|by Greg Cavouras|
While his table attitude may have attracted some negative attention, few people can dispute the fact that Phil Hellmuth is one of the most accomplished Poker players in the history of the game. Already at age 40, Hellmuth has placed in over 35 top Poker events, and has ten WSOP bracelets under his belt. He is now leveled with legends Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan all tied at ten.
Born in Madison, Wisconsin, Phil Hellmuth Jr. first made a name for himself by becoming the youngest player ever to win a WSOP bracelet in 1989, at age 24. With 8 more bracelets to his name since, Hellmuth is the 2nd highest money winner in WSOP history, only trailing Greg Raymer’s monumental $5 million dollar win in 2004. However, for all his success, few people would accuse Hellmuth of modesty and sportsmanship. Unfortunately, he has made some inopportune comments, and the Poker world is slow to forget. A great example of this was at the 2002 WSOP, when Phil boldly bet to shave his head if eventual-winner Robert Varkonyi won the main event. Sure enough Varkonyi lived to make Phil eat his words, coming through to win it all. Phil certainly stuck his foot in his mouth, but to his credit he came through with his promise!
Despite his reputation as a bit of a whiner, Hellmuth commands respect at any table he joins, as he is a fierce competitor and feared opponent. He is so feared in fact, that in 1996 he was voted “Best All-Around Tournament Poker Player in the World” by his peers, which is indeed an accomplishment.
Phil’s aggressive style and flamboyant behaviour have earned him large winnings and notoriety on the Poker table, but for all the hype, few would argue that he is one of the most purely talented players currently in the game, Away from the tables, Phil has made a comfortable life for himself with his wife Kathy and two sons, currently residing in Palo Alto, California. His fame has also opened doors for Hellmuth, and he has capitalized on his success, by writing two instructional poker books. He has also published many articles in various magazines. He is a spokesman for Ultimate-Bet, and frequents big money poker games all over the world.
For all his complaining and table talk, the bottom line is that Phil Hellmuth is an incredible competitor, and isn’t satisfied until all the chips at the table are in front of him. His strong aggressive play ensures he’ll be at the top of the game whenever he plays.