As of 2012, his total live tournament winnings exceed $17,400,000. He is ranked third on the All Time Money List, behind Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Ivey. As a poker player, Hellmuth is known for taking his seat in tournaments hours after they begin.
In 1989, the 24-year-old Hellmuth became the youngest player to win the Main Event of the WSOP by defeating the two-time defending champion Johnny Chan in heads up play; his record has since been broken twice, by Peter Eastgate in 2008 and Joe Cada in 2009. Hellmuth holds the records for most WSOP cashes (95) and most WSOP final tables (49), overtaking T. J. Cloutier.
As of October 2011, Hellmuth has won $7,842,188 at the WSOP and ranks 8th on the WSOP All Time Money List. Hellmuth also is tied for 4th all time in number of times cashed in the WSOP Main Event. He has 7 Main Event cashes (1988, 1989, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2008, 2009), placing him behind Berry Johnston (10) and Doyle Brunson and Bobby Baldwin (8).
Twelve of thirteen of Hellmuth’s bracelets have been in Texas hold’em, though he has had some success in non-hold’em events. As of the 2011 World Series, 20 of his 47 final tables are for a variety of games, including 2-7 Lowball, Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo, Seven Card Razz, and Omaha hold’em (Pot Limit, Limit, and Hi-Lo); as well as mixed gamed like H.O.R.S.E and the Poker Players Championship. Of those 20 events, Hellmuth has finished runner-up five times.
World Series of Poker bracelets
Year Tournament Prize (US$/EU€)
1989 $10,000 No Limit Hold’em World Championship $755,000
1992 $5,000 Limit Hold’em $168,000
1993 $1,500 No Limit Hold’em $161,400
1993 $2,500 No Limit Hold’em $173,000
1993 $5,000 Limit Hold’em $138,000
1997 $3,000 Pot Limit Hold’em $204,000
2001 $2,000 No Limit Hold’em $316,550
2003 $2,500 Limit Hold’em $171,400
2003 $3,000 No Limit Hold’em $410,860
2006 $1,000 No Limit Hold’em with rebuys $631,863
2007 $1,500 No Limit Hold’em $637,254
2012 $2,500 Seven-Card Razz $182,793
2012E €10,450 No Limit Hold’em Main Event €1,022,376
During the Main Event of the 2005 World Series of Poker he accused an opponent of not being able to spell “poker” after the player put all of his money in the pot pre-flop with King-Jack against Hellmuth’s Ace-King; Hellmuth’s opponent hit a three-outer (a Jack on the river) to win the pot. At the 2006 World Series of Poker, Hellmuth captured his 10th World Series of Poker bracelet in the $1,000 No Limit Hold’em with rebuys event. At the time, it tied him with Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan for most bracelets. At the 2007 World Series of Poker, Hellmuth won his record-breaking 11th bracelet in the $1,500 No Limit Hold’em Event.
UltimateBet, Hellmuth’s former sponsor, arranged for him to arrive at the 2007 WSOP Main Event in a race car, escorted by 11 models, one for each of his 11 WSOP bracelets. Hellmuth lost control of the vehicle and hit a concrete light fixture in the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino parking lot; Hellmuth showed up two hours late for the Main Event. The accident was briefly thought to be staged by some sources, but Hellmuth said it wasn’t. He later made light of the accident in a television advertisement for Ultimatebet.
In 2008, as part of an Ultimatebet promotion, Hellmuth arrived at the 2008 WSOP Main Event in a convoy dressed in military garb, with eleven stars on his helmet (for the eleven WSOP bracelets he has won). On Day 5 of the 2008 WSOP, Hellmuth folded A♠ K♥ to Cristian Dragomir’s bet on a flop of 9♣ 10♣ 7♠. Asked by the table to show his hand, Dragomir revealed that he had called Hellmuth’s pre-flop re-raise with 10♦ 4♦, considered to be a weak hand. Hellmuth proceeded to call Dragomir an “idiot,” among other insults, and was eventually issued a warning by the floorperson for continued berating of another player. Other players including his friend Mike Matusow advised him to stop. Nonetheless, he continued to verbally abuse Dragomir until receiving a one-round penalty. The penalty was to be carried out at the beginning of play the next day. After Hellmuth had a private meeting with WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack, Pollack overruled the floorperson’s penalty. Hellmuth finished the tournament in 45th place, while Dragomir finished in 29th. Hellmuth apologized to Dragomir for his behavior the next day.
In the 2011 World Series of Poker, Phil finished 2nd in three tournaments, in the 2-7 Draw Lowball Championship, the Seven Card Stud Hi-Low Split-8 or Better Championship, and The Poker Player’s Championship eight-game mix.
On June 11 2012, Hellmuth won his 12th World Series of Poker bracelet in the $2,500 Seven-Card Razz event, defeating Don Zewin and earning $182,793. Zewin had finished third to Chan and Hellmuth when Hellmuth won his first bracelet in 1989. This is the first bracelet Hellmuth has won in a non-hold’em event, and made him the first player to win at least one bracelet in each of the last four decades. Hellmuth also collected $2,645,333 for his 4th place finish in the $1,000,000 buy-in “Big One for One Drop” tournament, by far the largest single cash of his career.
On October 4th 2012, Hellmuth won his 13th World Series of Poker bracelet in the €10,450 WSOPE No Limit Hold’em Main Event, earning €1,022,376 ($1,333,841) and becoming the first player to ever win both the WSOP and WSOPE Main Events.
