Posts Tagged ‘Phil Hellmuth’

Hellmuth dubs Donald Trump “LAG” of Presidential Race

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

phil-hellmuth-donald-trumpIf we are comparing 2016 Presidential candidates to poker players, one might say that Donald Trump closely resembles Phil Hellmuth, the brash, outspoken and self-important 14-time WSOP champion. So it was all too interesting to hear Hellmuth’s recent comments on the 69-year-old billionaire.

Speaking with TheStreet, Hellmuth said that “Trump is the ultimate ‘loose-aggressive’ player.”

As you may know, a loose-aggressive player, or “LAG,” plays lots of hands and bets/raises quite frequently. A good LAG is able to force more-passive players into folds, even when they might otherwise have a better hand. Furthermore, skilled LAGs can control the table with this bullying style.

This seems like a very accurate analogy of Trump, who jumps into lots of issues (playing lots of hands) with controversial views (betting/raising the pot). And even when he’s attacked, such as by the Pope or Jeb Bush, he’s always willing to stand his ground and strike back.

So if the Presidential race were a poker table, how would Hellmuth deal with this political LAG?

“When you’re playing against a loose-aggressive player, think of a harpoon. You nail them with a harpoon, on one big pot for all their chips,” said Hellmuth. “They’re a big target, and Trump is a big target.”

marco-rubio-pokerSo the Poker Brat basically outlines the Trump-beating strategy as patiently waiting for a big hand, then going all-in. But at the same time, Hellmuth also identifies Trump as a pretty skilled LAG.

“He’s playing many weak hands, so you’d expect him to get harpooned a lot,” explained Hellmuth. “The problem is you’ve harpooned Trump five times and he’s so smart, he’s so resilient, he has so much style, he’s changed the rules of poker.”

Hellmuth pays attention to politics, but he doesn’t really back one candidate 100%. However, he did mention that he likes how Florida Sen. Marco Rubio recently changed gears and went on the attack against Trump – knowing that there’s little time to grab the Republican nomination.

“Rubio made a smart move. He finally took it to the next level,” Hellmuth said. “He assumed he was just going to win with patience and when you’re waiting for someone else to implode and they don’t implode, all of the sudden you’re way behind in the chips and Super Tuesday is coming up and you can’t wait anymore. Rubio can’t wait. Rubio changed tactics, finally aggressively attacked Trump — and he looked pretty good doing it.”

Is there time for Rubio or Texas Sen. Ted Cruz – the remaining two Republican candidates who can realistically beat Trump – to make their moves and get back in the political poker game? Sure, but they’re going to have to play the aggressive game that Trump is playing.

November Niner Federico Butteroni hires Phil Hellmuth

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

federico-butteroniBack in July, Federico Butteroni became one of the proud nine poker players to make the 2015 November Nine. But the only catch is that Butteroni is sitting in ninth place with the smallest stack (6.2 million). So the young Italian is looking to improve his odds of netting a bigger score by hiring Phil Hellmuth as his poker coach.

“I’m really excited to be announcing today that I’ll be coaching Federico Butteroni,” said Hellmuth, “at the final table, the November Niner. And he’s gonna meet me in Manhattan November 1st. We’re gonna coach for 5 days in Manhattan, and then he’s gonna play in my charity poker tournament.”

The Poker Brat seems pumped to take on Butteroni as his student. However, even Hellmuth admits that the odds of Butteroni succeeding are slim since he only has 16 big blinds.

The good news, though, is that Butteroni has prior experience and cashes in live tournaments. But there are better players with larger chips stacks on the 2015 WSOP Main Event final table. So he’s going to need a little luck and a lot of Hellmuth’s help to move up to the bigger prizes.

Hellmuth has a record 14 WSOP gold bracelets, and he won the Main Event in 1989, so there’s nobody better to coach Butteroni. But just in case the 25-year-old doesn’t do so hot, at least he’ll be guaranteed a $1,001,020 payout.

Poker Central announces 2 New Shows: Pokerography and Inside Poker

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

poker-central-networkIf you’ve been starved for quality poker programming, then you’ll be pleased to know that Poker Central has announced two new shows that they’re working on.

