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Hellmuth answers his critics
He has before, and he will again, he contends.
In a Feb. 4 PokerListings news story, Negreanu conceded that Hellmuth is good at taking advantage of bad players in big fields.
However, Negreanu predicted, he will be outclassed in the small, pro-heavy field at the WSOP's commemorative $40k No-Limit Hold'em tournament this summer.
"That just gives me motivation and that's a big mistake," Hellmuth said.
In the days following Negreanu's criticism, Internet poker forums were filled with posts flaming the 11-time bracelet winner and agreeing with Kid Poker's claims.
However, Hellmuth said the fact that he has finished first or second in half his appearances on NBC's Poker After Dark against top-notch competition and was 9-2 lifetime at the NBC National Heads-Up Championship before losing to Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier in the quarterfinals this weekend should be more than enough to silence his critics.
Plus, there's always those 11 World Series of Poker bracelets to fall back on.
"Everybody knows I won the first nine bracelets against the toughest players in the world," he said. "Back then the fields were shorter, but I played against some great players."
In fact, Hellmuth believes people want to tear him down simply because he's on top.
"People are always trying to spin stuff," he said. "First they said I can't do the cash games, now it's this.
"When you're the guy on the top of the mountain people are always trying to chop you down and stand on your shoulders. It comes part and parcel with all this and I'm OK with that.
"Daniel may be one of my biggest critics, but I still love him."
Hellmuth has famously exploded more than a few times at televised poker tables, and said he understands that might motivate some of the comments directed against him.
"People are going to say what they want to say, and they are going to invent ways to chop you down," he said.
"If there's even a grain of truth to it the people that don't like you because you are a bad boy or a jerk at the table are going to say 'Yeah that's right; Phil can't do that or Phil can't do this.'
"Well, Phil can do this and he can do that, and Phil has done this and he has done that; end of interview."
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