Gillian Epp: The Time I Played a $150k Pot at Bellagio $10/$20 NL

Published on 25 February 2015 by Pokerlistings 4604

What if you had a chance to win the biggest pot of your life, but you had to risk your entire bankroll to do it? Canadian cash-game pro Gillian Epp looks back on the defining moment of her career, a massive $150,000 pot at a $10/$20 No-Limit game at Bellagio in 2009. Epp is the latest player featured in's ongoing video series Best Poker Moments, along with Brad Booth and Annette Obrestad. Epp tells the story of withdrawing her entire bankroll from the casino cage, in cash, and putting it on the table against a wealthy amateur who had her covered. It wasn't long before she had a shot at doubling up, but actually making the call and putting everything on the line was harder than she expected. Watch the video for the full story and keep an eye out for more Best Poker Moments coming soon.

In 2009 I was attending the 1020 cash games in Vegas very regularly. I was basically flying from Vancouver to Vegas every week and playing Thursday, Friday, Saturday in Vegas and then coming back to Vancouver where I had a dog for the rest of the week. So it was right before Christmas, I was at Ballagio. This billionaire walks up to me who I had been playing now fairly regularly, he comes to Vegas twice a year and he goes to Texas once a year so I've seen him a few times at this Ballagio game and he's an excellent player to have on the table. Him and I have had our ups and downs but now we are friends. So he comes up to me and taps me on the shoulder and he's like, "I was just playing black jack." And he pulls out a whole stack of, at that time they had cranberry chips which were the 25Ks so almost a whole stack which is close to 500K. He was like, "I was just playing black jack I won, I want to come play poker is there a seat?" So we talk to the floor and the floor says, "Okay, we'll just add another chair." So now we're playing 10 handed at the 1020 no limit. With this guy at the table, I did something very stupid. I went to the cash and I took out all of the money I had in Vegas at that time which was about $80,000 all in cash and I just stuck it behind my chips on the table. Before, I had like 5K on the table and now I have about $80,000 on the table. And my guy sits down, my billionaire friend with his stack of cranberries.

So he had over 100K, so he had me covered but I just put the money on the table, played a few hands. Then him and I got involved in a hand heads up where I had king 7 of spades. We get to the river and I hit runner, runner, second nut flush. I'm out of position against him and I lead $800 into a $1700 pot and he instantly with tons of confidence says, "All in." You could probably see all the blood rush from my face like I turned completely white. I have the second nuts but that's not what I was thinking. I was thinking, "I don't have the nuts, this is my entire bankroll." Now I begin to think, "Should, I fold? I could fold. No one has to know that I am folding the second nut with king high flush here. No one has to know." And then I start thinking about, "Well the pot was so small, and this is so much money there is just absolutely no point in calling. But what if I'm right?" And then he says something, he's says and we're friends now at this point so he's normally pretty honest with me like he doesn't normally lie to me and he says to me, "Fold, I have you beat." And I said to him, "Oh, you have a flush?" And he kinda like stumbled like as if he didn't even realize that there was a flush. Like I said it was runner, runner so it was really weird for someone to have a flush there so he kind of stumbled around and then didn't answer my question. But he went from being really confident to not being really confident so at that point I knew I had to call. With all the confidence in the world he turns over he slams down on the table and says, "Two pair."

And now I was so embarrassed that I tanked for so long and now I have to show this hand. And so then I show him my second nut flush and that was a defining moment because had I lost that hand I don't know if I would still be playing poker. I would have had to rebuild everything. A lot went through my head and folding was definitely the easier way out of it. But, as you said, it was like a rounders moment and it worked out in my favor.