they do make a mess of something it is usually on a huge scale, and rather embarrassing to boot.
For example, you could accidentally fold by knocking your cards over to the dealer, or even misread your opponent’s cards when they’re turned.
Below, we’ve found five monster mistakes that professional poker players have made, to show you that even they are capable of doing the unthinkable.
5. Mikalai Pobal vs Joni Jouhkimainen
Mikalai Pobal’s error against Joni Jouhkimainen doesn’t lose him any money, but it is still rather embarrassing.
Pobal starts with the Ace and 9 of Hearts against Jouhkimainen’s King and 9 of Spades, and the former immediately raises to $450,000, which is called.
On the Flop, the Belarussian gets a Flush draw, with the 4 and King of Hearts being drawn, as well as a 6.
As he only has a Pair of Kings, Jouhkimainen elects to check, though this is met by another $450,000 raise by Pobal.
Both men check after the 3 on the Turn, but the River strikes lucky for Pobal with the 7 of Hearts.
In this tournament, when you have the best possible hand available you have to place a bet – which seems to have slipped the mind of Pobal.
After Jouhkimainen checks again, he follows suit and hands his cards in.
While he still wins $1,990,000 pot, he gets a one orbit penalty, meaning he has to sit out of the next two hands.
4. Daniel Negreanu vs David Benyamine vs Doyle Brunson
This is simply quite an incredible hand, with all three players having reason to believe that they’re in the best position.
Unfortunately for Daniel Negreanu, he failed to hold his nerve against David Benyamine and Doyle Brunson, and missed out on a huge pot.
The Canadian starts with the 9 and 10 of Spades, so he raises to $3,000.
Benyamine also has two Spades with a 5 and 7, while Brunson has Pocket Queens, so they all have a nice hold.
The Flop produces the 3 and 8 of Spades and a 9, so both Negreanu and Benyamine have Flush draws, though the former also has a Pair.
As a result, he bets $8,500 and is called by his two opponents.
Unbelievably, the Queen of Spades comes up on the Turn, handing Brunson Three of a Kind and the other two players a Flush.
They all decide to check, and the card on the River is the Ace of Hearts, so Negreanu has the best hand of the three men.
After some deliberation, he bets $26,200 and is called by Brunson.
However, Benyamine underestimates his hand and raises to $101,200, leaving Negreanu in an awkward position.
He takes his time again, though this time makes a bad error of judgement and folds the winning hand.
Brunson calls, and Benyamine wins the $265,500 that should’ve been Negreanu’s.
Once he realises his mistake, he thumps the table and puts his hands on his head in disbelief.
3. Phil Hellmuth vs Phi Nguyen
Phil Hellmuth gets himself in all sorts of trouble against Phi Nguyen, and this schoolboy error leaves him in peril of going out of the game.
An amazing Flop allows Phi Nguyen to rinse the “Poker Brat”, playing this hand to tactical perfection.
Nguyen gets the Jack and 10 of Diamonds from the draw, while Hellmuth has the Ace and Queen of the same Suit.
Unbelievably, a 9, Queen and King come out of the pack, and Nguyen is all but over the line with a Straight.
He starts to trap Hellmuth by checking, luring his opponent into a false sense of security.
After the Turn pulls out a 3, Hellmuth bets $1,000 and is smoothly called by Nguyen, making sure he doesn’t give any clues about the strength of his hand.
The next mistake he makes is betting another $2,300 after a 2 on the River, as it gives Nguyen the power to make a big raise.
He ups the stakes to $6,8000, and Hellmuth then realises his monumental error and starts to tilt.
Despite saying he was going to fold, he compounds his nightmare hand by calling, even though he knows he’s lost.
2. Daniel Negreanu vs Dan Colman
A serious error after the River meant that Daniel Negreanu played right into the hands of Dan Colman, handing over a pot worth $60,400,000.
Negreanu holds a King and Queen, and calls Colman’s raise to $2,500,000 having been dealt the Ace and 4 of Diamonds.
A 4, 8 and Jack come up on the Flop, firmly putting the American in control with a 73% chance of winning the hand.
After checking, Negreanu decides to call Colman’s second bet of $2,500,000, even though he is in a very weak position.
An Ace is produced on the Turn, meaning that Negreanu is now only a 10 away from a Straight, and has some incentive to stay involved.
With Two Pair, Colman bets another $7,000,000 and is again called.
It’s all over for Negreanu on the River though, because Colman hits a Full House thanks to another 4.
Unbelievably, the former checks again, which shows his opponent he hasn’t got anything, and gives him the incentive to rinse him.
Colman goes all-in with $18,000,000, which Negreanu calls, and it turns out to be a hugely expensive mistake.
1. Sandra Naujoks vs Tony G
Somehow, Sandra Naujoks throws away victory by managing to fold her winning hand by mistake.
She starts with a 10 and 9 against Tony G’s King and Queen, so both of them are in a decent position.
A Jack, 10 and Queen come up on the Flop, giving each player a Pair, though they are one card away from completing a Straight.
Another Queen is produced on the Turn, which puts Tony G at a 91% chance of winning the hand with Three of a Kind.
Tony G bets $400, to which he is raised $1,100 by Naujoks, so he takes it up to $2,400.
However, it appeared to be a bad move in hindsight as Naujoks completes a Straight on the River with an 8.
Strangely, both players check, and as they turn the cards over Naujoks clearly hasn’t read her hand properly because she folds.
Despite having a Straight, she loses the hand, and she can’t believe what she’s done as she tries to grab the cards back before the dealer can take them in.