In the world of high stakes poker, it’s easy for tempers to flare. With hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars in table action, WSOP bracelet bragging rights, and various side bets, not to mention a hodge-podge of eccentric personalities, arguments and confrontations are inevitable and in no short supply. In fact, there are simply too many “beefs” for one article, so we’ve decided to split things up. This week we focus on recent rivalries; next week’s article focuses on some “classic” poker feuds.
Mark Newhouse vs. 9th Place
Too soon? We’re pretty sure that the entire poker world let out a giant, collective cringe when William Tonking called Newhouse’s all-in bet on the river and tabled pocket queens, ending one of the most improbable runs in poker history. To make matters worse, Newhouse had previously said in interviews that his goal was not to finish in 9th place and that he’d rather finish in 10th. But wait, it gets even more heartbreaking…
Just bought into the main event day 1c. Not fucking finishing 9th again
— mark newhouse (@mark_hizzle) July 7, 2014
The odds of Newhouse finishing 9th two years in a row were approximately 1 in 5 million.
Dan Colman vs. Phil Hellmuth
At this point, it’s a pretty one-sided rivalry, but Dan Colman’s recent comments about the Poker Brat on Two Plus Two are pretty ruthless.
“It’s embarrassing that we have to share our profession with whores like this guy. After I win one drop, he immediately comes on stage to shake my hand in front of a camera and congratulate me. As if he’s the gatekeeper to the poker world and welcoming me inside.
“It is truly pathetic that a 40 year old would behave the way he does at the table, not to mention how spineless he is, just willing to take any sponsorship regardless of the company’s integrity. Hey, anything for a payday! Really makes me sad to think there’s a chance some people may look up to this charlatan. People of his attitude and character are a cancer to this world.”
Phil’s responded with the following tweet:
Ouch, I was just attacked big time on a terrific poker forum: TwoPlusTwo. It was personal and it hurts, but I am proud of the man I am!
— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) November 14, 2014
This isn’t the only time this year that Colman has sparked controversy—he infamously refused to do an interview after winning the $1 million buy in Big One for One Drop for more than $15 million, claiming that “I really don’t owe anyone an explanation” and “I don’t owe poker a single thing.” It’s hard to argue with Colman’s results—he’s won four major tournaments in 2014 and over $22 million in tournament winnings—but the way he carries himself has certainly polarized the poker community.
Colman has since gone on to say that he may have been “too harsh” on Hellmuth, conceding that he’s “never met him, apart from [the One Drop], but I am sure he’s an overall nice guy, just really not a fan of how he conducts himself.”
Jungleman vs. durrrr
Remember when Tom “durrrr” Dwan was a one-man online poker wrecking crew? 2009 sure seems like a lifetime ago for the former Full Tilt pro, especially now that Daniel “Jungleman” Cates has made allegations that durrrr has been ducking him. The two are currently embroiled in the “durrrr challenge,” a high stakes heads up contest in which the two will play 50,000 hands together. If Dwan wins the challenge he will take home $500,000; if Cate wins he will take down a whopping $1.5 million.
Currently, Dwan is down over $1.25 million, and they aren’t even halfway through the challenge. According to Cates, “we have played zero hands in 2014 and only 2,500 of the 62k hands Tom played in 2013 were from the challenge.”
Jungleman has repeatedly complained online and in live interviews that durrrr “ is being totally uncooperative,” and that Dwan has “failed to uphold any promises he made to me… He’s extremely frustrating. It’s outrageous.”
Dwan has incurred $300,000 worth of penalties for not playing and Cates says he hasn’t been paid a cent.
Jungleman vs. David ‘Viffer’ Peat
This feud between Jungleman and Viffer is a result of the ongoing “durrrr Challenge,” but this argument is interesting because it’s clear that these two actually hate each other.
Cates has gone on record calling Peat “a total scumbag” for trying to avoid paying up on a highly publicized bet the two made surrounding the challenge. According to Cates, Viffer has refused to honor the bet, telling Jungleman face-to-face, “I’m not paying you for the durrrr Challenge… I’m f***ing you.”
Peat is claiming that Black Friday was an “act of god,” akin to a “rain delay in baseball,” and that the bet should be considered null and void. The rest of the poker world strongly disagrees.
“No rational person acts like this,” said Cates. “I think he’s trying to angle me and I don’t think anybody should ever do business with him.”
Want more war of words from these two high stakes players? Just take a look at this heated twitter exchange.
Mike Matusow vs. Ted Forrest
Poker players are famous for their weird and wacky prop bets, but Mike “The Mouth” Matusow and Ted “The Suicide King” Forrest took it to another level in a 2010 prop bet.
The bet required Forrest to drop from 188 pounds to under 140 pounds in only a few short months. Matusow laid 18 to 1–$1.8 million vs. $100,000—that Forrest couldn’t do it. Miraculously, Forrest did it, thanks in part to his insane workout regimen—he walked 16 miles a day and spent 6 hours a day in the gym–and a new diet.
“I didn’t eat for 10 days,” Forrest said with a smile. “Then, I ate the last few days, and that enabled me to win the bet. I ate a kiwi, a tomato and five or six raspberries, which gave me the energy to make the final push and lose the weight.”
Fast forward to four years later, and according to Forrest, ““I weigh 180 but I’m light about 1.7 million… [Matusow] has paid me $70,500 of the 1.8 million he owes me for the weight loss bet.”
Matusow claims that, “Full Tilt ruined my life,” and that he “made a bet and were very drunk.” Something tells us that if things were reversed, Matusow wouldn’t be so forgiving. As a matter of fact, years ago Matusow actually made and won a similar weight loss bet against Forrest, dropping from 250 pounds all the way down to 181. Forrest immediately paid the bet in full, sending Matusow $100,000.