Phil Hellmuth has made history, winning his 12th WSOP bracelet and extending his lead as the all-time WSOP bracelet winner.
Read on for a full accounting of Phil Hellmuth's victory against Don Zewin in Event 18, $2,500 Razz.
Phil Hellmuth Wins His 12th WSOP Bracelet
"Is this for real Mike?" Phil Helmuth asked Mike Matusow. "I've waited so long for this."
It's real, Phil Hellmuth has won his 12th WSOP bracelet.
I'll repeat that. Phil Hellmuth has a dozen gold WSOP bracelets.
In the last hand of Event #18, Zewin got all his chips in on the turn. When seventh street was dealt, the board looked like this.
Hellmuth: (A)(4) A-2-J-4
Zewin: (3)(9) 6-K-J-3
"Phil, you make this hand and it's over," Matusow said.
About 15 cell phone cameras popped up and everyone started filming what was going to be Hellmuth's historic win.
Hellmuth squeezed his last card first and turned over a 10 for A-2-4-10-J.
Then it was Zewin's turn to squeeze. He did it slowly and all eyes were on him.
"You got it," Zewin sighed and Phil Hellmuth exploded.
He jumped up and down like a preteen meeting their favorite celebrity and jumped straight up to Matusow and hugged him.
Then he turned back around and laid on the floor next to the table. He rubbed his face and stood up.
That's when he went back to Matusow and asked him if what was happening was for real.
The floor asked Hellmuth's wife to come up and present him with his 12th bracelet, but Phil had a different Hellmuth in mind.
"Philip," Hellmuth said. "Come up here."
Phil's oldest son came up on stage and presented his Dad with something he's been waiting to get for years.
Hellmuth then took the microphone and addressed the crowd.
"I appreciate everyone for being here," Hellmuth said. "I want you to know that I'm going to take every picture and sign every autograph."
"Are you buying drinks?" Todd Brunson screamed from the crowd.
Hellmuth laughed and ordered a few bottles of Dom Perignon to the feature table.
"This is the first tournament of my life that I have no idea what the prize pool is," Hellmuth added. When someone informed the 12-time bracelet winner that he'd just won $182,793 he responded with, "That's nice."
But this wasn't about the money, Hellmuth said. It's about the bracelet. The coveted 12th bracelet that he's come so close to winning so many times.
Since winning his 11th bracelet, Hellmuth has made 7 WSOP final tables and finished runner-up three times.
It was so close, so many times, but now he's finally got it.
Now Hellmuth is off sipping champagne with his friends, enjoying something he's waited so long to get.
"I guess I'm going to have to make new hats," Hellmuth said.
"Don't pretend like you don't already have them made," the floor person joked. Everyone laughed.
We all knew it was a matter of time before Hellmuth booked his 12th bracelet, now he has.
Congratulations to Hellmuth on achieving something no one else has.
It's Not Over Yet
Well, we might've spoken a bit too soon.
After our last update, Don Zewin went on a massive win streak and ended up getting nearly even in chips with Phil Hellmuth.
After taking down a bunch of smaller pots, Zewin took down a massive pot when he hit a 7-6 to Hellmuth's 9-5.
It was a reminder for everyone around the world that anything can happen in tournament poker. Hellmuth himself started to look a bit distraught, surely memories of his three runner-up finishes were running through his head.
The crowd has also started to grow. Everyone's waiting to see if Phil Hellmuth can get #12. There's currently about 35 people on the stage and another 50 surrounding it.
That crowd's about to grow a little more since Phil Ivey just busted out in the mothership. All those railbirds are slowly migrating to the Pavilion.
They all want to know, will this Phil take it?
One fan visit came from Todd Brunson.
Brunson showed up to support Hellmuth, he even made the Poker Brat smile, stand up and give him a hug.
Zewin didn't have any celebrity railbird appearances, but he does have Hellmuth dominated in one department.
Hellmuth may have more bracelets, but Zewin has more mustache. Hellmuth's recently adopted facial hair pales in comparison to Zewin's mustache. You can tell it's been around for a while, it's seen more action than most young online players ever have.
