Poker Legends: Phil Hellmuth
Phil Hellmuth is one of the most accomplished poker players of all time. At 15 bracelets, he holds the current all-time records for most WSOP wins, alongside a staggering $22.7 million in tournament cashes. However, it’s not just his skill that’s made him famous.
Also known as The Poker Brat, Hellmuth’s temper tantrums is certainly one of his defining features. Montages of his best blowups are plentiful across the internet, and viewers can count on seeing this sore loser arguing with his opponents, making personal attacks, and complaining about his bad luck in his classic potty mouth.
As he put it during a Poker Night in American game, “I haven’t always been the most graceful loser.”
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Behind the Poker Brat
It’s easy to dismiss Hellmuth as talented and vile in equal parts, but an interview with Patrick Bet-David reveals another side of this controversial character. He starts by explaining how he was the oldest of five siblings and that he was never as good as they were at academics, athletics, or any of the other skills that earned their parents’ praise.
What he was good at, however, was gaming. He held tightly to his belief that he was the best gamer, and whenever he lost he would blow up. “Fast forward 30 years, and I’m still doing the same stuff,” he explained.
Despite how readily he loses control at the table, the interview reveals a man who’s both reflective and self-aware. He’s even authored a book called #POSITIVITY, which reveals the mindset that’s enabled him to climb to the top.
His philosophy includes visualizing yourself accomplishing your goals, making your own reality, conservative money management, giving yourself permission to succeed, and a three-step process for forgiving people you hate.
A Complex Character
While the only person who truly knows the real Phil Hellmuth is the man himself—and probably his wife too—we see a picture of a complex character who can’t easily be painted in black and white. Yes, it’s undeniable that he is a truly sick poker pro and deserves his title as one of the best of all time. But what should we make of his character?
Perhaps it’s best for us to withhold our judgment. Yes, the man can definitely act like a total jerk. But he’s also given extensively to charity, thinks deeply about how to be a better man, and seems determined to help others improve themselves as well.
Phil Hellmuth is as much of a complex character as he is an amazing card player.