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Thread: Phil Hellmuth's bad behavior becomes a topic again in the 2021 WSOP

  1. #1
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Phil Hellmuth's bad behavior becomes a topic again in the 2021 WSOP

    My first time playing with Phil Hellmuth was in 2009 at the ESPN TV table for the Main Event. Almost all of these TV tables feature at least two (and often more than two) highly notable poker pros. This was an exception. Phil was the big star, I was the (very distant) secondary name, and the other 7 were unknowns. But somehow this was a selected table.

    It was the beginning of Day 2. I was very short stacked. I was able to wrangle up almost $10,000 worth of sponsorships in the literal final minutes before the day started, getting $5,000 to wear a patch for the now-defunct MavenVT (yes, THAT Maven), and $4,250 to wear Doyle's Room. Ah, the good ol' days of poker sponsorship money.

    However, Phil's presence annoyed me because we were still dealing with the fallout from the UB superuser scandal, and yet Phil was still shilling UB. He never resigned, never sold his interest, never spoke out about it. I decided that, right on TV, I was going to confront him. I knew that these ESPN episodes were highly edited, but I thought that maybe they might like some fireworks.

    Play started, and up until that point, I didn't say a word to Phil. I knew that my time to confront him was short -- I had few chips, and wouldn't be long for the table unless I doubled up.

    About five minutes in, my big blind came. Phil open-raised from early position. It folded to me. I had trash. I had to quickly think of something to say.

    "Raising my blind, Phil? Can you see my cards, or something?", I asked, and then paused 5 seconds or so.

    "Oh wait, you can't see my cards", I continued. "We're not playing on UB right now." I then my garbage hand in the muck.

    The table chuckled. Phli was speechless. A few minutes later, he finally had an answer. "Just because some people at a company did some bad things, you blame everyone at that company? Even the ones who didn't do anything bad?", Phil asked me.

    "I didn't say you cheated," I answered. "But you are still representing them, still promoting them. They've never come clean about what really happened, never paid back people in full, never gave hand histories. You've been silent about it the whole time. That's my problem."

    Phil muttered something back about how I "didn't understand", and then walked over to the floorman. To my not-so-suprrise, the floorman approached me and warned that I had to stop "harassing" Phil, or otherwise I would get a 20-minute penalty. Such a penalty would either bust or cripple my short stack, and would be equivalent to disqualification. I went quiet, but not by choice. Fittingly, I busted against Phil, when he bizarrely raised Q2 suited under the gun, I called with 33 in the BB, and flopped a set. He made a flush on the turn, and I was gone.

    Phil put out his hand to shake when I walked by, as I was exiting. I almost ignored it. Then I realized that clip of our exchange probably wouldn't make TV, and instead I'd look like a sore loser after he busted me. I gave a quick shake and moved on.

    The most surprising thing wasn't that Phil told the floorman on me, or that the WSOP gave him favortism to the point of shutting me up. Nor was it that ESPN edited out or UB exchange. The surprising thing occurred about a week or two later in the Pavilion Room at the Rio.

    I was walking through the room on break from a tournament, and Phil saw me. He walked up to me and asked if I hated him. What? Why did he even care what I thought. "I don't care if you hate UB, I understand that," said Phil. "I just don't want you to hate me."

    Here was huge poker star Phil Hellmuth, and he actually seeked me out in the Rio to make sure a D-list poker pro like me didn't hate him.

    This became a theme I noticed in the coming years, and in fact is a look into the bizarre psychology of one Philip Hellmuth.


    CONTINUED NEXT POST

  2. #2
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    After 2009, I ended up at the same table as Phil a number of times.

    They were all remarkably similar. I would never start with Phil out of the blue. I'd wait for Phil to berate someone. Then, shortly after that, I'd start talking trash to him -- usually about his demeanor, sometimes about UB, sometimes both.

    We would go back and forth, then it would die down.

    Then, just like after our 2009 exchange, Phil would try to make up with me. Sometimes hours later, Phil would remark to me, "You know I'm not really a bad guy, I just say things at the table", or "You know how I am... I don't mean any harm." In fact, there was only one occasion playing with Phil where he didn't try to get me back in his corner -- when I invoked a rule regarding what consittutes a raise, and then bad beat him in that same hand. In all other cases, including one since that 2017 incident, Phil wanted to make sure I didn't hate him.

    This is especially curious because Phil seems to intimidate just about everyone at the table -- including other pros. I've never seen anyone talking back to him, other than me. I've seen him berate pros, I've seen him berate recreational players, and it's always the same thing. They sit there in stunned silence, either uncomfortable or scared to say anything.

    I don't think the fear is one of physical fear. It's unlikely anyone is worried about Phil beating them up in the parking lot -- especially since his one parking lot fight ended in an embarrassing one-punch loss against Sam Grizzle, back in 2003. Instead, it seems that his poker celebrity leaves people intimidated. Others perhaps fear they don't have the energy or the one-liners in them to go back and forth with him in a verbal battle, even if it's not televised. Every time he blows up, I keep waiting for others to have a go at him, but it never happens. I'm not the only one who has talked trash to Hellmuth (again see Grizzle, Sam), but it's never happened when I've been physically present.

