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The 25 Worst Moments in Poker in 2012: 15-11
Police raids, Twitter beefs, sketchy rulings, histrionic crying jags ... the poker world saw a slew of unpleasant moments this year.
And those were only the tip of the iceberg.
Here are a few more unsightly occurences we hope to move on from in 2013.
Catch up with the first part of the 25 Worst Moments series here.
If you're more into celebrating the good times - and thankfully there were plenty of awe-inspiring moments in the poker world this year - check out the 25 Best Moments series here.
15. Amarillo Slim Dies
Chris Moneymaker gets a lot of credit for launching poker into the stratosphere but if it weren’t for Thomas "Amarillo Slim" Preston, he might never have even seen the game himself.
One of the original Texas Road Gamblers alongside Doyle Brunson and Brian “Sailor” Roberts, Slim passed away in April at a hospice near his home at the age of 83.
Slim almost single-handedly put Texas Hold'em on the mainstream map thanks to his WSOP Main Event "win" in 1972 and his appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
From his legendary prop bets to his fast-talking quips, Slim was a pure hustler who shoehorned poker into the American public consciousness.
Because of serious charges laid against him later in life and his longstanding reputation for hustling and/or angle shooting, Slim never fully realized the financial windfall of the poker boom and ultimately died with a lingering cloud over his name and reputation.
Still, there's no denying Preston will always be considered an original poker icon.
14. Mikhail Smirnov Folds Quads Face Up in One Drop
We’ve gone back and forth on whether this was actually a “best” moment of 2012, but the more we go over it the more it ends up here
So "worst" moment it is. The proper place, probably, is on another list altogether. Here's how it went down:
Day 1 of the $1 million Big One for One Drop – the first-ever $1m tournament and the largest buy-in ever. Russian Mikhail Smirnov and UK businessman John Morgan get involved in a hand.
By the end of it, Smirnov is facing a shove for his tournament life from “an excited looking” Morgan (according to Smirnov). With two eights and a straight-flush draw on the board, Smirnov folds pocket eights face-up.
We’re still shaking our heads over it. Genius? Worst fold ever? Somewhat reasonable given Morgan's range? Phil Galfond was at the table and similarly flabbergasted:
@PhilGalfond: Just saw the craziest hand I've ever seen. Guy folded 88 face up on Js87s8sKs.
In the aftermath, Smirnov said physical tells and Morgan's play to that point made it an easy fold. Morgan won't reveal his hand but says Smirnov "made a good fold."
We still don't know what to think. More analysis of the hand here.
13. ADZ goes on Twitter tirade at WSOP
This was not a good year for Matt "ADZ124" Marafioti.
The poker world at large has done its fair share of polluting the Twitter pool but none was more embarrassing than Marafioti’s now-infamous tirade at this year’s World Series of Poker.
Marafioti released a stream of vitriol towards fellow poker pro and ex-girlfriend Lauren Kling that went on for hours and drew a frenzied crowd of onlookers pushing him to even greater depths.
Normally the demons of one person who happens to play poker aren't really a reflection on the community as a whole, but in such a public and nasty form it went well beyond the realm of the personal and into the public poker sphere.
The lust by the poker community for engaging with ADZ in the midst of it was nothing to be proud of either.
The details don’t need to be repeated but suffice to say Marafioti's tweets were as poor a reflection as you can possibly imagine for a well-known poker pro - and one featured in the WSOP ESPN broadcast no less.
He's since apologized, but after an ongoing series of baited/bizarre arguments over the rest of the year no one would be better served by deleting his Twitter account more than Marafioti.
12. ADZ and Aguiar Take Twitter fight to Poker-Room Floor
What’s the only thing worse than Twitter tough-guy posturing? Real-life tough-guy posturing inspired by Twitter tough-guy posturing.
It’s so many layers of sad we don’t even know where to start.
The two loudest tweeters in poker in 2012 actually had their ongoing disputes spill over into real life at the Bicycle Casino in Los Angeles when Marafioti and Jon Aguiar nearly came to blows over, well, it's hard to say exactly what.
An insult-trading, hate-filled Twitter battle between the two had careened from the serious (ADZ's cheating allegations) to the ridiculous (buying Twitter followers) over a few months but when Marafioti showed up with a bodyguard and confronted Aguiar in the poker room it turned from just embarrassing to downright unsavory.
Let's hope nothing even close manifests itself in 2013.
11. Brad Booth Scams WCGRider, Posts Tearful Apology
Gambling addiction has always been a part of the poker world. You may be able to count on the best player winning over time in poker, but the same can’t be said for the pits or sportsbetting.
The number of poker players that have proved it is substantial.
Brad Booth made his name as one of the high-profile TV pros of the early-Moneymaker era and reached his peak, maybe, with his infamous $1m bluff against Phil Ivey on High Stakes Poker.
A victim of the UB superuser scandal, it’s unfortunately been downhill for Booth ever since. He’s left a trail of debt across Canada and Las Vegas and one of those debts came to a head this summer when Doug “WGCRider” Polk called Booth out for fleecing him for $30k.
In a tearful YouTube video released shortly after (since made private), Booth admitted to the poker community he had lost it all in the pits and then lied about it.
He said he needed help and he’d get it, promising to repay both Polk and the poker community for his misdeeds. According to Polk, Booth has been making consistent small payments on his debt but he still has a long way to go to make all of his amends.
More Worst Moments in Poker in 2012:
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