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My Worst Poker Moment

My Worst Poker Moment
by Daniel Johnson of

Sometimes everyone gets the jitters when they are in a big pot or situation where a lot of money is at stake. I have had my share of nice wins in poker, but I've also succumb to my own nerves at times in live games and really made a fool of myself. My worst poker moment doesn't involve blowing an entire paycheck on a bodacious bluff or getting heaved from a live card room by two 250 pound guards. No, mine involves a simple stupid mistake, that instead of costing me a lot of moolah, just made me look….well…stupid.

It all began innocently enough. A friend and I decided to head down to the local card room for a weekend tournament. The buy in was a modest $35, but the monetary loss couldn't match the hit that my pride took that day.

I strolled into the poker room full of confidence at first. With my Full Tilt Poker hat on and plenty of recent online wins, I was feeling like I was going to have a good night. I hadn't played live in a while and was a bit nervous stepping up to real green felt, but it wasn't like this was my first rodeo. Previous to this night, I had won plenty of money in games in Reno, Las Vegas not to mention this very card room.

The tournament began as did some table talk between me and some of my opponents. To my right was a guy I talked poker with often, on my beer runs to the convenience store next to my apartment where he worked. I would often come in late, again with my Full Tilt gear on and he would notice and strike up a conversation. My embarrassment was magnified later because people I actually knew would be witnesses and probably think I was a donkey afterwards.

I was getting short stacked and looked down at pocket nines in late position. The second break in the tournament was fast approaching and I decided here that I would probably make my stand with the nines, barring any crazy action in front of me.


An older gentleman in front of me raised and a younger guy flat called. This is it. I didn't have enough chips to simply flat call and see a flop, then fold if it wasn't good, so I made the shove. The only problem was I made my shove out of turn.

Now, I've made moves out of turn before and yes, it is embarrassing, especially in a live card room with people I know at the table. But that wasn't the worst part. I raised THREE SEATS OUT OF POSITION. It wasn't even close to my turn to act! The entire table laughed for about three minutes while the dealer sorted out what happened.

I, myself couldn't believe it. I've never even seen new players do that. I guess I just didn't look up and for some reason thought the action was to me. Whatever the case may have been, the fact remained that I still wanted to move all in, not to try and double up, but so I could go home and avoid the disbelieving staring eyes and uncontrollable chuckles of my tablemates.

Then the floor person had to come over and the dealer explained what had happened. This prolonged the experience with the table talking about how dumb I was. It was then decided that since I was out of turn, I got to take my bet back and wait for the others to act. They all folded and then I shoved all in again, this time with a more somber declaration that my tournament life was at risk.

The original raiser and the flat caller both called. They checked down to the river and revealed their hole cards. One of them inexplicably had the other two nines and the other player had Ace-King, which had paired a King on the river. And thus I was eliminated.

I decided to walk next door to the bar and have a drink, while my friend remained in the tournament. Normally I would have stayed and cheered him on, but I just had to get the hell out of there.

Some people call busting out of a poker tournament "The Walk of Shame". I can tell you that it's way more shameful when you go out as I did.

My poker career has had it's up and downs like everyone else and from that day I went on to many more wins. I also can't say I've ever done anything that embarrassing in a card room since. Now I can look back and laugh at myself and know that we all have our worst moments. And in poker at least, that was mine.


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