Love him or hate him, when it comes to poker there perhaps is no bigger star in the game than the Poker Brat himself, Phil Hellmuth. If there is a photo op, a name to be dropped or a bracelet to be won, Phil Hellmuth Jr., will not only make an appearance – he’s likely to make a scene. Here in 2017, Hellmuth was everywhere – plugging his book, winning heads-up competitions, MCing charity tournaments and throwing his patented temper tantrums – all to the delight of both his fans and haters. So, with plenty to choose from, here is the PocketFives.com Top 5 Hellmuthian Moments of 2017.
#5 – Hellmuth Spikes A Three
At 2 am on a rainy night in Pittsburgh, PA, after a live stream of Poker Night in America, Doug Polk gave Hellmuth 10:1 that he can’t “straight cold” drain a 3-pointer at a random basketball court.
The prop bet had Polk put up $10,000 to Hellmuth’s $1k and the next thing you know Hellmuth, Polk as well as PNIA’s Todd Anderson, Olivier Busquet, Parker ’tonkaaaa’ Talbot, Shaun Deeb and an out of costume Pete Manzinelli gathered on a blacktop basketball court as Hellmuth, a self-proclaimed Golden State Warriors super fan, attempted to join Curry and Thompson as the third Splash Brother.
He was given ten dribbles. He used three. Polk filmed and Hellmuth launched the ball at the backboard.
Nothing but net.
The scene erupted into cheers as Polk sat stunned, having perhaps just paid for Hellmuth’s 15th bracelet and when the excitement died down, Hellmuth looked right into the camera and said “I was really worried about it when it was in the air…not!”
#4 – Hellmuth Decides To ‘Burn Them’
Only days into the 2017 World Series of Poker Hellmuth just wasn’t feeling it. He’d only been in town for a few days but he kicked things off on a downswing and wanted to do something to change his fortunes.
His idea: Burn his brand new golden tinted shoes. So in the back of the Rio, Hellmuth placed his shoes, deemed “hideous” by Daniel Negreanu who filmed the entire event, in a metal tub, poured lighter fluid all over them and, with the strike of a match, sent his sneakers to the great beyond in an effort to run better.
“I called my dad he said ‘burn them.’ I called my mom she said ‘burn them.’ I called my spiritual guru he said ‘burn them.’” Hellmuth said.
Did it work? Days later Hellmuth took 10th place in the $111,111 High Roller For One Drop for over $300,000 and finished the series with seven cashes for over $384,000…but no bracelets.
#3 – Hellmuth Says Cheese
For Hellmuth, it seems, the next best thing to being a champion is to be seen with one. Known for his name-dropping and his more-than-willingness to photographed with anyone with a modicum of fame, he perhaps chose the wrong champion to pose with at the World Series of Poker Europe.
— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) November 2, 2017
When Hellmuth took and tweeted a congratulatory with WSOP Player of the Year, and current poker pariah, Chris ‘Jesus’ Ferguson the backlash was swift and severe. Most in the poker community know that Ferguson has invited the ill-will of many a poker player due to his unapologetic silence of his role in the Full Tilt saga and so when Hellmuth, a polarizing figure in his own right, snapped a smiling selfie with him it made way for the rage of those that follow him. Hundreds of comments followed, from fans and poker pros alike many disappointed in him, some threatening to unfollow and, at best, calling him out for a tone-deaf tweet.
Couldn’t find time to grab a selfie with Harvey Weinstein, Chris Brown, or Bernie Madoff? Next best thing I guess.
— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) November 2, 2017
#2 – Hellmuth Claims The #1 Seed
September brought about the inaugural Poker Masters, the high-stakes tournament series set at the Aria Resort & Casino. The current crop of regular high-rollers, including the current crop of German geniuses namely Fedor Holz, Christian Christner, Stefan Schillhabel, Dominik Nitsche, Koray Aldemir and eventual Purple Jacket winner Steffen Sontheimer, all flew in for the event.
While Hellmuth likely would have liked to have performed better, taking a single fourth place cash for $50,000, it was his attitude against the young superstars that pulled him into the spotlight once again. Daniel Negreanu called him out for talking about how bad the other players were and how he would, according to Negreanu, “want to play with [Holz] and [Sontheimer] and the Germans everyday.”
Claiming he’d be the #1 seed in any No Limit Hold’em tournament a twitter battled raged between fans and pros about Hellmuth’s skill level vs. the Germans and the younger generation. But ultimately, Hellmuth “told Steffen and Fedor that I liked them.” while never conceding his edge against them.
— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) September 20, 2017
#1 – Hellmuth Runs It Up
He may be the 14-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner, but perhaps the one thing he currently covets is a World Poker Tour title to place on his mantle. In the WPT Legends of Poker Main Event, Hellmuth was on the cusp of achieving the sick brag as he battled through the massive field of 763 runners to get heads-up with the up-and-coming cash pro Art Papazyan.
After a hero call gone wrong Hellmuth found himself at a 3:1 chip disadvantage but was on track to get it all back when the duo got it all in with Hellmuth holding vs. Papazyan’s [kq]. But when the flop unfolded Hellmuth was going to need some help. The turn presented some additional flush outs with the . But in the end, the ended his tournament life leaving Hellmuth as the runner-up.
While he didn’t get the win, Hellmuth did walk with $364,370 in prize money. Combined with his $200,000 winnings for the Poker Night In America King of the Hill competition and his 4th place in the Poker Masters Event #2 Hellmuth brought in a quarter of a million in earnings in under a months time en route to a year that found him cashing for over $1.3 million.