Hellmuth crash: Accident or elaborate stunt?

Phil Hellmuth

Phil Hellmuth is an unapologetic self-promoter, but would the Poker Brat stoop so low as to stage an elaborate race car accident to score some media points? You be the judge.

The 11-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner was out Sunday taking his sponsor site's promotional race car out for a drive. Phil Hellmuth lost control of the race car and ended up crashing into a cinderblock barrier in the Rio Hotel and Casino parking lot.

You can view the crash for yourself at RawVegas.tv.

Hellmuth's sponsoring poker site put out a press release, according to Wicked Chops, earlier today saying the race car was totaled, but that Hellmuth left the vehicle unscathed. Speculation is that the brakes on the car may have failed.

"I'd be amazed if he was able to play poker today after such a high-speed collision," said Brian Balsbaugh of Poker Royalty in the press release. "He had severe whiplash."

It is quite the coincidence that Hellmuth was involved in a spectacular crash on the night before his Day 1 of the WSOP Main Event. Several online sources have been speculating if it was a planned media stunt to give the poker player and his sponsor site some attention as he goes into the Main Event.

It still remains to be seen if the Hellmuthian one will show up to take his seat in the event, which started at noon.

Hellmuth is known for his late entrances to tournaments, though, and according to the World Series of Poker Web site, they expect him to arrive shortly and make his usual, grand entrance. In the meantime, his empty seat at the feature table sits waiting for him.

UPDATE:

Phil Hellmuth made his grand entrance to the 2007 WSOP Main Event a few hours late and in style as usual. He pulled up to the Rio in a limo and got out wearing his racing gear from the day before. He was greeted by 11 women, representing his 11 WSOP bracelets, who then escorted him to the tournament.

According to the World Series of Poker Web site, Hellmuth said he woke up sore and stiff this morning from his accident, but he'd won bracelets playing in more pain before.

He also recounted his accident, explaining that while driving around the Rio parking lot, the stearing locked up on him, resulting in the crash. He was supposed to pull up in the race car to make his entrance to the WSOP today, but had to rework the plan after the car was totalled.

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