poker coolers ice

What is a Cooler in Poker? Plus the Top 7 Sickest Poker Coolers in Big Games

We have all been there. We make a great hand and play it well, only to lose to a stronger hand. This is the dreaded poker cooler.

What is a Cooler in Poker?

A poker cooler refers to a situation in which a strong hand, usually played correctly, loses to an even stronger holding. In a cooler situation you lose, not because you were outplayed, but because of the luck of the draw.  

With both players holding big hands, each will want to get the money in the middle. However, someone has to lose. These are not necessarily bad plays but simply bad luck, and it happens to the best of us.

Coolers are a tough fact of poker life but, their entertainment value is great. Sit back, relax, and check out these 7 sick poker coolers.

Top 7 Poker Coolers

7. Vanessa Rousso Coolers Tony G. and puts him in his place

You have to love the look Rousso gives Tony G in response to his signature banter. Laying a cooler on the loudest guy at the poker table is a great feeling!

6. Flanders, Kallakis, O’Dea: Oh my

It’s time to travel to Europe for this crazy poker cooler. In an insane hand, Achilleas Kallakis flops a flush, Tim Flanders a straight, and Donnacha O’Dea a set. Lots of action ensues but when O’Dea hits quads on the river, Flanders is wise enough to dump his straight, avoiding max pain. Kallakis, however, calls with his flush and loses. Chilly, huh?

WSOT Summer 2024

5. Gaelle Baumann ices Vanessa Selbst

This brutal poker cooler is brought to you courtesy of day one of the 2017 WSOP Main Event. Here, Selbst can’t let go of her monster and gets coolered out of the biggest tournament of the year.

4. Jean-Pascal Savard stares down Patrick Blye

I’m not sure which is worse: this sick cooler on Party Poker Live or Savard’s intense stare. 

3. Sam Farha versus Oliver Hudson

This sick poker cooler occurred in the very first hand of the 2005 WSOP Main Event between poker pro Sam Farha and actor Oliver Hudson. After a crazy flop leaves Oliver Hudson drawing dead with a full house, all he can do is laugh and walk away shaking his head.

2. Benny Spindler bullies Alex Gomes

During the final table of the 2009 PCA with just four players remaining, Spindler’s aggression leads to Gomes’ unfortunate all-in bet, thus giving Gomes one of the worst poker coolers in recent history. Take a look.

1. Daniel Negreanu versus Gus Hansen

When two aggressive poker legends each flop a set, you can expect some pretty serious action. However, when one turns a full house and the other quads, get ready to witness one of the biggest pots in the history of High Stakes Poker. This hand could be the worst poker cooler of all time!! Negreanu didn’t trust his gut and paid off Gus Hansen for the max.

The moral of the story is that if you play poker, you will inevitably face the dreaded cooler. Maybe bring a warm hoodie to the table. 

Tell us about your worst poker coolers in the comments below.

Until next time.

WSOT Summer 2024

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Home > What is a Cooler in Poker? Plus the Top 7 Sickest Poker Coolers in Big Games
Home > What is a Cooler in Poker? Plus the Top 7 Sickest Poker Coolers in Big Games
About the Author
Natalie Faulk

Natalie Faulk

Natalie Faulk is a Las Vegas-based freelance writer/blogger and the author of several books. She is an avid low-stakes (for now) poker player and huge Vegas Golden Knights fan.

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