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The Top Five Bluffs in Poker History

  The American novelist Jack London once said: “Life is not always a matter of holding good cards, but sometimes, playing a poor hand well.” And there in lies the art of the bluff.

he following five videos show some of the best proponents of bluffing in the game. They are masters of convincing their opponents that they’ve got a good hand when in fact they’ve got at best a high card and at worst nothing. In these situations, getting your opponents to fold, especially when they’re rocking pocket aces or kings from the off, is all about nerve, reading your fellow players, and tactical bets. If you want to learn from the best, just read on

1) Ivey v Jackson

This is a recurring entry in the bluffing hall of fame. Phil Ivey, the ‘Tiger Woods of Poker’, out-bluffs a bluffing Phil ‘Action’ Jackson in this Heads-up in Monte Carlo for a million dollars. To set the scene, there is already $44,000 in the pot and Ivey has queen-eight suited while Jackson had six-five off-suit. The flop throws up 7C JC JH, completely missing both players but it’s the ensuing raising war that is the real action. Ivey raises 80,000, Jackson then raises 170,000. Ivey counters by making it 320,000, then Jackson on a whim raises to 470,000. After a lot of consideration, Ivey calls all-in and Jackson folds. Genius.

2) Dwan v Eastagte

In this clip, Tom Dwan demonstrates his fantastic knack at hand-reading: he is all but certain that his opponents have got better hands than him (something he proves post-hand) but aggressive betting and a shedload of cojones mean he wins the pot with the worst hand. After the flop (2C 10D 2S), Dwan is up against Greenstein’s two pair with pocket aces and Eastgate’s triple deuces, but represents a full-house by bluffing pocket tens and, in doing so, immortalised himself in poker history.

3) Haxton v Daut

In this heads-up on the world poker tour, Isaac Haxton pulls off the bravest all-in imaginable with only a three-high. He’s worked out that Ryan Daut, who only has a seven-high, is bluff-raising too but it took nerves of steel to risk going out of the tournament on such a weak hand. This was Haxton’s first time in the live arena after a successful online career, he had less chips, and there’s over $1.5m on the table – making it that more astounding.

4) Dwan v George

It might seem like overkill to include Dwan again but this bluff will go down in history purely because Dwan beats George with the worst hand in poker, 7-2 off-suit, in the Million Dollar Challenge. The genius of the play is that Tom Dwan announces that he has seven-deuce and Sammy George flat-out doesn’t believe him. George lands two pair with aces and sixes on the flop yet Dwan manages to psyche him out. Pure poker

5) Moneymaker v Farha

The final table of the World Series of Poker in 2003 and Chris Moneymaker has nothing after the last river card falls but goes all-in. Farha has the best hand with a pair of nines but no matter how much he tries to get Moneymaker to show something, he can’t risk going all in as well and crashing out of the tournament. This bluff led to Moneymaker’s victory and it would be eight years until the pair met again in a grudge match where he again came out winner.

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