Iconic poker pro Phil Hellmuth now has 13 WSOP bracelets but he’s not hanging up the Poker Brat gear any time soon.
Hellmuth spoke candidly about what he still hopes to accomplish in the poker world after winning his most recent bracelet at the WSOPE Main Event in Cannes.
“There’s a lot of work left to be done in my life,” he said. “I need to win 24 bracelets, the $50k Players Championship and the $25,000 WPT World Championship.”
Those lofty goals would seem ridiculous to most poker players but it’s getting harder and harder to doubt the Poker Brat.
Hellmuth’s stats at the WSOP alone are staggering. He’s now cashed 95 times in the series for $12.1 million. No one is close to catching him in bracelets as he just continues to win while the older Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan have been idling at 10 bracelets each for years.
Hellmuth Plays "Best" Hold'em of His Life to Win WSOPE ME
Phil Hellmuth ranked the recent win at the WSOPE Main Event as the second most important victory of his career, right behind his original Main Event win in 1989.
“This was significant to me, because everyone said I couldn’t play the mix games, then I had two great years of mix games,” he said. “Then I heard all these rumors that I couldn’t play Hold’em anymore. That was the best No-Limit Hold'em tournament I ever played.”
Perhaps the most surprising thing about Hellmuth is that he continues to keep pace with the younger players in a manner that many of his contemporaries have been unable to do.
“The kids will be the kids and I love most of them but there are some haters out there,” he said. “I’m absolutely evolving as a player. If you don’t evolve as a player you should just give up the game.”
Despite his tight reputation, Hellmuth still gets paid off surprisingly often.
In one of the biggest hands of the WSOPE Main Event Hellmuth got opponent Curt Kohlberg to commit his million-chip stack pre-flop with jack-ten to Hellmuth’s pocket aces.
“That was the closest I came to being all-in in the tournament,” explained Hellmuth.
Building a Better Poker Brat
Over the last couple years Hellmuth has also laid off the Poker Brat persona but he’s still prone to the occasional outbreak.
During the WSOPE Main Event final table opponent Sergii Baranov got lucky a couple times and Hellmuth performed his signature act that included laying on the floor and muttering to himself about his bad fortune.
“There were a couple times where he went crazy,” said Hellmuth. “Sergii made his moves and I was OK with that. I was more upset with the deck.”
Now 48, and coming off one of the biggest wins of his poker career, the question remains as to whether Hellmuth will still be able to win bracelets in 10, 20 or even 30 years.
“I hope so,” he said.
“I hope I continue to play at this level and that I still have my reading abilities because I think that’s what gives me an edge. I know this, in 30 years I’ll still be cashing a lot. I hope that I can still win.”