The 25 Worst Moments in Poker in 2012: 25-21

Phil Hellmuth
So much to love, so much to wince about.

We much, much preferred putting together our list of the 25 Best Moments in Poker in 2012, but we’d be remiss not to mention some of the darker ones too.

As we’re poignantly reminded every time we have a Facts of Life marathon/sleepover, you take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have… the facts of life

There were a lot of truly great moments in poker in 2012. But there were quite a few we’d be best served to learn from and/or forget. These are them, ranked in a semblance of order.

If you're more of a brightside kind of person, try our 25 Best Moments in Poker in 2012.

25) Old Ladies in Cyprus Raided for Playing Poker

We’ve seen this “poker raid” scenario play out in several forms across dozens of countries but this may be the lowest one yet.

policeraid
Enough with the police raids. Seriously.
 

A group of 40+ women in their 70s and older used to meet every week in Cyprus to pass a few Cypriot pounds around in a lighthearted poker-and-bridge game.

After getting wind of this egregious breach of Cyprus law, armed officers raided the game and booked them all on gambling charges.

Included among those issued court summons were a 98-year-old and two other very old ladies WHO DIED before Cyprus police came to their senses and dropped the charges.

We get it. Archaic poker laws are still on the books in many countries. If there’s ever been a case to look the other way - and the mostly all are - this was it.

Just stop it, please. Poker is not a crime.

24) Hellmuth Cries in Parking Lot, Pimps Poker Calculator

There aren’t too many more polarizing figures in poker than Phil Hellmuth. So much to love! And then so much to wince at.

The complex entity that is Phil Hellmuth somehow managed to capture it all in just three tweets this summer after busting out of the $50k Players Championship at the WSOP. The tweets:

Nothing short of amazing. Carry on, Phil, carry on.

23) Brandon Cantu “Robbed” After “Best Performance in History”

Brandon Cantu
Valid points; atrocious delivery method.
 

Speaking of polarizing poker figures, Brandon Cantu has long had a reputation as a guy who comes from the Hellmuth school of persecution complexes.

A little less high-profile maybe, but equally unable to get out of his own way and see things from a more reasonable point of view.

He furthered that rep this Fall after a Hellmuthian-inspired runner-up finish/epic rant post-defeat at the 2012 WSOPE.

Long story short, Cantu was dominating his heads-up match against Jon Aguiar in the €10k Mixed Max event and nearing a bracelet when they ran out of time (the casino had to close at 5 am per French law).

Because the final Main Event Day 1 was the next day, WSOP TD Jack Effel postponed the heads-up match for a day so they could still play.

When they resumed, Aguiar regained his lost momentum and went on to win. Cantu then decided the ruling was unfair as it gave Aguiar a chance to consult with his friends, adjust his game and spoil the “best performance in WSOP history."

Watch his video rant here. Cantu complained so much he even got Aguiar to agree to a follow-up match for the difference in prize money (which he won).

22) Andrew Feldman Melts Down, Quits Poker

Once a promising young high-stakes player in the UK, Andrew Feldman did little to help his already deteriorating image when he melted down in glorious fashion on the Party Poker Premier League this Spring (technically it happened in 2011 but it aired in April).

Heads-up against Andy Frankenberger for the title, Feldman was equal parts histrionic, erratic and obnoxious before he ultimately lost the match and his dignity. Nothing quite explains it like the clip:


Shortly after this aired, Feldman went down that classic road of introspection and denial involving a Twitter war with Sam Trickett over an outstanding debt, an appearance on the British TV show Secret Millionaire as a philanthropist and a cameo getting a rubdown on reality show Hotel GB.

Feldman has since "retired' from poker. It’s still painful to watch him in this clip but the Luke Schwartz/Jesse May commentary is worth it.

21. Josh Arieh Retires From Poker

Josh Arieh
Say it ain't so, Josh.
 

Speaking of poker retirees, we like Josh Arieh a lot. He’s one of those guys that reminds us why we got into poker in the first place.

He seemed to make a good living. Had some big scores. Got a sponsorship deal. Made it look kind of easy, even. He also didn’t seem like some sort of hyper genius doing something we couldn’t do.

Just a guy who liked to gamble, was pretty good at it, and was living the dream.

He’d tailed off a bit on the big-score front lately but still seemed to be able to grind out a living. Then this tweet came in at the end of a very trying WSOP:

We followed up with an interview during the Main Event and Arieh confirmed he was giving up the ghost:

“I’m not thinking about it, I am [retiring from poker],” he said. “This is my last tournament until the next WSOP. To me, poker is not what it used to be.”

“Poker is really tough. Kids got so good. Instead of poolroom hustlers and gamblers it turned into freaking geniuses. Kids that are making 1600 on the SATs.”

He's since played a $10k at the Bellagio and will be back for the 2013 WSOP, we hope, but still. If we can't keep guys like Arieh in the game, we're all worse off for it.

More of 2012's Worst Moments in Poker:

You May Also Like

assets/photos/_resampled/croppedimage12580-IMG7481.jpg

The Success Principles of Poker: Be Clear Why You Are Here

Do you believe that poker is a microcosm of life?

23 July 2014
assets/photos/_resampled/croppedimage12580-Screen-shot-2014-07-23-at-10.07.18-AM.png

Daily 3-Bet: Ike on Rogan, Bilzerian on Stern, Paying Off Doyle

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a comfortable sofa, a Blue Yeti USB mic and all the time in the world for arrest-filled anecdotes on the...

23 July 2014 1
assets/photos/_resampled/croppedimage12580-IMG3892.JPG

Daily 3-Bet: Naoya Near-Miss, Nadal Fire, Neymar Poker Table Fail

The PokerListings Daily 3-Bet is a stack of milk crates, a tattered Turkish Kilim and an impromptu poker news home game every bit as good...

22 July 2014 1
assets/photos/_resampled/croppedimage12580-IMG1454.jpg

Rant: 5 Ways to Make an Excellent WSOP Event More Excellent

After interviewing over 60 poker players during my six-week sojourn to Sin City, I feel I'm qualified to answer the two questions tweeted out by...

20 July 2014

Please fill the required fields correctly!

Error saving comment!

You need to wait 3 minutes before posting another comment.

Comment added. Thank you!

trk1 2012-12-31 14:50:07

We'll see if he can stay away

flipz 2012-12-31 14:49:49

That busting old ladies playing poker was the worst story of the year. What a waste of manpower.

nottom 2012-12-22 09:59:51

I have to say that I disagree on the fact that we are all worse off because a guy like Josh Arieh quits poker. I think it is a bit refreshing that a guy that has had a pretty solid career is self aware enough to know that his game hasn't kept pace with the new breed of poker players. Rather than hanging borrowing money to stay afloat like many players, he has decided to do that smart thing and get out before it's too late. I'm sure he will be successful at whatever new venture he decided to pursue.