Hellmuth: Poker’s New Blood ‘Lack Reading Abilities’

Phil Hellmuth
Phil Hellmuth

Phil “Poker Brat” Hellmuth continues to be one of the most polarizing poker players in the world but the results continue to pile up.

In 2012 Hellmuth won a WSOP bracelet, final tabled One Drop, and then won the WSOPE Main Event for a total haul of $4.3 million.

This year hasn’t started too shabby for Hellmuth either as he finished second in the $25k NBC Heads-Up Championship for $300k.

This week Hellmuth made one of his most grandiose entrances ever to WPT Venice. PokerListings’ Giovanni Angioni caught up with the iconic pro to see what’s new in the Poker Brat’s world.

PokerListings.com: How many events are you going to play at the WSOP APAC?

Phil Hellmuth: I’m planning to play every event. It’s only five, right? I won’t play two tournaments at once, so if I am on Day 2 and Day 3 and a tournament deadline will pass - I might pass one.

hellmuth venice5
Phil Hellmuth in Venice attire.

PL.com: How do you see the whole WSOP going to Asia thing? How attractive does that sound to you?

PH: I have mixed opinions about that. On one hand I feel like they are spreading it a little thin, on the other hand I feel like it’s good for the growth of poker. So I don’t really know.

It’s probably good for poker, but I don’t want the World Series of Poker to be spread too thin. So, that’s where I stand.

PL.com: So, to make it clear, the World Series for you is pretty much only Vegas. Except for when you also win the European bracelets.

Yeah, we agree on that.

PL.com: How about this new Asian trend. Are you considering trying hitting the Macau scene as well?

I have never been to Macau  so – maybe. The games are great there and I am sure it’s a fun place to be but I don’t play poker just for money, I play poker more for history.

PL.com: And that’s where APAC comes in?

Yeah, I have to be at that one – that’s why I'm going to WSOP APAC. Even though the money isn't that big there.

But I’d skip going to Macau to play cash games there even though there is a lot of money there.  At cash games you cannot measure who the great players are, especially in the long run. Some people are helped, some of them have big sponsors outside of poker.

PL.com: Talking to Mike Sexton, yesterday we ended up comparing players in the circuit twenty years ago and today. We have been discussing the background of players like Stu Ungar or Amarillo Slim counting something like forty great players being around.

Today, instead, it seems that we can get thousands of very good players with millions of hands played online, degrees and so on. Do you also have the feeling that the circuit got tougher and we have more good players than ever before?

hellmuth venice 1
Phil Hellmuth wants 24 bracelets. Or 30.

I think one interesting trend in poker is that everybody seems to have a solid mathematical background and everyone seems to play a lot of hands. But sometimes I feel that a lot of the new blood in poker, a lot of them, even those who have made a lot of money and are very successful – maybe they lack reading abilities.

Poker players in the old days, they all became great poker players because of their reading abilities. Poker players in the new days, became great players because of their mathematical skills.

And that's really good for me, because now I get to play with guys that are not necessarily good at reading people and are not necessarily good at hiding their own emotions.

PL.com: Very last thing before you leave: when I look at you, I imagine you wearing all of your thirteen bracelets… and that brings to my mind that it means you have over twice more WSOP bracelets than the whole of Italy. How does that feel?

It feels good, but I can’t let it feel too good.

I think in poker it’s hard to be completely satisfied because if I would be completely satisfied… I would just quit.

And I still have a huge passion for this game.

Thirteen feels nice, but fourteen would be a lot better. And fifteen would be… terrific. And sixteen is amazing and… twenty-four would just be unbelievable.

PL.com: Unbelievable or enough?

Maybe if I get twenty-four it’s enough. I don’t know. But probably when I’ll have twenty-four I will shoot for thirty.

Best Poker Sites - Editor`s Pick

Latest Blogs »