The first is “Pokerography,” which will provide an in-depth view of some of the best poker pros ever to play the game. Some of the players who’ll be profiled include Antonio Esfandiari, Chris Moneymaker, Erik Seidel, Michael Mizrachi, Phil Hellmuth and Vanessa Selbst. According to TV Media Insights, the tagline for Pokerogrpahy is as follows:

“Each episode will explore the individual behind the legend in their own words. Interviews with family, friends, professional rivals, and expert poker-analysts dig deeper into their legacies.”

Another show, which will debut some time early in 2016, is called “Inside Poker.” Matt Savage will host this TV show and dive into some of the hottest topics in the poker world. In addition to discussing current news, Inside Poker will also dispense tips from pros and provide coverage of the top card rooms in the U.S.

Poker Central, which launches on October 1st, is set to be the first 24-hour poker television network in history. Up until now, few specifics have been given on what exactly Poker Central will offer, beyond coverage of the $500k Aria Super High Roller Bowl. So it’s nice to finally get a glimpse of what kind of shows will be offered once the network is up and running.

It’s been quite a while since any good poker TV shows have run in primetime spots. Poker Central will finally give players and fans of the game the opportunity to see some good shows any time they want – rather than watching 2009 episodes of High Stakes Poker through YouTube.

Phil Hellmuth admits that His Poker Game is “Out of Practice”

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

phil-hellmuth-pokerWith a record 13 WSOP gold bracelets and over $19.3 million in tournament winnings, Phil Hellmuth is obviously a great poker player. However, he’s also a businessman, and this, along with constant networking, sometimes get in the way of his poker playing. Hellmuth admitted as much during a recent interview with, where he discussed his poker habits, love of the Golden State Warriors and how nice of a guy he is. That said, let’s cover each of these topics from the interview in depth.

Hellmuth says He’s Out of Practice, but can get Sharp in a “Few Days”

Phil Hellmuth isn’t just a poker player these days. He also writes books, does speaking engagements and runs a real estate business. So he’s not your typical grinder who spends 8-10 hours a day at the poker tables.

“I’m not lazy, but I talked myself out of practicing,” he said. “For five or six years, I didn’t play in some of the good games leading up to the World Series of Poker, because with so many below-average players there, I reasoned it messed up my game. Now, I play a few times before the World Series, and it especially helps with my reads on players. I can get sharp in a few days.”

TV makes Hellmuth look Worse than He is

Few players have become more famous for their blowups than the Poker Brat. But the 51-year-old chalks this up to TV editing, rather than how he truly is when playing poker.

“I sit at a table for 12 hours, and lose it for, say, 10 minutes, and that makes TV,” Hellmuth explained. “I thought those inside the poker world would figure that out. It’s taken 12 years, but by now I think a lot of people have.”

Hellmuth loved that the Warriors won the NBA Championship

The Poker Brat loves to name drop and network with celebrities and athletes. So living in the Bay Area, he’s gotten to know some of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors quite well. In fact, he sits courtside along with his friend and Warriors owner Chamath Palihapitiya around 10 times a year.

If you’d like to see the whole piece on Hellmuth, check it out here.

Zombies invade WSOP (New Comic Book)

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

wsop-zombies-comicIt seems that you can’t watch TV for two hours these days without something zombie-related popping up. Hell, Walking Dead is so big that they even made a show just to talk about a show. So it doesn’t surprise me that the World Series of Poker has caught zombie fever too.

Specifically, PokerNews editor and gold bracelet winner Chad Holloway has created a comic book dubbed World Series of Zombies (WSOZ), where Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Laak, Vanessa Selbst and Phil Hellmuth are the stars (we can only hope that Hellmuth is the first one eaten).

“Bringing WSOZ to life has been a goal of mine for a long time, and I can’t wait to debut it at the 2015 WSOP,” Holloway told PokerNews. “I hope both poker players and zombie fans will enjoy what was designed to be a fun and light-hearted take on poker’s premier event.”

As you can see to the right, there were some pretty sweet covers created for WSOZ, with Chicago-based comic book artist Terry Huddleston doing the one on the left (as well as artwork for the entire book), and two-time Survivor contestant and comic book artist Erik Reichenbach drawing the cover on the right. Reichenbach explains his special variant cover by saying:

“When I first started coming up with sketches for the cover, I kept coming back to a horde of zombies behind Negreanu and what I could do to make them distinct. The idea of zombie showgirls made the most sense for a zombie apocalypse in Las Vegas. The juxtaposition of terrifying showgirls coming after the patrons just felt like the right way to put zombies into the world of poker.”