But this isn't a battle of facial hair. It's a battle to see who can get the lowest five cards.
So far, Hellmuth is starting to gain back ground.
Hellmuth managed to bring Zewin below the 500,000 mark, but the man with the mustache is now back up to 750,000.
Zewin managed to beat Hellmuth's 10-8-6 with a 9-7-5.
Daniel Negreanu has also taken an interest in this heads-up match. He's providing live Twitter commentary, here's his most recent Tweet:
"Typically in HU razz matches the low card raises but that's happened about 15% of the time in this match with either folds or calls"
The Final Step
While tournament poker is quite chaotic, it always seems to abide by certain rules.
There's always one player who gets a big stack, but loses one hand and just can't recover. There's one player that's a short-stack ninja and rides his tiny stack deeper than Day 1 chip leaders.
Then there's the suckout artist. That player who can't lose a coin flip and just always seems to get there.
Then you have the tournament dominator.
He bets well, plays well, gets there when he needs to and, simply put, is just on fire. The aura of "run good" around these players is almost visible.
Today, Phil Hellmuth seems to have that glow. He's been dominating the final table and is now heads up for his 12th bracelet.
Hellmuth has had a few setbacks, but he's managed to knockout a number of players and accumulate a massive chip lead.
Hellmuth came back from the dinner break with nearly half the chips in play. Soon after, Scott Fischman was eliminated in 4th place.
Fischman fell victim to Don Zewin when his 9-6 couldn't stand up against Zewin's 6-5.
Hellmuth then took over and sent the tournament into heads-up mode.
Cantu was short-stacked and he got all his chips in against Hellmuth. Cantu's final tournament board read:
Hellmuth: (A)(5) 7-8-4-10 (6)
Cantu: (9)(4) 5-2-3-J (3)
Hellmuth instantly turned over seventh street while Cantu gave his card the squeeze of a lifetime. In what was nearly 30-seconds of card squeezing, Cantu eventually turned over a 3 and was eliminated in third place.
His finish gave him $74,269 while also giving Hellmuth the dominating chip lead for the heads-up battle.
Hellmuth will start the heads-up match with 1,900,000 while Zewin has 400,000.
Will Hellmuth finally get bracelet number 12 or is he destined for another runner-up finish.
Our remaining four players are now on dinner break.
Brendan Taylor was the most recent player to exit the feature table. In his final hand, Brendan fell to Brandon.
Brandon Cantu managed to hit a 7-6-4 low and Taylor couldn't get any lower. His 5th place finish earns him $40,167.
Hellmuth is now three players away from his ever-elusive 12th bracelet. In addition to getting bracelet #12, a victory here would bump Hellmuth up to 7th place in the WSOP All Time Money List.
Hellmuth, with $7,832,465, is currently trailing Joe Hachem, who's earned a total of $8,010,509. A victory here would bring Hellmuth up to $8,015,258.
That victory seems more plausible as the match continues. When the dinner bell rang, Hellmuth still had the lead with 1,131,000.
While Hellmuth has been dominating, he can't win every hand.
The board read:
Hellmuth: (X)(X) 2-5-7-9 (X)
Cantu: (X)(X) 10-7-6-J (X)
The Poker Brat had been firing away on every street and Cantu was calling down. Hellmuth bet the river and Cantu tanked. Hellmuth adopted his trademark "hands-over-mouth" pose while Cantu tanked.
But Cantu's thought process seemed to elicit hunger in Hellmuth. The Poker Brat removed his hands from his mouth and decided to start munching on a salad instead.
Cantu eventually called and Hellmuth said, "Ten."
Hellmuth showed 10-9-7 but Cantu had him beat with 10-7-6.
"You got stubborn," Hellmuth said. "But I'll get you.
And Hellmuth seems to be in a positing to get everyone at the table. With 1,131,000 in chips, Hellmuth has nearly half the chips in play. Second in chips is Don Zewin with 558,000.
Cantu enters the dinner break 430,000 while Scott Fischman is the short stack with 204,000.
