5 most controversial moments in WSOP main event history


When you arrange a competition for thousands of poker players in one conventional hall, where every single player is playing for the prize pool worth a million dollars, there is going to be some controversy and aggression. 

This controversy and clash is true for an event as pressure-packed as the World Series of Poker Main Event where there is so much to win and go home with. If anyone makes a simple wrong move, he/she will lose to get a chance of grabbing the huge heap of cash after winning the event. 

While having too much at stake, the player gets pressured up and they have to perform their best to win the event. This pressure is not only for the players but also for the dealers and staff to perform with unbiased mindsets. 

So be alert at every moment so that you don’t end up on a list of five of the most controversial moments from the WSOP main event. 

Koroknai kills his hand 

While going through the Day 5 of the 2012 WSOP Main Event, France’s Gaelle Baumann opened a hand with a minimum raise from under the gun, it folded around to Hungary’s Andras Koroknai in the small blind and he shipped his remaining stack. Poker pro Gavin Smith, in the big blind, folded and the action was back to Baumann. It looked like, with roughly only 100 players left, this was going to be a big moment. And it was a big moment, but for the wrong reasons.

Koroknai couldn’t see that Baumann was in the hand, thinking he was only shipping blind on blind tossed his cards in the muck. 

When he noticed the situation he tried to retrieve his cards, but he couldn’t because of rules and hence he went in with a dead hand. 

But at last, Korokonai eventually eliminated Baumann in 10th place, making her the stone bubble for the 2012 November nine. 

Watch your hands

Accidentally mucking your hands can cause trouble to you. Speaking of the accidental mucking of hands, Estelle Denis was faced with a nightmare scenario during the 2009 WSOP main event while sitting in the nine-seat. 

In this scenario, JC Tran put out a bet of 32k. When the action was on Dennis, she gave in her remaining 142k in chips. The dealer casually reaches behind the shove and takes denis’ cards and pulls them into the muck, and because of this Denis couldn’t win the cards. 

Denis also gets up and tells the floor person about her cards. But unfortunately, she couldn’t get her cards. 

But on the bright side, Denis still finished in 203rd place for $36,626.

Check this out 

In the 2016 main event, William Kassouf had gotten under the skin of everyone in the American room. Out of all the people, William was one of the most controversial characters to hut the main event in years. 

His regular tanking, non-stop speech plays, and rotation of one-liners had helped the London-based pro become the centerpiece of ESPN’s coverage. Despite getting a penalty in the prior main event, Kassouf was in full form when he got involved on the feature table with Toronto poker pro. 

Kassouf was not scared and he continued to prod, looking for Bengar to crack his hands. Kassauf also got in 17th place for over $338,000. 

Mike’s in the middle 

Mike “the Mouth” Matusow, on the top of his game and powers, in the 2005 WSOP main event was in the midst of a verbal sparring match with poker pro-Shawn Skeikhan

When the events were not going in the favor of Shawn he decided to get out of the way and when the flop was laid out, slammed the table. 

Mike was also using abusive words because of all the competitive pressure, and Sheikhan called over tourney director Jack Effel and wanted a penalty slapped on Mike. 

This incident led to a rivalry that would last entirely off the main event. Both players were abusing each other because of which they both got 10 minute penalties in the game. 

But Sheikhan fortunately finished the main event in the 11th position for $600,000 and Mike in 9th place for $1,000,000.

“I’ll take your head off”

The most famous controversy comes from the 2006 WSOP main event when a young Prahlad “Poker is fun” Friedman mixed it up with six-time bracelet winner, Jeffrey Lisandro

After a 5k ante missed preflop, Lisandro insisted he’d put his in. On the other hand, Friedman thought he saw the player on his right, Dustin Holmes, put the ante in. 

Lisandro was basically robbing the ante, but he kept his cool for a minute or two. The next thing you know Friedman is up talking to the floor staff pleading his point that “he’s been in poker long enough” to know what Lisandro was up to. 

Friedman complains that Lisandro just threatened to “knock his teeth out”. But Friedman was wrong, by the way; the cameras clearly saw Lisandro ante.