World Poker Tour
Though Hellmuth has not won a World Poker Tour (WPT) tournament, he has cashed 13 times and made four final tables in WPT events. He finished fourth in the $3,000 No Limit Hold’em WPT Event at the 3rd Annual 49’er Gold Rush Bonanza in 2002 and 3rd in the $10,000 No Limit Hold’em WPT Event at the World Poker Finals at Foxwoods in 2003 and at the 2008 WPT L.A. Poker Classic Hellmuth finished in sixth place earning $229,480 in a final table that included both Phil Ivey and Nam Le. He also played in two WPT Invitational Events, the World Poker Tour by The Book in 2004 and the WPT Bad Boys of Poker II in 2006 and finished 3rd both times. In March 2010 Hellmuth made the final table in the $10,000 Shooting Star Event at the Bay 101 Casino 2nd in chips only to bust out in 6th place when his QQ was cracked by AJ on the river. He earned $117,000 for his efforts. In April he was the TV bubble boy finishing 7th at the $25,000 WPT World Championship. The finish gave Hellmuth over $152,000 for the tournament and made him the 122nd player to win a million dollars in WPT events. As of May 2010, Hellmuth has won $1,106,345 in WPT tournaments.
Other notable tournaments
Hellmuth makes regular appearances on episodes of Poker After Dark, both as a player and as a drop-in commentator. Hellmuth won his first Poker After Dark tournament in the first episode of the third season, winning a net $100,000. Hellmuth returned two weeks later and claimed his second Poker After Dark title, winning another $100,000. Hellmuth is the season 3 champion of Late Night Poker.
In 2000 he won the Poker EM 7 Card Stud Main Event in Austria, billed the largest 7 Card Stud tournament in the world. Phil defeated 437 other players to win $106,250. In 2005, Hellmuth won the first National Heads-Up Poker Championship. He defeated Men Nguyen, Paul Phillips, Huck Seed, Lyle Berman and Antonio Esfandiari on the way to the final against Chris Ferguson whom he defeated in two out of three games. While trying to repeat in 2006, he lost in the first round to Chip Reese. In 2007, Hellmuth did not play due to the PartyPoker.com Premier League Poker, a British tournament in which he took part. He won four out of his six group matches and eventually finished third in the finals. Hellmuth took part in the 2008 National Heads-Up Poker Championship, losing in the first round to Tom Dwan. In the 2009 NBC Heads Up Phil made it to the quarterfinals before he was eliminated; he earned $75,000 for his performance.
Other poker activities
Hellmuth appeared in seasons 1, 4 and 6 of GSN’s cash game show, High Stakes Poker.
Hellmuth was involved with creating the software for UltimateBet and was formerly a member of Team UB.
Hellmuth has made several instructional poker videos, including his Ultimate White To Black Belt Course and Phil Hellmuth’s Million Dollar Poker System. He has written many articles for Cardplayer magazine and several poker books including Play Poker like the Pros, Bad Beats and Lucky Draws, The Greatest Poker Hands ever Played, and Poker Brat, which contains autobiographical material as well as poker advice. His latest book is called “Deal Me In.” This book is a collection of 20 chapters, each one focusing on one of the top 20 poker players in the world. It is the first book published by Phil Hellmuth’s publishing company PhilsHousePublishing and was written by professional sports writer Stephen John. Chapters include first-person biographies of Phil Hellmuth himself, Daniel Negreanu, Doyle Brunson, Chris Ferguson, Johnny Chan, Scotty Nguyen and others.
In May 2004 Phil Hellmuth partnered with Oasys Mobile for the release of Texas Hold’em by Phil Hellmuth. At the time it was one of the 10 most popular multi-player mobile phone games available. In spring 2006, Hellmuth replaced Phil Gordon as commentator on Bravo’s Celebrity Poker Showdown. Along with Annie Duke, Hellmuth is a poker coach on Fox Sports Network’s Best Damn Poker Show, which is sponsored by the poker site Ultimatebet.net.
In October 2008, Hellmuth launched www.pokerbrat.com, a webstore where customers can purchase Hellmuth and non-Hellmuth brand poker gear. In May 2009, Phil Hellmuth released the book Deal Me In: 20 Of The World’s Top Poker Players Share The Heartbreaking and Inspiring Stories of How They Turned Pro.
Personality and controversy
Phil Hellmuth at the 2006 World Series of Poker.
On one occasion, Hellmuth so infuriated Sam Grizzle that the two men had a physical altercation. Hellmuth claims that the fight was a draw and that neither one of them was injured. In the first week of Poker After Dark on NBC, Hellmuth asked fellow pros Shawn Sheikhan, Steve Zolotow, Gus Hansen and Huck Seed to stop talking while it was his turn to act on his hand after Annie Duke raised him. They initially complied, but when Hellmuth began to talk, he was mocked by Seed, who said, “please be quiet so I can talk,” eliciting laughter from the other players. Hellmuth then threatened never to play on the show again and walked off the set. After the show’s producers intervened, Hellmuth returned and was eliminated a few hands later by Sheikhan. Duke remained quiet while the drama played out, though in a later interview, she described Hellmuth’s behavior as “one of the biggest overreactions I have ever seen.”
On December 20, 2008 Hellmuth was playing $200/$400 heads up limit hold em on UltimateBet, where he was at the time a spokesman, when an apparent software glitch occurred. The $5599 pot was awarded to Hellmuth, even though he held the worst hand. (His opponent held K♦ Q♥ for Three Kings and Hellmuth held Ten Two for two pair.) This hand became the subject of considerable controversy in online forums due to Hellmuth’s later comments about the hand. Immediately after the other player informed him of the error in awarding the pot, Hellmuth simply commented, “You wanna play or what?” and “I play U limit, right now.” In addition, when later questioned about the hand, Hellmuth commented that he had experienced such errors a hundred times in his online career, “maybe 50 the wrong way to them and 50 the wrong way to me.” (This contradicted the official statement of Ultimatebet that no other cases of this error had been found.)