Down to Five, Hellmuth on Top
The $2,500 Razz is down to its final five players and Phil Hellmuth is four eliminations away from making history.
Hellmuth is on the hunt for his 12th WSOP bracelet. Hellmuth hasn't won a bracelet since 2007, but he's come close. Very close.
Last year, Hellmuth managed to make three WSOP final tables, but the bracelet slipped out of his grasp every time as he finished runner-up in all three events.
Now, Hellmuth has another shot.
Our final table has seen three eliminations so far. The first was the WSOP newcomer, Jeff Misteff. Misteff was eliminated by Brendan Taylor and his first WSOP cash got a number attached to it. His 8th place finish is good for $17,693.
The next to go was Michael Chow, his executioner was Mr. Hellmuth.
Chow's final showdown looked like this:
Hellmuth: (2)(5) A-A-3-9 (10)
Chow: (4)(8) 3-2-4-J (3)
Chow bet most of the way and Hellmuth raised him on fifth street. Chow responded by moving all in and Hellmuth called.
Hellmuth hit a 9-5 low on sixth street and Chow paired his 3 on the river. Chow was eliminated in 7th place for $22,945 while Hellmuth's stack grew to about 500,000.
Barry Greenstein was the next to go.
Greenstein fell to Brandon Cantu. Greenstein's final hand was a 9-7-6 low and Cantu managed to outlow him with a 9-7-4 low.
Phil Hellmuth is also back in the lead. Limits are 12,000/24,000 with a 3,000 ante and Hellmuth has a stack of 795,000. His closest contender is the only bracelet-less player at the table, Don Zewin with 565,000.
We'll go back on the floor and see if Hellmuth can turn Event #18 into bracelet #12.
The Final Table
Phil Hellmuth has made another WSOP final table.
While it's Hellmuth's first this year, it's his 46th overall.
But competition is stiff at this final table. Only two of the final eight players don't have a WSOP bracelet.
Aside from Hellmuth, the other five players have a combined WSOP bracelet count of nine. Barry Greenstein leads these five with three WSOP bracelets, including one in Razz.
If we throw Hellmuth's count into the mix, we get a final table with 20 gold WSOP bracelets.
The only two players lacking some WSOP jewelry are Don Zewin and Jeff Misteff. But this isn't Zewin's first WSOP final table.
In fact, it's not even his first WSOP final table with Phil Hellmuth. Zewin has a total of 18 WSOP cashes, including a third place finish in the 1989 Main Event. That year, the biggest prize in poker went to Phil Hellmuth.
Jeff Misteff, on the other hand, is in uncharted territory. Not only is this his first WSOP final table, it's his first WSOP cash.
Fans have lined up and the final table is underway. They're arranged exactly like this:
Seat 1: Michael Chow - 145,000
Seat 2: Scott Fischman - 430,000
Seat 3: Jeff Misteff - 187,000
Seat 4: Barry Greenstein - 115,000
Seat 5: Phil Hellmuth - 446,000
Seat 6: Brandon Cantu - 187,000
Seat 7: Brendan Taylor - 451,000
Seat 8: Don Zewin - 359,000
A Double Feature
Poker fans in the Rio are in for a treat.
The $2,500 Razz has nine players left. Phil Hellmuth is one of them, he's also second in chips. The final nine have moved out of the Amazon and into the feature table in the Pavilion Room.
But back in the Amazon, the $10,000 Pot-Limit Hold'em tournament is down to 10 players. Among them is Phil Ivey. These players have been relocated to the main, mothership feature table.
It's no surprise that the Rio is teeming with railbirds. One older fan with a Cubs jersey, sunglasses and a lack of sobriety is eyeing Hellmuth's every move.
He makes his support audible by letting out the occasional, "Nice hand Mr. Hellmuth."
Hellmuth also gave some audible support to tablemate Calvin Anderson after Anderson was eliminated in 11th place.
Hellmuth stood up, shook Anderson's hand and whispered something into his ear.
"I haven't told anyone else that," Hellmuth said after. "Good effort."
Hellmuth also got another elimination in, knocking out Jared Bleznick in 13th place.
