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Most Shocking Poker Folds
The assumption that many amateur poker players make – especially if they’re watching poker on television – is that the pros don’t make mistakes. That couldn’t be further from the truth as everyone has regrets in the game. Remember, with tv, they just edit the content down to the best hands for entertainment purposes.
With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of some of the biggest head-scratching folds in the history of professional poker. That might make you feel a little better about your game the next time you’re chewing yourself out for a mistake you’ve made. Let’s start things off with Gary Paterson, who once folded a full house.
Gary Paterson Folds A Full House
Arguably one of the most confusing folds in recent history was the full house fold by Gary Paterson. Did he simply forget what cards he was holding? That might be the case as he ended up folding a full house.
Paterson started out with a pair of fours before the flop, so he was already in good shape. Two others went in as one player had a Jack-Three and another had an Ace-Two. The flop delivers a Jack, King, Jack, and then the turn was a four. The player with the Ace-Two folded and then Paterson, while holding a full house, also folded, leaving Holden with the win. Maybe he thought his opponent was holding a Jack-King, which would have been a better full house? It’s hard to say.
Obviously, this had shocked the table and still confuses people to this day.
Thi Nguyen Folds Full House
At the 2019 $25k Pokerstars PSPC No Limit Texas Hold’em event, Thi Nguyen made one of the most mind-boggling folds of all-time. Unfortunately for her, the moment was caught on video and it will forever be enshrined in the not-so-great Poker Hall of Fame.
What’s interesting is that in the end, she made the right decision to fold her full house because she would have lost. The challenge is that she didn’t play it as well as she should have. She had an ace-queen in her hand and then ended up with three queens after the turn. Her opponent only had aces but because she wasn’t as aggressive as she could have been after the turn, her opponent hung around to see what the river would bring. That river brought an ace, which allowed her opponent to complete his full house.
While her opponent kept baiting her, eventually, he did get the better hand. She sniffed it out and eventually folded with a full house to avoid a bigger loss.
Sandra Naujoks Folds A Straight
Naujoks is in our Hall of Fame of folds with a very confusing decision. In this game, we pick it up where Naujoks had landed a straight on the river. She seemed to be floating along in a hand where she had inferior cards, but eventually got the one card she needed to win: an eight to a complete a straight. At that point, she should have been betting heavy and bullying her opponent. Instead, she accidentally tossed her cards in. She realized it right away as she tried to pull back but the dealer and her opponent both noted that she had folded. Her reaction? It was “too early in the day”. That ended up costing her a big win and a lot of money.
Phil Hellmuth Folds Triple Queens
Is Phil Hellmuth kind of the Donald Trump of poker? He’s got that big, brash personality and everything with him is over the top. And he is kind of famous for tearing into opponents with some insults.
At any rate, this particular fold was a painful one. Playing in the One Drop with a stunningly large buy-in of $111,111, Hellmuth actually folded triple queens. It was a bizarre situation where he had queen-nine but then the flop was king, queen and queen. His opponent only had a jack-10 but Hellmuth had some kind of a brain cramp and actually folded. For all of his trash talking, this will be one he’ll hear about for a while.
David Fishman Folds Literally Everything
The PokerStars Big Game was a pretty cool idea in a made-for-television event. The show was simple: a random amateur poker player had a shot at a huge cash prize while playing against actual professional poker players. David Fishman built up around $230,000 and the rule was that he would get to keep anything over $100,000. That meant that he was already at $130,000 in profit, which was three times his annual salary. To protect his winnings, he literally started to fold everything that came in front of him. That included a pocket aces and pocket kings. No matter the hand or situation, he folded. While he was able to cash in after the show, many still wonder if he left a lot of money on the table.
Romanello Folds Just In Time
Robert Romanello makes our list with a shocking fold during the 2008 Main Event. However, he makes the list in a good way. His fold shocks us, but what makes it stunning is the fact that he was smart enough to pull it off. Some call as one of the most astounding folds in poker history.
Romanello actually folded a full house with jacks over 10’s, but it was the right call. His opponent had kings over 10’s but baited him into the hand. His opponent had pocket kings right off the bat but checked the entire way, so he gave the impression he didn’t really have much. Romanello sniffed it out, though, and folded just in time to save himself a costly loss.
Famous ESPN poker commentator Norman Chad, while watching the hand play out, said of Romanello: “If he lays this down, I’ll move to a Franciscan monastery and become head chef”.
Smirnov Folds Quad 8’s
This poker fold happens to be a controversial one. There are people to this day that believe Mikhail Smirnov was actually a genius by folding his hand while others believe it was a boneheaded decision.
Smirnov was taking place in the Big One for One Drop at the WSOP back in 2012 with a $1,111,111 buy-in. While there is no actual evidence to prove his mistake, it was reported that he folded his quads. Poker legend Phil Galfond said he never saw anything like it and Tom Dwan allegedly fell onto the floor after his big fold.
What happened was Smirnov held pocket eights and then landed two more on the flop and on the turn. The concern was that there were four spades on the table as well as a possibility of a straight/straight flush. Smirnov’s opponent, who had been careful and tight all night, was aggressive with this hand, so Smirnov got worried and folded.