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Hellmuth having a good time in $50K Poker Player's Championship

6 July 2011

You know it’s a big tournament when Phil Hellmuth’s wife is in the building.

Hellmuth, who already has two runner-up finishes at this year’s World Series of Poker, entered Day 4 of the $50,000 Poker Player’s Championship in fifth chip position, holding nearly twice the average chip stack with 29 players remaining. While he toiled away at the tables, his wife, Kathy, sat a few yards away, discreetly observing the action.

In the first level of the day, Hellmuth lost a good portion of those chips in two no-limit Hold’em hands against Matt Glantz. He folded ace-jack preflop on one of those hands (or so he claims … the cards were never revealed), and he lost more after calling Glantz’s all-in bet holding pocket nines. Glantz was behind, turning up ace-six of clubs, but he caught an ace on the flop to double up and leave Hellmuth speechless. Well, at least for a few seconds.

“I tried to send a message when I raised it to 45,000,” muttered Hellmuth. “This guy can’t even speak no-limit Hold’em.”

The other players started to needle him to keep the tirade going. Gus Hansen came over from another table to see what the fuss was about, hearing the story firsthand from Hellmuth.

Hellmuth smiled a lot on Tuesday.

Hellmuth smiled a lot on Tuesday. (photo by Aaron Todd)

“How can you always have the best hand and lose for 13 straight years?” Hansen said, egging Hellmuth on more. The rail got a kick out of that comment, and even Hellmuth had a wry smile on his face.

More than 14 hours later, at 5:30 a.m. and with the final nine players consolidated on one table, Hellmuth folded a preflop raise to Ben Lamb’s all-in re-raise, prompting Lamb to throw his hand face up on the table, revealing a measly jack-deuce.

Hellmuth was stunned, and the table knew that Lamb’s bluff was another chance to get the self-proclaimed “Poker Brat” ranting again.

“To be fair, the jack-deuce was good,” said Scott Seiver.

“No, actually,” said Hellmuth, “I had him dominated.”

“Oh, so jack-four of diamonds, then?”

When Seiver saw Hellmuth grin, he felt like he had the hand pegged for sure. Hellmuth insisted he wasn’t right.

“I believe you,” said Seiver. “An elephant’s got a shorter memory than Phil Hellmuth.”

If you’ve watched Hellmuth play on TV, you’ve probably already formed an opinion on him. But most of the time, you only get to see the first 30 seconds of his reaction, and not the few minutes that follow. Those first 30 seconds – when he berates the play of others and whines about the terrible luck he has – make him pretty unlikable. But the next few minutes, when he playfully trades barbs with the other players who are needling him, make him the type of guy you’d love to have in your home game. (Well, other than the fact that he’d probably take all your money.)

“I don’t mind being needled,” Hellmuth said at one point when the tournament was down to its final two tables. “But it’s got to be clever.”

And the players sitting with Hellmuth were exceedingly clever on Day 4. With 11 players left, Hellmuth was giving his standard speech about how bad everyone else plays in comparison, when George Lind delivered a quick retort.

“Phil, at worst you’re the 11th-best mixed game player in the world right now,” said Lind.

Make that one of the best nine. While the plan for Day 4 was originally to play down to the final eight players, Tournament Director Jack Effel made the decision to suspend the tournament after seven levels of play just before 6 a.m., and start back up at 3 p.m. on Wednesday. The tournament is set to be aired on ESPN3.com “live” on a 30-minute delay complete with hole-card cameras, and a two-hour edited show will air later on ESPN.

It’s unclear at this time whether or not the tournament will continue to play the eight-game mix format that has been played throughout until ninth place is determined, or whether the tournament will switch to just no-limit Hold’em immediately once play resumes.

Minh Ly finished play as the chip leader with more than 5.2 million chips. Brian Rast leads the chase pack in second with nearly 2.7 million, while Glantz has just over 2.5 million. George Lind, who has more lives than an alley cat (he was all-in what seemed like a dozen times on Day 4), is in fourth with 2.3 million, Hellmuth is fifth with 2.2 million, Owais Ahmed is sixth with 1.4 million, Lamb is seventh with almost 1.2 million, Jason Lester is eighth with 920,000, and Seiver is ninth with 725,000. The no-limit Hold’em games will be played with 25,000/50,000 blinds with a 15,000 ante when play resumes.
Hellmuth having a good time in $50K Poker Player's Championship is republished from CasinoVendors.com.
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Best of Aaron Todd
Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.

Aaron Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.