Assuming you’re interested in this comic book, it’ll be available in the Rio this summer. So if you’ll be playing in the 2015 WSOP, be sure to check out WSOZ.

Daniel Negreanu reveals why he chose PokerStars over FTP, UB and Party

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

It seems like Daniel Negreanu has been the face of PokerStars forever. So it’s hard to remember him representing a different online poker site at any point in time. However, going back to 2004, Kid Poker was actually involved in his own poker room called FullContactPoker.

Some players today may recognize this site because it’s where Negreanu writes all of his blog posts from. But back then, it was a full-fledged internet poker room that mainly attracted Americans.

Negreanu helped FullContactPoker quickly experience success by undertaking a massive promotional effort. This included doing up to 50 radio interviews a day across the United States and Canada, plus getting the word out through other channels. His poker site showed such promise that one company even wanted to buy him out for $170 million.

However, the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) came about at the end of 2006, thus throwing the US-friendly poker market into disarray. This forced Negreanu to quickly find something else to do with FullContactPoker. So he ended up signing a deal with PokerStars and moving his player base there.

While this and the $170 million deal are interesting enough, the selection process used by Negreanu to pick PokerStars is a story in itself. Here’s a look at what he told about why he ended up choosing Stars:

Signing with PokerStars was as simple as this, there were several sites interested in having my services including UltimateBet, Full Tilt Poker and PartyPoker. For me it came down to integrity and which site I trusted the most, had the best software and the best vision for the future. It wasn’t about the highest bidder for me; it was about who’s the biggest, who’s the best, and who’s going to be the biggest in the future.”

I believed in PokerStars from the start, as the company was built by a group of IBM professionals. They weren’t some random poker-playing dudes who wanted to be businessmen. Full Tilt was off the mark; I wasn’t going to sign with them, because I didn’t trust the infrastructure even back then. If I was going to attach my name to something, game security, integrity, and longevity were most important.

Given that Party Poker’s player base has dropped considerably, Full Tilt had to close before being bought by Stars, and UB Poker went completely under never to resurface again, PokerStars definitely proved to be the right choice. Furthermore, it appears as if Negreanu is about as good at reading business deals as he is with poker opponents.

Dumpster Joe picked over Christian Harder for Poker Night in America

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

With over $3 million in live poker tournament winnings, and having been a regular at Maryland Live! Casino, Christian “Charder” Harder seemed like a natural fit for Poker Night in America. He quickly applied to be on the show after hearing that PNIA was filming an episode at his home casino. But rather than reserve their last spot for Harder, the producers opted for a different direction: “Dumpster Joe.”

Appropriately named for the fact that he drives a dump truck, Joe is a local amateur who wanted his shot at the big time. And he got this chance, if only at the expense of established pros like Harder. Charder tweeted, “Not a big enough poker personality to play Poker Night in America at my home casino @MarylandLive #salty”

Although Harder sounds bitter in the tweet, he comes across as pretty understanding in a recent Washington Post blog. He commended Dumpster Joe being on the show by saying:

They were looking more for guys who aren’t professional poker players who want to play with professional poker players. I guess they wanted some new blood. He is a huge character. He owns a dump truck company and some restaurants. He is going to be great for TV.

Harder is definitely on track with his assessment of Dumpster Joe, who has a good amateur-on-TV personality and caused a stir after bluffing Phil Hellmuth out of a pot with 3 high. Aside from the fact that Joe was good for TV, he also fits the traditional style of PNIA, where a lucky amateur or two gets a chance to rub elbows with famed poker pros. So don’t expect the show’s producers to give up on this interesting dynamic any time soon.

Why didn’t Phil Hellmuth play in 2014 WSOP Big One for One Drop?

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

After busting out of the Main Event, Phil Hellmuth’s 2014 WSOP is over with. And while it might not have been his most profitable one, the Poker Brat did cash seven times and make two final tables. Still, most people aren’t thinking much about Hellmuth’s performance, but rather asking why he didn’t play in the 2014 Big One for One Drop.

The reason why is because the 49-year-old is only two years removed from a banner campaign where he won two gold bracelets and finished fourth in the 2012 Big One ($2,645,333). So it’s not like he’s lacking for money or reputation among backers.

