By: Jason Lake
The 2016 World Series of Poker Main Event is coming down to the November Nine, and if it hadn't been for an incredibly bad beat, Shane Warne might have been among them. The former Australian cricket star was sitting on a decent 100K stack early in Day 2C when he was dealt pocket Aces – and had them cracked by King-Queen offsuit. On the very next hand, Warne was dealt Aces again. They got cracked, too, by pocket Sixes.
“Never been so angry in my life,” Warne tweeted soon after. But look at the bright side: He didn't get his Aces cracked by pocket Aces, like Conor Drinan did at the inaugural $1-million Big One for One Drop in 2014. At the time, ESPN's Lon McEachern said it might have been “the worst beat in the history of tournament poker.” Given the money that was at stake, it's hard to argue.
Then again, imagine getting your quad Aces cracked. That's what happened to Motoyuki Mabuchi at the 2008 WSOP Main Event. Mabuchi had a set of Aces when the Ace of Diamonds showed up on the river; he got it all in, only to be shown a royal flush by Justin Philips. The odds of that happening are something like 2.7 billion to one.
At least Mabuchi took it well, even if he nearly fell over stunned as he left the table. Two years later, the Bad Beat Express flattened Matt Affleck at the WSOP Main Event. With the final table in sight, Affleck was dealt Pocket Rockets. Jonathan Duhamel was dealt two Jacks. All the money went in on the turn, Duhamel made a straight on the river, and Affleck doubled over like he'd been kicked in the stomach.
Cry Me a River
This is all part of what makes the One Drop and the Main Event so special. With all that money and prestige at stake, every hand increases dramatically in importance. There was a 21% chance that Duhamel was going to win that hand on the river, but Affleck was this close to making the November Nine. Duhamel, of course, went on to win the Main Event and nearly $9 million in prize money.
Affleck? No need to feel too sorry: He finished 15th for a consolation prize of $500,000. And he's done quite well for himself since, including a third-place finish at this year's WSOP $1,500 No Limit Hold'em event. Drinan has earned north of $7 million since his Aces got cracked by Aces. Even Mabuchi went on to cash nine more times at the WSOP. Life goes on.