There’s never been a better time to be a fan of televised poker cash games; High Stakes Poker is stronger than ever, HCL regularly hosts huge games, and there are a number of other streams and programs offering high-quality cash game entertainment with some of the biggest names in the business. When you get a table full of elite players and huge stacks of cash on the table, you know that there are gonna be fireworks.
In this post, we’ll be looking at the top five biggest televised cash game hands, so hold onto your hats - it’s going to be a bumpy ride!
Back in May of 2023, Hustler Casino Live launched their $1,000,000 cash game, where the minimum buy-in for each player was a cool million. With big names in the game like Tom Dwan, Doug Polk, and Nik Airball, everyone was foaming at the mouth to watch big stacks fly back and forth - and that’s exactly what happened in this hand.
This hand is not only the biggest ever televised cash game hand, but it’s also one of the most dramatic in how it plays out. The $2,000 straddle is on with blinds of $500/$1, 000 and a $3,000 ante. LSG Hank raises to $7,000, and Doug Polk announces that he has seen Wesley’s hand. Despite knowing that Doug knows what he has, Wesley makes the 3bet with AdKh to $30,000.
Doug gets out of the way, and the action folds to Dwan with QsQc, who puts in the 4bet to $100,000 even. Everyone else folds, and the action is back on Wesley. Tom Dwan was the effective stack to start the hand with $1.5 million, so they’re playing super deep. They’re also playing the stand-up game, where the last player to win a hand has to pay out to everyone else at the table - Wesley has already won a hand, but Tom Dwan hasn’t.
With all that information running through his head, along with the fact that he knows that Doug has seen his hole cards, Wesley puts in a 5bet to $275,000. Dawn makes the call, and we see a flop with over $550,000 in the middle. The flop is 8d8s3d, giving Dwan an overpair and Wesley a backdoor nut flush draw with two overs. Dwan checks to Wesley, who makes a small bet of $125,000. Dwan makes a quick call, and the two see the turn.
The 5h hits the turn, and Dwan checks again. This time Wesley fires out a bet of $350,000, putting Dwan in a tough spot. However, after some deliberation, Dwan makes another call. The inconsequential 6c hit the river, leaving Wesley with just ace-high. He knows he’ll likely have to bluff if he wants to win the hand, so he quickly puts Dwan all-in for $786,000 effective.
Dwan gets up to get a water, and Wesley puts his head in his arms to prevent Dwan from picking up any tells. Tom runs through everything that happened in the hand, agonising over what’s clearly a huge decision. After a 3-minute tank, he eventually puts in a stack of chips to make the call. Wesley turns over AK and Dwan quickly flips up his QQ to win an over $3 million pot.
After losing such a big pot, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Wesley would want to take a bit of a break from poker - maybe permanently. But no, he got back on the horse, reloaded his stack, and set about winning his money back. At this point, the stakes have been kicked up slightly, we’re still playing $500/$1000, but there’s a $5K big blind ante. LSG Hank raises to $3K with QdQc from UTG, and Wesley kicks it up to $15K with Ah7h. Hank quickly puts in the 4bet to $50K, and, perhaps still tilting from his last big hand, he 5bets his A7 to $130K.
After a bit of deliberation, Hank makes the call, and the two see a flop. There is over $250K in the middle, and Wesley has close to $1 million behind. The flop comes Td7d6c, a wet board that gives Wesley middle pair while Hank still has the overpair. Wesley makes a small bet of $80K, and Hank makes the call.
The miracle 7s hit the turn, giving Wesley trips, and leaving Hank drawing to just two outs. With over $420K in the pot, Wesley bets $325,000, leaving himself nearly $600,000 behind. This is a huge decision for Hank, and after a few minutes, he makes the call.
The river brings the 5d, completing the flush, but after Hank checks, Wesley snap-shoves all-in for his remaining $584,000 and immediately assumes the same position as he did against Dwan. Hank turns his hand over while making his decision to try and garner some sympathy from the table. After evaluating the hand and doing a bit of “red or black” with his queens, he makes the call, and Wesley slams down his A7 to claim an over $2 million pot.
Before Hustler Casino Live came along with its Million Dollar Cash Game, the place to find your nosebleed cash game action was on the Triton tour. Some of the biggest names in the game regularly battled it out with some of the richest businessmen for eye-watering amounts of money.
