Pulling off a sick bluff on a nationally televised poker show is like "Mozgoving" a player on The NBA on TNT. Or making a one-handed touchdown catch on Monday Night Football. Or hitting a walk-off home run on Sunday Night Baseball. Poker players are far removed from professional athletes physically, but when the prime-time lights turn on, the cream often rises to the top. The best players want to perform at the highest level for everyone to see.
The following list contains our 10 favourite bluffs captured on television. Some are from cash games, others are from tournaments, but all left us with our mouths agape and our jaws on the floor.
10. Dwan Reps Quads — Premiere League Sit-and-Go
Tom Dwan moved all in with air while JC Tran had the best hand with an ace on an board. After checking to Dwan on the river, allowing for Dwan to shove, many would argue that it should have been an insta-call for Tran, but against Dwan, who knows what this guy is ever really playing with.
9. Please Check the River — Poker After Dark
After Tom Dwan checked the flop, and turn, he came over Phil Laak to check-raise to $84,700 in a $16,850 pot. “I’ll pay you $200 to check the river,” said Laak, who then folded after even showing his cards in an attempt to get a reaction from a stone-cold Dwan.
8. Betting in the Dark — High Stakes Poker
Normally a bluff in poker is to get your opponent to fold a better hand than yours, but on this day it was Sammy Farha with the better hand trying to bluff that he really didn't have aces against Jamie Gold's pocket kings. One has to think this could only work if you truly have an image such as Sammy Farha does at the tables — totally unpredictable.
7. Scotty Thought it was Blackjack — 2003 WSOP Main Event
Scotty Nguyen four-bet with eight-three off-suit. “I bet $100,000 with this hand baby!” Enough said.
6. How Much Do You Have? - Poker After Dark
When Bob Safai agreed to appear on Poker After Dark, he probably knew that there would be staunch competition. What he didn't know is that Tom "durrrr" Dwan would stuff $133,200 in has face with just eight-high. Poor Bob Safai.
5. Ivey's Angry at Barry — High Stakes Poker
is a folding hand to most, but for Phil Ivey, it's the perfect two cards to shove all in for $197,000 preflop. Ivey got Lex Veldhuis to fold his holding to win a pot worth $256,700.
4. Durrrr Gonna Durrrr — High Stakes Poker
Combine Tom Dwan’s aggressive plays with spectacular hand reading and you have a notable ploy against some of poker's finest. When Barry Greenstein opened with aces under the gun, and every player called, it provoked Dwan to run the table and take charge, getting Peter Eastgate to lay down trips.
3. This is Beyond Fairytale — 2003 WSOP Main Event
In one of the most important moments in poker history, then amateur, Chris Moneymaker turned a semibluff into an all out lie against Sammy Farha. Moneymaker is credited for igniting the poker boom showcasing that you don’t have to be a professional to play the game.
2. "That Cash Just Looks So Sweet" — High Stakes Poker
Brad Booth risked an all in of $300,000 in bricks of cash to get Phil Ivey to fold his kings. Only thing about that, is that Booth only had a gut-shot straight draw with on a flop.
1. Ivey Can't Make the Call — High Stakes Poker
Tom Dwan may be one of the most unpredictable cash-game players out there and combined with the impressive skills of Phil Ivey, you get one of the most memorable bluffs on television. Dwan three-barrels an impressive move on Ivey with just nine-high in a pot that soared to $676,000.
What's your favourite bluff? Let us know in the comments section below or on Twitter.
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