The final board read:
Hellmuth: (J)(10) A-7-8-Q (5)
Bleznick: (5)(2) K-9-6-Q (2)
The bulk of Bleznick's chips didn't find their way into the middle until fourth street. Hellmuth bet and Bleznick moved all-in.
Hellmuth called and showed his jack-ten. Bleznick was ahead with his five-two, but he paired his deuce on the last street.
Hellmuth's stack is now up to 389,000, but he's not the chip leader anymore. That title goes to Brendan Taylor, who managed to amass a stack of 526,000.
Players have moved off to the feature table in the Pavilion Room as the unofficial final table. Hordes of fans followed the procession of potential final tableists as they carried their big bags of chips into the Pavilion.
Players took a 20-minute break after moving to the feature table, but now they're back in action.
Twelve Step Program
Phil Hellmuth took a few more steps in the direction of bracelet number 12.
He eliminated a player, made the final two tables and got the chip lead.
The Hellmuth we're seeing today is a little different from the one we're used to. He's rather calm and is sporting about a week's worth of facial hair.
But some things haven't changed.
Hellmuth's determination is almost tangible. His gaze is focused, his bets are methodical and his stack is fairly large.
Hellmuth took the tournament chip lead after knocking out Chris Wallace and bringing the tournament down to its final two tables.
Hellmuth: (4)(2) A-8-7-8 (3)
Wallace: (5)(7) 8-9-7-10 (J)
This was the last board Wallace would participate in this tournament. By fifth street, Wallace had gone all-in and Hellmuth was his only customer.
Hellmuth took off his sunglasses during the all-in and shook Wallace's hand after he was eliminated.
"Good game," Hellmuth said to the 17th place finisher.
Play stopped and the floor redrew to the last two tables.
Hellmuth was the last player to make it to his new seat, he was busy fitting all his chips into five racks. Eliminating Wallace put Hellmuth up to 355,000, nearly 50,000 more than the closest contender.
When Hellmuth got to his new table, he sat down between the dealer and Barry Greenstein. He also has the pleasure of sharing the table with Calvin Anderson, Jared Bleznick and Michael Chow.
Limits are now 8,000/16,000 with a 2,00 ante. Keep checking back for more updates on Hellmuth's quest for bracelet number 12.
Here's the full draw for the final two tables:
Seat 1: Phil Hellmuth
Seat 2: Barry Greenstein
Seat 3: Brendan Taylor
Seat 4: Calvin Anderson
Seat 5: Jared Bleznick
Seat 6: Michael Chow
Seat 7: Chris Viox
Seat 8: Gerald Ringe
Seat 1: Jeff Mervis
Seat 2: Scott Abrams
Seat 3: Jeff Misteff
Seat 4: Dan O'Brien
Seat 5: Brandon Cantu
Seat 6: David Rosenau
Seat 7: Scott Fischman
Seat 8: Don Zewin
Day 3 Starts with Hellmuth Third in Final 18
Hellmuth came painfully close to extending his bracelet record in 2011, finishing second on three separate occasions.
And even more surprising, all of the Poker Brat's deep runs these days are coming in non-Hold'em events.
Hellmuth has some stiff competition today, however, should he make it to the final table and eventually the winner's circle.
Here are the start-of-day chip counts. Notice the names Brandon Cantu, Barry Greenstein, Jared Bleznick, Dan O'Brien, Scott Fischman, and Calvin Anderson.
- Brandon Cantu - 298,500
- Brendan Taylor - 288,500
- Phil Hellmuth - 287,500
- Chris Viox - 189,000
- Michael Chow - 183,000
- Jeff Misteff - 155,000
- David Rosenau - 149,000
- Don Zewin - 115,500
- Jeff Mervis - 111,500
- Barry Greenstein - 94,500
- Scott Abrams - 93,000
- Jared Bleznick - 91,500
- Scott Fischman - 57,500
- Gerald Ringe - 54,500
- Chris Wallace - 54,000
- Dan O'Brien - 50,500
- Calvin Anderson - 28,000
- Scott Clements - 20,000