Back in 2018, Jason Koon and Kane Kalas would butt heads in a pot that, at the time, was the largest ever in televised poker history. The blinds were €2000/€4000 in the Triton Montenegro cash game, and everyone was sitting with at least €1,000,000, or close to it. This hand starts with an €11,000 raise from Jason Koon with AhQc; Mikita Badziakouski calls with 98c in the small blind, and Kane Kalas squeezes with TsTh from the big blind to €55,000.
Rather than calling and seeing a flop, Koon decides to 4bet to €120,000. Mikita quickly folds, and after some deliberation, Kane makes the call. The two players see a flop of 6s5d3h and Kane checks over to Jason who makes a c-bet of €128,000. With his overpair, Kane makes the call.
The Tc on the turn gives Kane top set and leaves Jason Koon drawing dead. Kane checks once more, and Jason makes another small bet, this time only €160,000. After debating whether or not to call or raise, Kane makes the call. The river is the Ad, bad news for Jason who has sized down on the turn to set up a river shove.
Kane checks one more time, and Koon quickly shoves for around €500,000 effective and is snapped off by Kane with his set of tens. While it was “only” €1.8 million, it was the first televised pot to cross the $2 million value threshold - a landmark in televised poker.
No Gamble, No Future is a relatively new addition to the world of high-stakes cash game TV shows, but it’s garnered a number of fans in its short run time thanks to the huge stakes and fast-paced action. Despite the size of the pot, this hand was over in under five minutes!
The blinds for this game were $1,000/$2,000 with a $2,000 big blind ante, and Eric Persson kicked off the hand by raising to $7,000 with Qh9h. Rob Yong called with Ac2c from the button before Patrik Antonius squeezed from the small blind with AhKh to $30,000. Persson quickly called and Rob also called, so they went three ways to the flop.
The flop was an interesting one - 8h3h2c, giving both Antonius and Persson a flush draw and Rob a backdoor straight and flush draw. Antonius was first to act, and he made a c-bet of $40,000. Persson then immediately raised to $140,000, Rob got out of the way, and the action was back on Antonius. He clicked it back to $250,000, and Persson insta-called.
The As on the turn locked up the hand for Antonius who had a little over a pot size bet left behind him. Antonius made a small bet of $150,000 on the turn, and it didn’t take long for Perrson to shove for $692,000 total. Patrick made the call and showed Eric the bad news, that he was drawing dead. The inconsequential Js hit the river, and Patrik took down the biggest cash game pot in American TV history.
We’re back in Montenegro for our final hand, and the stakes have been increased even further! The blinds are still €2,000/€4,000, but now there’s a €10,000 big blind ante to be paid, meaning that there’s €16,000 in the pot before anyone’s been dealt a card! Jason opens to €13,000 with 6h5h from UTG with a €1.3 million stack and gets a call from Paul Phua in the CO with 8s6s. Dwan calls on the button with AcTd, and Elton Tsang also makes the call from the small blind with Kd7d. The big blind gets out of the way, and we go four to the flop.
The flop comes Ad8h7h, giving Dwan top pair, Phua middle pair, Tsang bottom pair and a backdoor flush draw, and Koon an open-ended straight flush draw - an action flop to say the least! The action checks round to Dwan on the button, who makes a bet of €24,000 with his top pair. Tsang calls with his K7, and Jason check-raises to €100,000.
The action folds around to Dwan, who reluctantly lets go of his top pair hand. This just leaves Elton Tsang in the hand, who makes the unconventional 3-bet to €324,000. With so much equity, Jason is never going to fold, but he decides to call and play in position rather than raise and get it in against what he likely thinks is a set.
The Qd on the turn doesn't improve Koon’s hand and actually gives Tsang the nut flush draw to go with his bottom pair. Tsang bets €390,000 into a €736,000 pot, leaving himself with just €540,000 behind. Jason still has a massive draw and decides that he should see a river, so he makes the call, growing the pot to €1.4 million.
The river is the 4c, giving Jason Koon the nut straight, leaving Tsang with just a pair of sevens. Tsang deliberated continuing to bluff, but eventually checked over to Jason, who shoved for his last €574,000. This sent Tsang into the tank, as he seriously considered calling with just a pair of sevens. In the end, he made the fold, and Koon took down the pot - a pot that saw him move into the black, even after losing a million with AQ against Kane Kalas earlier in the session.
We’ve seen some absolutely insane hands over the years, and as the cash games continue to grow, we won’t have to wait too long before we see a newcomer on this list. Who knows, maybe one of our PokerDeals readers can rise through the ranks and battle it out against the best of the best?
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