Top 3 Worst Televised Poker Bad Beats of All-Time

By David Huber
September 06, 2023

We’ve all been there.

Just when you think you’re about to take down a huge pot at a poker table – the tides turn and the result is a poker bad beat. A “suck out,” if you will.

Suck outs are the types of things that make you want to leave the table and just try your luck at table games, perhaps slots. Maybe you even leave the casino and log on to one of the top slot sites. Perhaps you’ll get luckier there and win big money. After all, it doesn’t take much skill to win a progressive jackpot; you just have to be at the right slot machine at the right time.

But not all bad beats are equal at the poker felt. Sometimes you’ve just got to take your lumps, but other times they can be exceedingly painful.

In fact, in some rare cases, a poker bad beat can become iconic and make its way into popular culture. Especially when they happen in televised poker tournaments with the eyes of the world on every card!

This may be due to the stakes involved, the anticipation of a significant tournament “pay jump,” or a combination of the two.

Following is a look at three of the worst televised poker bad beats of all-time.

Aces vs. Aces in 2014 WSOP “Big One for One Drop”

The 2014 WSOP “Big One for One Drop” was the second million-dollar charity bracelet event of its kind. After Antonio Esfandiari won the inaugural tournament for record-breaking $18.34 million in 2012, the attention was once again focused on the ultra-high roller poker drama.

With legendary WSOP poker announcers Lon McEachern and Norman Chad in the studio, Connor Drinan and Cary Katz appeared destined for a chopped pot early-on in the million-dollar tourney.

But it was Katz who remained in the tournament, and Drinan who was on the receiving end of one of the worst televised poker bad beats in history when the board four flushed.

Matt Affleck Busts on Bad Beat in 2010 WSOP Main Event

Just imagine… you’ve made it through thousands of players in the annual $10,000 buy-in World Series of Poker Main Event!

You’re down to the final two tables. All you need is a great opportunity to “chip-up” and survive to the November Nine and a chance to win nearly $9,000,000 in prize money along with the coveted WSOP Main Event bracelet!

That was precisely the position Seattle, Washington pro Matt Affleck found himself in at the 2010 WSOP Main Event. If his Pocket Aces held, he would have won the pot and had a substantial portion of the remaining chips in play.

But it just wasn’t meant to be…

To this day, Matt Affleck’s 15th place bustout from the 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event remains one of the most memorable poker bad beats in television history. Despite his $500,000 payday for 15th Place, Affleck arguably lost millions when the ‘8 of Diamonds’ hit the River giving Josh Duhamel a straight and the pot.

The Worst Bad Beat in Televised Poker History?

If it’s a “statistical” bad beat you’re looking for, the 2019 WSOP Poker Players Championship ($50,000 buy-in) was the site of one of the most atrocious poker bad beats ever.

During the 2-7 Triple Draw phase of the PPC final table, Bryce Yockey was looking to “double up” with the second-strongest possible hand in the game: a 7-6-4-3-2 with no flush.

Although poker pro Josh Arieh had a comfortable 4-handed chip lead in the tournament, he was WAY behind Yockey – who was understandably “standing pat” with a monster.

Arieh was dealt A-Q-6-5-3 and quickly discarded the Ace and Queen during the first round. Arieh got another Queen but was also dealt the Two of Hearts. However, the five-time WSOP bracelet winner was still in a “world of hurt,” as poker commentator Nick Schulman put it — with Q-6-5-3-2.

But then the second draw gave Arieh the Four of Diamonds: for a 6-5-4-3-2 Straight that was still a clear loser versus Yockey’s “second nuts.”

With one more draw remaining, could Josh Arieh draw a miracle Seven on his way to yet another World Series of Poker bracelet?

With all the draws that the now six-time bracelet winner had to hit, Arieh’s chances of sending Yockey to the rail with the best 2-7 Triple Draw hand of 7-5-4-3-2 were well under one percent! And yet, that he did.

Bad beats happen every day in poker, but these are definitely among the very worst poker bad beats in televised poker history.



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David Huber poker author
Written By.

David Huber

David Huber has been involved in the poker industry for close to two decades: initially as a professional online poker player and later as an editor, consultant, writer, and forum manager. Known as “dhubermex” online, David’s poker-related work has been heavily published across numerous websites since 2004.

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