Relive Sickest Bad Beats of 2018 WSOP: Poker Can Be a Cruel Game

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Bad beats happen in nearly every poker game, almost every day. But there were three hands at the 2018 World Series of Poker that stood out more than any others due to extreme cruelty.

poker bad beats
Everyone loves a sick bad beat. Well, except for the losing player. (Image: YouTube)

Warning: the following is not suitable for the faint of heart. Because of the sick nature of these hands, please don’t view while eating.

We ranked each hand on a cruelty scale of 1-5, with a one being “meh,” and five being “Vanessa Selbst losing aces full to quads in the 2017 WSOP Main Event.”

Bratty Hellmuth Folds Hand, Still Delivers Bad Beat

Cruelness factor: 4/5

On Day Two of poker’s world championship event, Phil Hellmuth’s bratty behavior caused James Campbell to suffer one of the sickest bad beats of the year. And, he didn’t even make it to the turn.

In a three-way pot on the flop, Alex Kuzmin bet 3,000 in middle position with a king-high flush draw (K-2). Hellmuth, who was on the button, made a questionable raise to 6,000 with a small pair (sevens). With the action back on Campbell, the small stack holding an ace-high flush draw (A-9), he decided to shove all-in for 26,200.

A frustrated Hellmuth, who along with Kuzmin had a big stack, immediately expressed anger towards Campbell for moving in.

If Hellmuth hadn’t acted out of turn, making it clear he was going to fold, Kuzmin likely folds the hand fearing the Poker Brat might come over the top. Instead, he calls the all-in bet as a huge underdog, and then hits a lucky deuce on the river to bust Campbell.

To his credit, Hellmuth later apologized and offered to buy Campbell into the 2019 Main Event. Good on him for that. But inexcusable for a veteran player to make such an error in judgement.

Most Insane Hand Ever?

Cruelness factor: 5/5

Also at the 2018 Main Event was maybe the most disgusting cooler situation in history. The final table bubble burst thanks to an unlikely aces versus kings versus kings situation. As you may have guessed, a fireworks display ensued.

poker bad beats
An aces versus kings versus kings scenario on the WSOP Main Event final table bubble was one of the sickest bad beats ever. (Image: YouTube)

With 10 players remaining on Day Seven, Nic Manion, who had 43 million chips, picked up pocket aces. Antoine Labat (51 million) looked down at kings, while Rich Zhu also had kings (24 million). All the money got in pre-flop and the aces held up.

The hand eliminated Zhu in ninth place in perhaps the most improbable fashion. Sure, he still received $850,000 for his efforts, but the cooler situation cost him a shot at winning nearly 10 times that amount.

Manion leaped into the chip lead heading into the final table thanks to this ridiculous cooler. But the luck quickly ran out on him at the final table (fourth place for $2.8 million). Labat, who was left with a tiny stack following the sick hand, busted in ninth place ($1 million).

Was it Karma? (Bad Beat Cruelness: 5/5)

Unless your opponent has zero outs, the hand isn’t over. Never celebrate until the final card has been dealt. Just ask Sang Liu who took one of the sickest (and most hilarious) bad beats of the year.

In the $565 WSOP Colossus, Liu had a slight chip lead heads-up against Roberly Felicio. He was moments away from scooping his first bracelet and $500,000…or so he thought.

Both players flopped top pair (jacks), but Liu had a big lead with a stronger kicker (10). All the money got in on the flop and only one of the three remaining eights could save Felicio. The difference between first and second place was significant – $500,000.

After Felicio turned over his cards, an exuberant Liu popped up out of his seat and danced around the room in celebration. And then this happened…

Felicio took a 15-1 chip lead and finished his opponent off shortly after. Poetic justice?

Honorable Mention

In 2015, Max Steinberg finished fourth in the Main Event ($2.6 million). This year, he was first…out.

If there’s a silver lining in it for Steinberg, at least he didn’t play three grueling days only to bubble. Our glass is always half full here at CardsChat.

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