5 Defining Phil Hellmuth Moments at the WSOP

On the eve of the 2015 WSOP Main Event on ESPN, who better to showcase than the poker player most defined by World Series of Poker success — Phil Hellmuth.

On the eve of the 2015 WSOP Main Event debuting on ESPN, who better to showcase than the poker player most defined by World Series of Poker success? Love him or hate him when Phil Hellmuth is on television - and especially during the WSOP - you're going to watch him play poker.

Phil Hellmuth and Dealer

For decades Phil has delighted and frustrated fans from all over the world, further feeding his monolithic ego.

Hellmuth won his 14th career bracelet during the 2015 WSOP and to celebrate that contributor James Guill looks back at five singular Phil Hellmuth moments over the years.

Best Phil Hellmuth Moments at WSOP

"I Can Dodge Bullets Baby"

During the 2005 WSOP Main Event Hellmuth became entangled in a pot against Frank Passantino. Hellmuth held Ac-Ks against Passantino's pocket aces.

The Ac-4d-4c flop was checked around. Passantino bet 10,000 when the turn fell the Qc.

Passantino had the nuts on the flop and now Hellmuth was trying to figure out his best play. After Phil confirmed with himself that he was indeed Phil Hellmuth, he showed his A-K to his opponent.

Passantino then showed his pocket aces to send Hellmuth into a self-congratulatory rant.

He starts by telling his wife, “Honey! Honey! I was supposed to go broke on that hand honey.” Then comes the line that Hellmuth will be remembered for for the rest of his life.

"Except they forgot one thing. I can dodge bullets baby.”

He's said other iconic things but Hellmuth's calling card truly is still dodging bullets and telling us all about it a decade after this classic moment.

The 2011 World Series of Poker

While Hellmuth didn't win a single bracelet at the 2011 WSOP poker players from around the world were put on notice that he was no longer just a "one-trick pony."

Prior to the 2011 WSOP Hellmuth's bracelet legacy was being questioned because all of his victories were in Hold'em events. That perception took a major hit thanks to one of the best individual performances in recent memory.

Hellmuth finished runner-up in the $10,000 NL 2-7 Championship, the $10,000 Stud 8 or Better Championship and in the $50,000 Poker Player's Championship to prove that he could play all games well, not just NL Hold'em.

He also ran deep in two NL events that summer and bubbled the €2,680 NL Six-Max at WSOP Europe. Not too bad for someone that "can only win at Texas Hold'em."

He also played a made-for-tv rematch versus Johnny Chan. The next year Hellmuth would finally break through and win his first non-Hold'em bracelet - in Razz.

Phil Shaves Head, Buys Back His Own Hair

Even when Hellmuth doesn't cash in the Main Event he still finds a way to make himself relevant.

After being knocked out of the Main Event by amateur Robert Varkonyi, Hellmuth claimed that Varkonyi didn't stand a chance to win.

He went even further to say that if Varkonyi won the event he would shave his head bald. Well, Varkonyi won the event and $2 million.

To Varkonyi's credit he did try to let him out of the bet. But, ever the showman, Hellmuth had already agreed to sell his hair and donate the proceeds to charity.

So Hellmuth's hair was shaved and then sold. Later Hellmuth paid $10,000 and bought back his own hair.

Phil First to Win Both Main Events

Hellmuth is always trying to make history as it pertains to the World Series of Poker and what better way to make history than be the first player to win both the Vegas Main Event and the WSOP Europe Main Event?

Despite having just won his 12th WSOP bracelet during the $2,500 Razz Event during the 2012 WSOP, there were many players that believed that Hellmuth would never be able to win another event against world-class competition.

Hellmuth then proceeded to make the final table of the 2012 WSOP Europe Main Event -- a final table that included Jason Mercier, Chris Brammer, Joseph Cheong and Stephane Albertini.

Hellmuth navigated his way through the stacked final and defeated Sergey Baranov heads-up for his record-extending 13th career bracelet and $1.33 million. Hellmuth is the only player in history to hold Main Event titles in multiple venues.

When Hellmuth is at the WSOP he goes into a special zone that most can't seem to find. Phil Ivey comes close but lacks the same motivation that has made Hellmuth a 14-time champion.

Hellmuth Becomes Youngest Main Event Winner Ever

Phil Hellmuth made history in 1989 when he defeated Johnny Chan heads-up to become the youngest winner in WSOP Main Event history. 

The 24-year-old Hellmuth made history not just because of his age but because he also stopped a potential three-peat by Chan. Chan was the winner of the 1987 and 1988 Main Events.

Hellmuth's win solidified his place in the poker world and gave us a glimpse of what was to come for the now 14-time bracelet winner.

Hellmuth's record as the youngest winner would stand for 19 years until 22-year-old Peter Eastgate won the 2008 Main Event (later surpassed for youngest champ by Joe Cada).

2015-09-15 10:26:49

Thanks Richard, had the wrong name in there. Fixed now.

2015-09-15 10:06:32

Eastgate was younger than Hellmuth when he won in 2008 and then Cada was younger than Eastgate in 2009.

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