Losing With Monster Hands

Poker can be an incredibly cruel game. You receive a decent pair before the flop puts you in a great position to win the pot. Your opponent has just a small chance of victory and as the turn and river cards are shown, the odds have swung back in their favor and without knowing it, you’re about to lose some of your stacks.

The danger in this scenario is that you make an audacious bet without realizing that you’re beat. Regardless of whether you play poker online or in a brick-and-mortar casino, it’s always a good idea to be aware of how your opponent is playing, just in case your hand can be beaten. We’ve taken a look at some of the most famous instances when a monster hand ultimately ends up losing.

Joseph Cheong vs Eugene Katchalov

When these two took each other on in the National Heads-Up Poker Championship tournament, few could have predicted this next hand. Joseph Cheong started with the jack of hearts and four of diamonds, while Eugene Katchalov had ace-10 diamonds.

Straight away, Katchalov had the advantage, with a 66% chance of winning. The flop produced the jack, king and three of diamonds, giving Katchalov a flush and Cheong a pair. The former then had a 97% chance of winning.

The turn card was the jack of spades, increasing Cheong’s chances of winning from 3% to 23%, as he had three-of-a-kind. Cheong needed either a jack or a four in order to win the pot. The river card incredibly produced the four of spades; Katchalov had already convinced himself he had won and there was no backing down. On the final round, Katchalov raised to $18,000, leaving the pot at over $36,000. Cheong re-raised to $92,400 and after much deliberation, Katchalov folded, allowed Cheong to win the $122,000 pot.

Michael Mizrachi vs David Benyamine

Another from the National Heads-Up Poker Championship, Michael Mizrachi and David Benyamine went head-to-head in the round of 16, but one particular hand provided a surprising result.

Mizrachi was dealt ace-jack of clubs and Benyamine 7-6 of diamonds. Both had the potential for flush draws but it was Mizrachi who had the stronger hand, with a 61% chance of winning pre-flop. The six of clubs, ace of spades and jack of diamonds were drawn in the flop, reducing both players chances of winning with a flush. However, Mizrachi had a two-pair and Benyamine a one-pair, increasing the former’s odds of winning to 88%.

Mizrachi bet $6,000 and Benyamine wisely called it. The turn card was the seven of hearts, ending the hopes of either player getting a flush, but putting both on a two-pair, albeit Mizrachi’s being the stronger. With his odds increasing to 91%, Mizrachi bet $16,000, which was called by Benyamine. 

The seven of spades was revealed on the river, putting Benyamine on a full house and winning the round. But before the winner was revealed, Mizrachi, confident of victory, went all in, which Benyamine called, improving the health of his chip stack.

Mikel Habb vs Sam Abernathy

In the 2016 Aussie Millions Main Event, Sam Abernathy went all in with pocket sixes, and Mikel Habb slow-rolled her, eventually calling with pocket kings. He seemed pleased with his decision and confident he’d get the win.

The flop produces a ten, queen and a nine to give Habb a 91% chance of victory. The turn only improves his odds, as another ten appears which boosts his odds of winning to 95%. The river card was the six of spades, leaving Habb on a two-pair, while Abernathy eliminated him from the tournament with a full house.

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