Phillip Jerome Hellmuth
Phillip Jerome Hellmuth, Jr. (born July 16, 1964) is an American professional poker player. He is best known for holding a record 11 World Series of Poker bracelets, for winning the Main Event of the 1989 World Series of Poker  and for his temperamental, “poker brat” personality. He is also a member of the Poker Hall of Fame.
World Series of Poker
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. He held that distinction until 2008, when 22-year-old Peter Eastgate became the (then) youngest Main Event champion. At the 2006 World Series of Poker, Hellmuth captured his record 10th World Series of Poker bracelet in the $1,000 No Limit Hold’em with rebuys event. At the time, this tied him with fellow poker legends Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan. However, unlike Brunson and Chan, all of Hellmuth’s bracelets are in Texas hold’em.
At the 2007 World Series of Poker, Hellmuth won his record-breaking 11th bracelet in the $1,500 No Limit Hold’em Event. Hellmuth also holds the records for most WSOP cashes (75) and most WSOP final tables (41), recently overtaking TJ Cloutier. At the Main Event of the 2008 World Series of Poker Hellmuth made a deep run finishing in 45th place out of a field of 6,844. He was the last former champion standing at the event when he was knocked out. Hellmuth took home $154,400. Hellmuth has won $6,106,838 at the WSOP and ranks 9th on the WSOP All Time Money List. In October 2008, Hellmuth launched http://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.
World Poker Tour
Though Hellmuth has not won a World Poker Tour (WPT) tournament, he has cashed 11 times and made three 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. To date, Hellmuth has won $691,109 in WPT tournaments.
Hellmuth is the season 3 champion of Late Night Poker. 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.
He 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 net of $100,000. He also appeared in the first and fourth seasons of GSN’s cash game show, High Stakes Poker. As of 2009, his total live tournament winnings exceed $10,900,000. He is ranked fourth on the All Time Money List, behind Daniel Negreanu, Jamie Gold, and Phil Ivey. 
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.
Personality and controversy
Hellmuth is known for making disrespectful remarks about his opponents’ skills, especially after taking bad beats. 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 preflop with King-Jack against Hellmuth’s Ace-King; Hellmuth’s opponent hit a three-outer (a Jack on the river) to win the pot. Other famous quotes include: “If it weren’t for luck I’d win’em all,” and “I can dodge bullets baby.”
On one occasion, Hellmuth, who is frequently very talkative during matches, so infuriated veteran poker professional 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 the show 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 himself, he was mocked by Seed, who said, “please stop talking 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. Producers of the show came up with a ruling regarding the situation, Hellmuth returned and was eliminated a few hands later by Sheikhan. Duke was the only player at the table who remained quiet while the drama played out. However, in a later interview, she said of Hellmuth’s behavior, “I would call that one of the biggest overreactions I have ever seen.”
Hellmuth’s sponsor, UltimateBet, arranged for him to arrive at the 2007 WSOP Main Event in an Ultimatebet race car, escorted by 11 Ultimatebet models (one for each of Hellmuth’s 11 World Series of Poker bracelets). However, Hellmuth crashed the race car in the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino parking lot when he lost control of the vehicle and hit a concrete light fixture. After the accident, Hellmuth showed up in a limo, met his escorts, and made his grand entrance to the Main Event two hours late. 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, Hellmuth again made a grand entrance into the WSOP Main Event. As part of Ultimatebet’s “UB Army” promotion, Hellmuth arrived 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 hand to Cristian Dragomir. Asked by the table to show his hand, Dragomir revealed that he had called Hellmuth’s pre-flop re-raise with 10♦ 4♦ (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. In addition, other players (including close friend Mike Matusow, who was seated at the same table) 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. However, overnight, Hellmuth had a private meeting with WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack, after which Pollack overruled the floorperson’s decision. (Hellmuth eventually finished this tournament in 45th place, while Dragomir finished in 29th.) Hellmuth apologized to Dragomir for his behavior the next day.
On December 20, 2008 Hellmuth was playing $200/$400 heads up limit hold em on UltimateBet, where he is 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 the 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.) Finally, the previous cheating scandal at Ultimatebet led to suspicions about the plausibility of the company’s explanation for the computer bug that they claim caused the error.
Hellmuth was born in Madison, Wisconsin, and attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison for three years before dropping out to play poker full time. He is married and has two sons.