Phil Hellmuth

I wouldn’t want to tell Phil Hellmuth this face-to-face, in fear of his head exploding, but he’s one of the most accomplished tournament poker players, with 13 bracelets, millions in tournament winnings and several WSOP records. For this reason it made sense to us to write up a short biography, telling you a little more about Phil, where he came from and what he’s doing today.

Early Life

He was born on July 16th, 1964 in Madison, Wisconsin. Phil is known for his temperament, which has earned him the nickname, the Poker Brat. In fact, Phil mentioned that he doesn’t recall ever being a good loser. He’s thrown fits his entire life. Only now the world can see him do it on TV.

From an early age Phil thought he was destined for fame and fortune. He wasn’t well liked or popular in school, and didn’t get good grades like his brothers and sister did. So he figured he was on a different path. He tells a story in an Ask Men interview where his mother befriended a psychic that read everyone’s palms, and told Phil that he was going to be very famous – or infamous. According to Phil:

The thing was, in high school I was a bit of a loser; I wasn’t very socially adept; I didn’t have a ton of friends and I wasn’t getting high grades. I had probably a B average, which was considered terrible in my family, and all my brothers and sisters were getting A’s. So I felt pretty down about that. I had no friends, I had bad acne, but I always clung to this deeply embedded belief that I had some kind of amazing talent and that I would do some amazing things. Rose Gladden’s prediction just fuelled that belief.

I think we can all agree that’s pretty much what happened.

Tournament Results, Lifetime Winnings, Awards, Etc.

Hellmuth has numerous tournament finishes. So instead of listing all of the best ones (which would be hard to determine), we thought we’d list all of his bracelet wins.

  • 1989 $10 NLHE Main Event – 1st - $755,000
  • 1992 $5k LHE - $168,000
  • 1993 $1,500 NLHE - $161,400
  • 1993 $2,500 NLHE - $173,000
  • 1993 $5k LHE - $138,000
  • 1997 $3k PLO - $204,000
  • 2001 $2k NLHE - $316,550
  • 2003 $2,500 LHE - $171,400
  • 2003 $3k NLHE - $410,860
  • 2006 $1k + R NLHE - $631,863
  • 2007 $1,500 NLHE - $637,254
  • 2012 $2,500 Razz - $182,793
  • 2012 $10k (Europe) Main Event - $1,022,376

Up until Peter Eastgate won the Main Event, Hellmuth held the record of the youngest person to ever win the Main Event. He was 24 years old when he won the event in 1989.

As of 2012 Phil’s total tournament winnings is in excess of $17 million. He’s 3rd on the all time money list, behind Antonio Esfandiari and Sam Trickett. He’s only behind Antonio because of his 1st place finish in the $1 million buy-in tournament, The Big One for One Drop, held during the 2012 WSOP. He’s second in the WSOP all time money list, though, again behind Esfandiari.

Hellmuth holds a number of records for the WSOP. This includes most cashes (99), most final tables (49) and most bracelets (13). This would explain why he’s so high on the all time money list. Consistency has been a key component to Phil’s success, and also shows that he’s not a one hit wonder. Of his 49 final tables, 20 of them are in non-holdem events, 5 of which he has runner-upped in.

UB Scandal

Phil Hellmuth was a longtime sponsored pro for Ultimate Bet, the poker site that’s known for it’s super user scandal.

It’s been known / proven that he didn’t know anything about the scandal, as the guys that were behind the scam (Russ Hamilton and company) didn’t tell him, assuming that Phil wouldn’t approve of it and/or would let everyone know.

This was proven when a recording was leaked in early 2013 of a meeting held between Russ Hamilton, Greg Pierson and others. During this meeting they discussed how they could avoid paying players back, if that was possible at all. Hamilton also took the majority of the credit for the scandal, as well as mentioned stealing from other pros, which include Prahlad “Mahatma” Friedman, Mike Matusow, Mike “trambopoline” Fosco and Robert Williamson III.

Phil Hellmuth released a statement later on, apologizing for his involvement, explaining why he stuck it out with the company until late 2010 and expressing his ‘disgust’ at what he heard on the tape.

According to Hellmuth:

“Trusting my gut has allowed me to be at the top of my profession and develop a lifetime of friends and great experiences,” read a part of Hellmuth’s statement. “Unfortunately, I made a horrible read regarding my relationship with the founders of the now defunct online poker site Ultimate Bet.”

“At the time,” according to the Hellmuth statement, “I was led to believe that if I left UB right away the business would be impacted and then less likely to pay its obligations to the victims. As such, I made the decision to believe the leaders of UB and stayed on in the hopes that they would make right to anyone cheated.” A later line from the release asserts, “They lied to me about their activities and I made a big mistake in trusting them for way too long.”

Hellmuth left Ultimate Bet in December 2010, just a few months prior to Black Friday.

What is Phil Hellmuth Doing Today?

Phil Hellmuth still plays poker. He’s active in the major series’, evident by his recent wins, cashes, etc.

He’s also participates in shows like Poker After Dark and High Stakes Poker, where he has showcased his talent to moan and groan time and time again. He’s even threatened to leave the show at one point.

Other than playing poker, Phil also manages his blog, Twitter and Facebook accounts. He also works with Oakley on his own line of sunglasses. Outside of poker he likes to spend time with his wife and kids, play golf and place crazy prop bets.

3 Facts About Phil Hellmuth

Here are some interesting facts about Phil Hellmuth.

1. Phil’s birth sign is Cancer.

2. Hellmuth is known for his quotes, although he’s stated in interviews that, in many cases, he didn’t know he was still being filmed/recorded. Here are a couple of our favorite Phil Hellmuth quotes:

  • "Honey, honey, I was supposed to go broke on that hand: Honey. But they forgot one thing: I can dodge bullets, baby!"
  • "If there weren't luck involved, I would win every time."

3. Phil Hellmuth has embraced his ‘poker brat’ nickname and image, having created a company called Poker Brat Clothing Co.