Good poker players know that profit in poker not only comes from maximizing your winnings, but also cutting short your losses. In the long run, making big laydowns is not a huge part of that equation, but if you are in a major tournament, a big laydown may make or break you. These ten players had the deck turn cold on them, but still managed to make the right play.
10. Phil Ivey vs Allen Cunningham
Many people might think that it is amazing that Cunningham didn’t go broke in this hand. Getting away from aces is hard, especially when your opponent takes an unconventional line and the board is pretty dry.
Furthermore, he’s up against Phil Ivey! Is it really worth even playing the game if you have to fold aces to Ivey, too? Regardless, Cunningham figured out the hand quite nicely and saved himself a nice chunk of cash on the river.
9. Ivan Demidov vs Ylon Schwartz
During his second place run at the World Series of Poker Main Event in 2008, Demidov was getting dealt some great hands at the right time, but one where he just couldn’t squeeze out much value happened at the final table versus Ylon Schwartz.
The paired board on the river made this fold somewhat easier. Nevertheless, this was still a great fold. Eventually, Schwartz finished 4th for over $4 million.
8. Phil Hellmuth vs Tom Dwan
Tom Dwan took a very tricky approach to this hand, checking to Hellmuth three times. On the river, it looked like Hellmuth was about to get stacked on the very first hand of the Premier League and this video was destined to be another Hellmuth blowup video.
Eventually, that’s not how it turned out. Both players managed to play their hands perfectly, with Hellmuth making a great laydown at the end.
7. Chris Oliver vs Galen Hall
Coming into heads up play at the PCA 2011 Main Event, Chris Oliver was looking like the favorite and playing like it, too. Oliver already had a substantial chip lead prior to this hand and it seemed like this might very well be the end.
Oliver made a tricky check – raise on the river, but Hall somehow managed to get away from his hand, leaving himself at an even bigger chip disadvantage. Despite this, the momentum shifted in Hall’s favor after this hand which allowed him to overcome his chip deficit and win the Main Event for $2.3 million.
6. Doyle Brunson vs Chip Reese
Doyle and Reese played together for over 30 years. A year before Reese passed away, he and Doyle appeared together at the final table of the WSOP Poker Players’ Championship. When the deck went cold for Doyle, he proved that he still had it, getting away from a monster hand against his old rival.
5. John Murphy vs Josh Arieh
There are few worse feelings in poker than when you call two streets with a draw, only to hit your draw and get shoved on. Now multiply that by the factor of a WSOP Main Event.
Murphy might have gotten a bit greedy on the river, not to mention his super – quick shove, but it would probably still be an impossible task for most players to get away from this hand on the river, so kudos to Arieh for finding a fold there.
4. Johny Chan vs Huck Seed
The way Chan played this hand you would think he had access to Huck Seed’s hole card cam. It’s either the greatest read ever or the strangest way to play aces ever.
3. Elky vs Tan
When you 3-bet preflop with QJ suited, get called and flop top pair on a decent board, it’s hard to imagine just check-folding to your opponent. Somehow, Elky managed to do this and was right, too.
2. Ben Wilinofsky vs Joep Van Den Bijgaart
Coolers are something that the vast majority of players will never be able to get away from, especially having committed a third of their stack. At EPT Berlin, Van Den Bijgaart proved that he does not belong to that group.
Despite this great fold, Van Den Bijgaart was not able to regain his momentum, finishing in 7th place, while Wilinofsky never gave up the momentum he gained, riding it all the way to the win.
1. Gregory Geller vs Roberto Romanello
While this hand happened pretty early in the Main Event, it is still one of the most amazing laydowns ever caught on video.
The way this hand was played, it’s hard to imagine how Romanello was able to put Geller on a better full house. In hindsight, this may seem like a bad fold, but Romanello must have had a good reason for it, and whatever it was, he made the right play. On top of it, he managed to get Mike Matusow to compliment him on his play, which does not happen often.