When correlating the game of poker and confidence, Phil Hellmuth is one of the first names that comes to mind. After all, the Poker Brat has spent his career berating other players for their mistakes and giving them lessons on how to play better. So it’s quite surprising when he admitted to being fearful as he crept closer towards a record-extending 12th WSOP gold bracelet.
Although Hellmuth did accomplish his goal of winning the 2012 WSOP Event #18 Seven Card Razz tournament, he expressed his fears by saying, “Fear set in a couple of times. When he (Don Zewin) made a nice run, I was like, ‘oh my god, not again,’ and I said, ‘no, eliminate all negative thoughts and just focus on playing great.” He added, “I was just thinking one thing, ‘play perfect poker,’ and pushing all the negative thoughts out of my head. I just wanted to win.”
It’s understandable that Hellmuth had plenty of negative thoughts since he finished second place in three different 2011 WSOP tournaments. However, this time was different since he was able to defeat Zewin heads-up and pull off the victory.
The Poker Brat explained this by saying, “Zewin’s a great player – he’s been a professional cash game player since the 80’s. When it was me and Chan heads-up at the final table, he finished third in ‘89 in the Main Event. I’ve been playing with him for decades – he’s just tough as nails, and he’s not going to give anything away.”
As cocky as Hellmuth can be, it’s also nice to see him prove all of the critics wrong who’d said the game passed him by years ago. It’s still clear that the Wisconsin native has plenty of poker skills, and he’s going to remain a force in the game for years to come.