While speaking to PokerListings, Hellmuth explained that “it was silly” that he didn’t play in the 2014 Big One. Leading up to the event, he had raised the money by asking friends like Charles Barkley and Matt Kenseth for backing. Hellmuth ultimately raised the $1 million buy-in that he needed and went to the Rio to play.

However, he discovered that the “one guy he didn’t know” hadn’t sent the remaining $130k that was needed for the buy-in. Rather than picking up the phone and calling one of his other friends, he chose not to take action and thus stay out of the tournament.

Looking back on it, Hellmuth seems to feel like it was a mistake not to play. And he felt like he would’ve played really well in the event too. As Hellmuth bragged, “I have this amazing knack or ability to get down there in these events. A lot of this stuff makes sense to me, I know how to fold tens and jacks and queens and hands like that.”

The 13-time bracelet winner concluded that he “made a mistake” by not playing and he never wants to let this happen again.

Greg Merson looking to promote Himself and Poker More

Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014

As has been discussed many times over the past few months, Joe Hachem thinks that poker has a problem, and it starts with WSOP Main Event champs and younger pros. Greg Merson definitely saw Hachem’s rant and it’s forced the 2012 Main Event champ to rethink his views on everything from playing tournaments to interviews.

Bluff Magazine recently caught up with Merson and talked to him about what Hachem said. While the 26-year-old doesn’t feel like Hachem specifically targeted him, he did ask the Aussie about the comments. And Merson came to the conclusion that Hachem may have misunderstood how much he loves playing poker.

In the interview, which you can see below, Merson explains how he didn’t win the Main Event in an era where these champions are immediately sponsored and paid to play the tournament circuit. He adds that it’s not worth it to play in $3,500 and $5,000 events when there’s $2k – $3k in added travel costs.

Merson would much rather play live cash games, where he makes the most profits. However, he does indicate that he’s come around to the idea of playing in tourneys and promoting the game more. Merson also discusses how he spent time with Phil Hellmuth, “picking his brain” about self promotion.

Another point that Merson’s come around to is doing more interviews, even though they may not pay off immediately. The young poker pro now realizes that doing interviews and more promotional work can pay dividends in the future – both for himself and for the game in general. He also states the importance of signing autographs and taking pictures with poker fans when asked.

You can expect to see more of Merson on the tournament circuit in the near future. Aside from everything that we’ve discussed so far, he also says that it’s harder for good pros to get in big cash games these days. So he’d like to play more tournaments this summer.

Phil Hellmuth gives away 11 of his WSOP Bracelets

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

In a day and age where WSOP champs are pawning their gold bracelets off or donating them to charity (Peter Eastgate), Phil Hellmuth is an exception to the norm. The Poker Brat recently tweeted about giving away 11 out of his record 13 WSOP bracelets, as you can see below:

PIC: bye bye WSOP Bracelet #13. Gave #WSOPBracelet13 to my best friend @Chamath. Gave 10 to family, 1 to bestie

WSOP Bracelets: 1 & 12 me, 2 wifey, 3 4 mom dad, 5 sister Ann, 6 bro/law John, 7 8 sons Phillip Nick, 9 10 11 bro Dave sis’s Kerry Molly

I don’t really know a whole lot about Hellmuth’s “sister Ann” or “bro/law John,” so we’ll just skip over that. But one interesting mention in the tweets is Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook VP and current Golden State Warriors co-owner.

I’m not sure that anybody really knew who Hellmuth’s best friend was. After all, he doesn’t exactly pal around with anybody like Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Laak do. However, maybe Palihapitiya being his bestie explains why Hellmuth, a Wisconsin native, loves Golden State so much.

While the Poker Brat’s bracelet giveaway may warm some people’s hearts, Brad Booth definitely isn’t one of them. Still bitter over being a UB superuser victim, and angry over Hellmuth’s part ownership of the company, Booth tweeted the following:

@phil_hellmuth if only the respectable @chamath found out about your inner BullShit at UltimateBet he would never except it – U R A POS PH

Since being taken for $2 million through Russ Hamilton’s UB superuser scam, Booth has continued his downward spiral, owing others tons of money in the process. And one guy that he’s continually blamed in all of this is Hellmuth because the poker legend owned part of UB’s parent company.