Folding is an essential part of poker as you can’t play every hand without bankrupting yourself. The best players know when to cut their losses and fold and when they should stay in the game and increase the bet. However, even the pros get it wrong from time to time. The great thing about televised poker and big poker tournaments is that you can watch the pros in action and see the decisions they make. Most of the time, they get it right. However, they can make some very questionable decisions sometimes. Here are some of the worst folds in the history of poker.
Ryan Leng’s Ace 5
At the 2021 Poker Player Championship, Ryan Leng made a move that many consider to be one of the worst in poker history. Three players remained in the live poker tournament, including Leng and Dan “Jungleman” Cates. Cates held a king of diamonds and a queen of clubs, while Leng held an ace-5 suit. Cates placed a 300,000 bet after a few raises and calls after realizing he had a chance at a straight. Leng then made a call.
When Leng placed a 600,000 bet and Cates, with a weaker hand, went all-in for 900,000, the game took an unexpected turn. Leng only required 300,000 more chips to call the bet with his top pair while still holding more than 10 million total. However, he let Cates’ bluff get the better of him and folded, allowing Cates to take the win despite having the weaker hand of the two.
Joe Hachem’s Low Straight
In the 2006 World Poker Tour, Jordan Morgan, a relative newcomer to the professional poker scene, convinced Joe Hachem to make one of the worst folds in poker history. With current earnings of $12,433,810 in poker, Hachem is in the game’s upper echelons, but he made a serious error here. Each participant began the event with a stack of 50,000 chips.
During the game, Hachem had an open-ended straight draw and decided to check after the turn revealed a 6 of clubs. Morgan placed a 2,000 bet while Hachem raised to 7,000, and the other players folded. Morgan then raised once more to 12,000 before Hachem increased it to 22,000. At this point, most would expect Morgan to fold, but he went all in for an additional 27,000 chips. Naturally, Hachem assumed that Morgan had a stronger hand and folded, but Morgan only had pocket aces which would have lost against his low straight.
Peter Hellmuth’s Triple Queens
Hellmuth is one of the best, but even he makes mistakes sometimes. At over $26 million in career earnings, he probably doesn’t lose much sleep over his mistakes, but this one might haunt him. Phil Hellmuth folded his three queen hand after being semi-bluffed by Bertrand “Elky” Grospellier at the 2017 World Series of Poker (WSOP) One Drop $111,111 buy-in Texas hold ’em poker tournament. The only cards his rival held were a jack and a 10.
Elky pushed in with a check-raise, bringing the bet to $1.2 million after Hellmuth only offered minimal raises. Everyone anticipated Hellmuth to play aggressively and double up at this point. In an unexpected turn of events, Hellmuth folded, allowing Elky to take the pot. In the end, this move meant Hellmuth finished 10th while Ekly came second and took home $2 million.