This Mild-Mannered CEO Played The Ballsiest Poker Hand In A Generation



The World Series of Poker concludes next week, but some observers are already calling a hand between Winmark CEO John Morgan and Russian businessman Mikhail Smirnov one of the greatest ever.Winmark is a franchise business operator.

The World Series of Poker’s Nolan Dalla writes that with the 8 of clubs and the 7,8, Jack and King of spades showing, Smirnov, who had roughly $3,500,000 in his stack (slightly above average, Dalla writes), fired a $700,000 bet.

Morgan, a mild-mannered Midwesterner, seemed “visibly upset” by the draw, Smirnov later told Hence his confidence at firing off a big river bet.

He appears to have misread him.

Morgan went all-in: $3.4 million, suggesting he had a straight flush — the 9 and 10 of spades.

Smirnov folded — despite revealing, upon doing so, he had had four 8s. 

Morgan won the pot, but never showed his cards, so we’ll never know.

“Poker pro Phil Galfond, who was sitting at the same table and watching in utter disbelief later called it, ‘the craziest hand I’ve ever seen,’ ” Dallo writes.

Read Dallo’s full account on

NOW WATCH: Money & Markets videos

Want to read a more in-depth view on the trends influencing Australian business and the global economy? BI / Research is designed to help executives and industry leaders understand the major challenges and opportunities for industry, technology, strategy and the economy in the future. Sign up for free at