In the world of poker, there is nothing quite as awesome and inspiring as a well-placed bluff. It takes some serious guts to pull off, but there is something inherently satisfying about winning a pot that you shouldn’t have. A well-timed bluff can demoralize an opponent and shift the odds of victory in your favor. On the flipside, a failed bluff can ruin your image and your bankroll.
We decided to compile a list of the best bluffs in the history of televised poker and quickly came to a startling realization: Tom “durrrr” Dwan seems to be involved in at least half of them. The 28-year-old cash game phenom may have first made a name for himself playing in the nosebleeds on Full Tilt Poker, but it was his fearless ability to bluff the very best players in the world, for the highest stakes in the world, that solidified his spot as a modern day poker legend.
9. “I’ll Pay You $200 to Check the River.”
Phil Laak, aka “The Unabomber,” might fancy himself a solid player in his own right, but even he had to bow down to Dwan after getting check-raised $84,700 in a $16,850 pot. Torn between an instant-call and an instant-fold, Laak tried to get some info from Dwan by offering to pay durrrr “$200 to check the river.” Dwan’s response was stone-cold silence.
8. Dwan Overbet Bluffs Bob Safai
You never want to hear an opponent ask you how much you have left after you check the river. You especially don’t want that same opponent to then go all-in for $133,000 into a $39,000 pot. Despite having the best hand from start to finish, all businessman Bob Safai could do was shake his head after Dwan showed the 8-high bluff.
7. The Great Bluff Against The Great Dane
It’s one thing to bluff out a businessman, it’s quite another to double-barrel bluff Gus Hansen. And yet, that’s exactly what Tom Dwan did.
6. Tom Dwan Reps Quad Aces
It’s a rare site to see a seasoned poker veteran like JC Tran fold the second nuts, especially when that second nuts was a full house, jacks full of aces! We personally think JC was off his rocker putting Dwan on four jacks, but that’s what makes Dwan so dangerous—his super aggressive style makes him very difficult to read.
5. Gabe Kaplan Bluffs Dwan at Poker After Dark
Tom Dwan isn’t the only one who can pull off sick bluffs, as Gabe Kaplan proved during a Poker After Dark session. Correctly putting Dwan on absolutely nothing, Kaplan re-raised to $38,000 on the flop, and then fired out an additional $50,000 on the river. After a short deliberation, Dwan reluctantly folded, and Kaplan showed off the bluff to the table.
4. Marcello Magliano Outdoes durrrr
The second of two bluffs against Dwan on the list is a terrific piece of poker by Marcello Magliano. In fact, it was so impressive that even Dwan was left speechless, which is usually something reserved for his opponents. Hey, even the best in the world can be outplayed every now and then.
3. Dwan vs. Eastgate vs. Greenstein
This hand is special because Dwan makes two different players, Barry Greenstein and 2008 WSOP Main Event winner Peter Eastgate, fold better hands than his own. Not only did he correctly put Greenstein on a big over pair (he held pocket Aces), he also correctly deduced that Eastgate, who held trips, had the best hand of them all. Don’t believe he knew what he was up against? Check out his commentary here.
2. Tom Dwan Smashes Sammy George With 7-2
During this edition of the Durrrr Million Dollar Challenge, Tom and Sammy George had a 7-2 side bet going on where if either player won a hand with 7-2 then the other player would have to pay an extra $5000. It’s bad enough to get beat with 7-2, it’s worse to have to pay extra, but it’s the absolutely worst when your opponent actually announces during the hand that he has 7-2, which is exactly what durrrr did!
You think you’ve been in an uncomfortable spot on the tables before? Watching Sammy squirm for four minutes in front of Dwan’s unfathomable all-in shove for $497,000 into a $162,000 pot is pure torture. Eventually, Sammy laid it down, prompting Dwan to sheepishly table the hand, saying, “I’m sorry, I wouldn’t normally show,” and collecting the extra $5000.
1. Dwan Three-Barrel Bluffs Ivey
One of the largest pots in the history of televised poker also happened to be one of the sickest, and it was between two titans of the table, Tom Dwan and Phil Ivey.
Not only does Dwan show nerves of steel, bluffing out of position on every single street with no pair (or even a draw), but the hand also features one of the greatest potential call downs in poker history. Sitting with only fourth pair, the great Phil Ivey shows off his poker instincts and talent by actually thinking about making the impossible call. It is one of the few rare moments where Tom Dwan looked nervous. In the end, durrrr took it down.