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Player Profile – Phil Hellmuth

It seems like Phil Hellmuth has been around at the tables forever, but at just 47 Hellmuth is far from finished. The leading WSOP bracelet holder has recently added to his record, and it is one that he intends to keep. Here, we will look at Phil Hellmuth the man and the player.

History and About

Born on July 16th 1964 in Madison Wisconsin, Hellmuth attended university to study for a business degree, but like many of the current crop of professionals, he dropped out to play poker.

As Hellmuth started playing long before the days of the online game, his upbringing was a lot different to the professional of today. While at university, Hellmuth played a few games, games that he would make a small profit from. This was all that Hellmuth needed as a sign that poker was what he wanted to do with his life. In his very first-year Hellmuth built a $12,000 bankroll playing local games.

During this time, Hellmuth started taking lessons from Tuli Haromy. Tuli suggested that it would be a good idea for Hellmuth to go to Vegas to play some of the bigger games so Hellmuth went for three days. Hellmuth learnt two things from that trip, he had what it took to beat the best, and he needed to drop all other forms of gambling. While Hellmuth won at the poker tables, he lost everything playing other table games.

It was 1988 when Hellmuth dropped all other forms of gambling. This is when he built enough of a bankroll to enter the main event at the WSOP in 1988, an event which he would be knocked out from, finishing 33rd.

Of course, Hellmuth would then go onto famously win the 1989 WSOP heads up against Chan, but this was not the start of the good times. Hellmuth basically spent all his money on luxuries and high-stakes games. At one point, Hellmuth even had to borrow money. Hellmuth himself admitted, later on, that he was too cocky because of his success, and this led to complacency.


Hellmuth’s real success at the tables didn’t come with that one big win in 1989. Many say that it started in 1992-1993 when he won four WSOP events inside two years. Even though the whole prize came in at about $100,000 less than his ‘big win’ the fact that Hellmuth won four main events was enough to put him on the map as an established player rather than somebody with just a single major tournament to his name.

Since then, Hellmuth has the record for the most bracelets at the WSOP with 12, final tables with 47, and money finishes with 90. He is also the first person to win a bracelet in four different decades.

Hellmuth has also had various successes outside the WSOP. He has cashed 13 times in WPT events even though he is yet to win one.


Hellmuth has already made it clear that he intends to win at least 50 WSOP bracelets so it is fair to say he has no intention of leaving the tables any time soon. Hellmuth has a strong media presence and has his own website where he sells poker merchandise.

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