Ten of the Best Poker Meltdowns in History

By Ian John
July 12, 2023

Poker is intense and when players go, it can be an unedifying site to see them have a poker meltdown.


    However, it can also be hilariously funny. Especially when the player in question is one who has a reputation for the amateur dramatics.

    Sit down Phil Hellmuth, we’ll be getting to you shortly!

    The Poker Brat will feature heavily in this top ten, ostensibly because he is, well, The Poker Brat.

    But Hellmuth is by no means the only player who has had a meltdown at the table.

    So if you have ever screamed at the screen when someone cracks your pocket aces with offsuit 5 and 7 at bet365 Poker, then this is the list for you.

    Ten Best Poker Meltdowns

    10. Hustler Casino Live – Phil Hellmuth tangles with the wrong Beast

    YouTube video

    You have to scroll forward to the end of this hand (sorry Doug, your analysis is great, but Phil’s meltdown is fabulous).

    Phil is in the pot with a pair of nines and after a lot of early action, we end up with The Poker Brat taking on Mr Beast.

    Yes, that Mr Beast of YouTube fame.

    Mr Beast has a pair of queens and he almost wipes out Hellmuth with a 25k bet after the river. Hellmuth, for some reason, calls. Then when he sees the hand that has beaten him, he is happy to explain why Mr Beast played awfully, but got lucky winning.

    Because, it’s never Phil’s fault when Phil loses.

    9. Nik Airball is tilted by Jungleman Dan Cates on Poker at the Lodge

    YouTube video

    Sat next to each other Nik Airball was irritated when Dan Cates kept shuffling his chips and touching his cards and as the tension grew, you could tell Dan was starting to steam.

    With other players at the table laughing at him, and Nik starting to shuffle his chips on Dan’s cards, Dan found himself with two pair, aces and nines going up against a set of aces.

    Dan silently fumed and when Nik called the clock, that just ramped up the pressure and atmosphere at the table.

    With seconds left Dan laid the hand down, the right call, at which point Nik continued to fume.

    However, in another hand late on, Dan eventually snapped, shoving over Nik’s pile of chips. A definite poker etiquette no-no!

    8. Jeff Lisandro and Prahlad Friedman Almost Come To Blows

    YouTube video

    At the 2006 WSOP Jeff Lisandro and Prahlad Friedmann almost came to fisticuffs after Friedmann felt that Lisandro had not put the ante into the pot.

    Prahlad Friedmann went to speak to the referee and Lisandro, who was furious that he was called a thief, stormed over and threatened to take Friedmann’s “head off”.

    It was a big blow up which continued between the two for a long time thereafter.

    7. Mike Matusow gets furious after he is slow-rolled by Shaun Deeb

    YouTube video

    Shaun Deeb held quad fives and knew he had the nuts, but when Mike Matusow raised for the hand, Deeb slow-rolled him.

    Matusow was furious and threatened to punch Shaun Deeb in the face after the slow roll.

    Not like Mike to be a hot-head.

    6. Tony G faces Phil Hellmuth

    YouTube video

    This time it is Tony G who is the crybaby here and Phil Hellmuth gets the better of things as the two as he watches Tony G have a melktdown.

    The Lithuanian pressured his opponent to go all-in, then when he did, he flipped out when his opponent landed a pair of aces on the draw.

    Tony G then decided to blame the dealer and incredibly Phil Hellmuth sat in silence and watched on as someone else had the melt down.

    5. Eric Molina’s general behaviour at WSOP Main Event 2006

    YouTube video

    Some players are funny. Others are irritating. A few are both. Most are generally nice, but competitive people.

    Eric Molina skated firmly along the line of being irritating. All the time. Constantly reminding players he eliminated about how badly they played.

    Though technically not a meltdown, the constant arrogance and know-it-all attitude was just as bad and twice as annoying.

    He lasted until 31st in the tournament, by which point he had earned himself few friends and plenty of enemies.

    4. ”We’re gonna see some steam!” Hellmuth tilts after busted pair of Kings

    YouTube video

    Phil hold’s pocket kings on Hustler Casino Live but is furious enough when his opponent lands a set of queens to beat him in one hand.

    Already tilting and starting to complain, Phil holds King Ten in the next hand, but his opponent has another pair of queens.

    Strangely, or perhaps he was already silently fuming (though not for long), when his opponent makes a set on the flop and Phil can’t improve it looks like Phil will fold.

    However he doesn’t and when his opponent raises for 25,000, Hellmuth calls with a King high and loses again.

    Next hand. Phil’s luck sees him land a pair of tens. Only his opponent Stanley Tang has a pair of aces and when Tang goes all-in after the flop, Hellmuth decides to call. And is aghast to see the aces.

    3. Phil Hellmuth and Shawn Sheikhan on Poker After Dark

    YouTube video

    Oh this is a lovely one. Phil Hellmuth isn’t happy with the behaviour of his players when he is trying to make a decision over his chips.

    Hellmuth complains to the tournament director before angrily folding after his ‘reading skills’ misread what hand Annie Duke had (he had her on Ace Eight, when she had a pair of kings).

    He then stormed off to complain to the referee off camera (although clearly audible). And then after a haughty interview while he holds the game up, his interviewer sweetly wishes him good luck. Albeit through clenched teeth.

    2. Mike Matusow and Shawn Sheikhan face off at the WSOP

    When Shawn Sheikhan banged the table in the middle of a hand after folding, Mike Matusow rightly told him to be quiet, but in more agricultural terms.

    Sheikhan wasn’t impressed with this and faced off against Matusow after the comment.

    Both players were sent to the rail for 10 minutes to calm down but when they returned the atmosphere between the two was incredibly frosty with little love lost.

    Eventually, Matusow finally knocked out Sheikhan, but it is fair to say that he wasn’t particularly graceful in victory.

    1. Hellmuth Storms off after record loss of $286,000

    YouTube video

    Hellmuth holds pocket kings in this hand but he is up against Eric Hicks who has hit the nut-flush draw after the flop.

    Unfortunately for Phil, he is suckered in to call on the river. And when he sees the flush, he announces that he is quitting and leaves the table.

    But not before telling those present it was his biggest loss in 50 years.

    No wonder he was a little steamy.

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