The Poker Brat is taking on a casino owner. What could possibly go wrong? Phil Hellmuth won 15 bracelets at the World Series of Poker. If he were an octopus, he would have a piece of bling for each tentacle and still have one left over to lament about. Ten bracelets is an impressive benchmark, let along twelve. But Hellmuth keeps winning them. He won bracelets in multiple eras when the fields were small and ginormous. He beat the old guard and the new guard. He won on the cusp of the boom, during the boom, and in the wake of Black Friday.
Hellmuth plays a significant amount of events and goes deep in a bunch of them. I'm sure of Phil Ivey really tried and played as many events as Hellmuth, then he'd have the lead. But Ivey doesn't and Hellmuth does.
Accomplishments like bracelets and bling matter to Hellmuth. He's finished in second place in more events than he'd like. And that absolutely drives him nuts because he in his eyes, he should have won enough bracelets to outfit three or four octopuses. Or is it octopi? Whatever. Hellmuth came very close to winning a couple of more pieces of bling, but got knocked out in second place on more than one occasion.
Then again, he still managed to finish off 15 events and defeat opponents 15 times in high-pressured situations. No wonder he's confident in his heads-up abilities for cash.
Hellmuth also won the NBA Heads-up Championship back in 2005 during the peak of the glorious American poker boom. Hellmuth picked off Full Tilter Jesus Ferguson to win the title for a cool $500,000.
Most recently, Hellmuth won a heads-up title at the Borgata Winter Poker Open in Atlantic City. Two summers ago, Hellmuth edged out jungleman in a heads-up battle. The Poker Night in America King of the Hill hosted an event in the summer of 2017 where Hellmuth prevailed over Dan 'jungleman' Cates.
So, the latest bout? How did all of this materialize? Apparently, Rob Yong and Hellmuth were in Las Vegas over the weekend for a bunch of self-aggrandizing industry awards. The two got to talking and they agreed to play heads-up. For cash. A half-mil worth on each side, or $1 million in total. If the winner shuts out the loser, then the winner will walk away with a cool million.
Hellmuth announced the event on Twitter of all things. He even asked his followers if they thought he could win this battle. According to the Twitter results, over 8,000 followers voted and 57% said they thought Hellmuth would win, while 43% thought the Poker Brat would lose.
"I like Phil," Yong told the poker media. "But I'd be pretty shocked if he won. And I mean that in a nice way."
Shocked if he won? Thems fighting words where I'm from! Then again, Hellmuth would also get the crap knocked out of him if he talked all that smack in my old neighborhood. Then again, those old ladies in the Bronx can be tough as nails.