Some of the best & worst poker reactions

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Professional poker is high stakes, high octane, high everything. Hundreds and thousands of dollars, pounds, and Euros are called and raised for pots that can make or break a player’s career. For the casual poker player flipping cards at the best online casinos, this might seem like a daunting prospect but these guys (and girls) eat chips for breakfast - and not the potato kind!

Because of that, winners can lose their inhibitions and celebrate more wildly than usual. That also means losers take defeats to heart (no pun intended). From pre-flop celebrations to bad beats, we look at some of the best and worst reactions in poker.

The Krocodile snaps!

We start the list off with a Czech (again, no pun intended). The Krocodile is actually an amateur poker player but his unorthodox style means he can pull off some quirky plays and this is a fine example. From a 36% chance of winning the 100k pot, a 9 of hearts and an Ace of hearts were drawn which meant he won the pot with a flush. Cue a rambling celebration and a fist pumping reminiscent of Kriss Akabusi.

Györgyi Krisztián goes wild

Imagine being a qualifier and making a Full House on the river (the last card drawn by the dealer). That’s what happened to Hungarian player Györgyi Krisztián when a 4 of hearts was drawn. His exclamations were quite colourful, shall we say, but we can’t blame him. Players and spectators from other tables later started rounds of applause. Emphatic scenes!

Balkin bawling at the death

As you’ll see in this list, you must never celebrate too early. David Balkin was up to a 75% chance of winning his pot when after the turn card was drawn. At that stage, the pot was at 1,630,000 and Balkin added another million. His opponent, Gaelle Baumann, called it. The river card was a 4 of hearts, giving Baumann a Flush. Balkin went all in as did Baumann. This raised the pot to 7,390,000. All the cards were drawn and Balkin thought he’d won… until someone pointed out he’d lost. The defeat left him with just 25% of his stack left and a look of sheer embarrassment.


Scott Fischman “catches” a bracelet

You’ve gotta love a poker comeback. Fischman is a 2-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner and both wins came at the same tournament in 2004. The second of those wins came against Joe Awada, himself a WSoP bracelet winner. Awada had an 80% chance of winning with two pairs and only the river card to draw. Fischman was all-in at this point. The river card was drawn and it was a 7 of spades giving Fischman the win against all odds. On the second hand, down 42%, Fischman won again with a high pair and took the bracelet and literally laid across the table.

It’s up to the gods”

What was that about celebrating too early? That’s precisely what Mike "The Mouth" Matusow did when he faced Scott Lazar at the 2005 WSoP. Lazar was up by 82% all-in when a King was drawn and the tide turned. Now Matusow was 86% up with only the turn and river cards left. A deuce of hearts was drawn, knocking him down slightly but he was still up by a hefty amount. Matusow was already out of his seat celebrating with his family when a Jack of hearts was drawn. Lazar won and Matusow was left utterly distraught.

The Wrath of Khan

This is certainly one of the more animated celebrations in this list. The American, nicknamed “RainKhan” after a Mortal Kombat character, reached the final table at the WSoP in 2007 where he finished sixth earning close to $1m. His celebrations were so exuberant that a "Hevad Khan Rule" was created to “disallow boisterous celebrations from any player”. I feel like winning nearly $1m and having a rule named after you at the WSoP is almost better than winning a bracelet. Almost.

Kenny Tran makes a “Top 250 call in poker history”

The Vietnamese-born poker player has 13 money finishes under his belt at the WSoP but his call against Roy Winston has gone down in legend. Before the river card was revealed, Tran had to decide what to do next and verbalized his concerns. In the end, he called Winston and won the pot worth $2.6m. And that’s why they call him “Sick Call” Kenny Tran. He called himself a genius and requested someone else at the table to do so, but he politely declined.

Last call for Raymer and Williams

Of all the celebrations, this might be the most muted but there’s a tension in the air that none of the other plays had. Greg Raymer (nicknamed “Fossilman”) faced David Williams for the chance to win the World Series of Poker 2004. It came down to the final hand. Raymer looked like Dr Robotnik/Eggman with hair and Williams had a Denzel Washington vibe about him. By the end, they were all in and had the same hand - a full house. But Raymer’s was better and once all the cards were revealed, Raymer was champion. He exclaimed with joy, threw his shades down, and commiserated Williams.

Tony G Gets Grizzly

Tony G is notorious for his bravado and calling out of players (to the point of annoyance). In this clip, he plays against Russian player Ralph Perry and what came next was quite brutal. In 2006, Perry reached the semi final of the first ever Intercontinental Poker Championship but during the match, Tony G began berating him and wiped him out. But beating Perry wasn’t enough and Tony G went all in on his opponent in more ways than one. It’s interesting to note, Tony G is now a Lituanian Member of Parliament and, given the fact his nation was occupied by the former Soviet Union, you can maybe see where the vitriol came from.

Luke Schwartz “pwns” David Benyamine

And last but not least, it’s Luke Schwartz. If you want to see any poker player who talks the talk, it’s this guy. In Season 4 Episode 16 of the Party Poker Premier League (not to be mistaken for the Premier League betting). Schwartz went all in to show who was boss and on this occasion, it was him. And then the onslaught began against Benyamine.

"In your eye David Benyamine! You think you can angle me?!?! You just got so pwned!"


"Thinks he's 10 years older than me so he knows!"


Benyamine took the defeat on the chin and lived to fight another day.