    But if that's true -- if I'm one of the few willing to talk shit to Hellmuth -- why does he want me to like him? Clearly my opinion of him will do little to harm his reputation. Clearly he is, and always has been, a much bigger name in poker than me. So why do I matter?

    I believe this is part of whatever psychological issues Hellmuth has. While he seemingly can't help himself regarding acting like a jerk at the table, he also has a strange need to be liked -- or at least not hated -- by his poker pro peers. That's what bothered him about my trash talking. It wasn't that I was a big name in poker -- it was that he knew I was a poker pro, and perceived that I hated him. In Hellmuth's perfect world, his poker pro peers might think he's a jerk, but none will actually hate him.

    But enough about me. Let's get back to Phil's behavior at the tables....


    CONTINUED NEXT POST

     
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      JimmyG_415: I know we don't get a long, but besides that you came off like a sore loser.

  3. #3
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    I used to think Phil's bad behavior was mostly an act for TV. I eventually learned that assessment was incorrect.

    Phil is always Phil, whether it's on a major ESPN broadcast or if Day 1 of a non-televised, non-streamed $1500 Limit Holdem event in a back room of the Rio. It's not an act at all. That's the real Phil.

    The problem is that his behavior is getting progressively worse each year, because the WSOP tolerates it. There is and always has been tremendous favortism at the WSOP for the big name pros. They believe the brand and series prestige rests largely upon pahticipation by the big names. Hellmuth brings the hits. They will never ban him. In fact, Hellmuth has the power to reverse other people's lifetime bans.

    This presents an issue for the WSOP, because Phil is untouchable, yet his behavior would result in punishment if it were committed by anyone else besides him and a handful of big-name pros. Up until now, the WSOP has basically dismissed this as Phil being Phil, and while there's been some grumbling, it hasn't been bad enough to really get anyone's attention. However, I knew that the day would come when a discussion would finally be had about this. When is Hellmuth going to be brought under control, and why do other pros tolerate this blatant favortism?


    He's been doing well, making final tables this WSOP. However, zero bracelets so far, and he's not even getting to the top 3. This has Phil increasingly agitated, and at the Seven Card Stud $10k event, streamed on Poker Go, he went off.





    "I'm going to burn this fucking place down if I don't win this fucking tournament"

    Can you imagine if I said that? If you said that? Probably an instaban from all Caesars properties. When Phil says it... no problem.

    Good writeup on the situation on Pokernews, including various tweets by other pros calling him out: https://www.pokernews.com/news/2021/...line-40034.htm


    Will this change Hellmuth's behavior? Probably not. He's not going to change unless the WSOP starts bringing some consequences to him, and they never will. He's apologizing below, but that's along the same lines as always. Phil doesn't want to be hated. But he's not going to try to act better.

    https://twitter.com/#!/x/status/1448048708264742912

    https://twitter.com/#!/x/status/1448050323797385217

  4. #4
    ppl are being holier than thou snowflake fags about this. in the moment nobody said a word at the table because it was totally standard: Hellmuth is a tilt monkey and harmless.


    Also SrysFaglious is a weasel MFer who wants bad things to happen to other ppl, a totally trash human

     
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      JoeD: Winning post. Can lock this thread now.

  5. #5
    So after all that we now realize Phil is also a half assed angry BJ player who goes by the name “ZenKing” online.

  6. #6
    Dan Druff is correct to criticize Hellmuth's handling of the UB situation. As a spectator I've always enjoyed watching Phil Hellmuth be an asshole at the table and hope he keeps doing it forever

  7. #7
    Phil Hellmuth Jr needs a t-shirt that says "Burn This Fucking Place Down".








  8. #8
    Gold Cerveza Fria's Avatar
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    I think you can use his vanity to get under his skin. Very simple tactic that can be employed over time while seated at a table with him. You know what to do.

  9. #9
    Hellmuth is very entertaining. He and Negreanu keep the game interesting. They are showmen. The younger players, who sit there like robots, are totally boring to watch and have killed the popularity of poker on TV.

  10. #10
    So easy to put Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu on tilt.

    Will these assholes retire soon?

    Younger poker players will think this behavior is normal.

    By the way, Doug Polk deleted SrSlySirius video spoof of Daniel Negreanu's master class from YouTube.


  11. #11
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    The lifetime ban of Sam Panzica has come up again, given that Hellmuth said he would burn the Rio down if he lost the tournament. Sam was banned for muttering, "I wish I had an AK right now" (referring to an AK-47) while on the rail at the Main Event. Security claimed that someone reported him for saying he would "mow everyone down in the crowd with an AK-47", yet witnesses there say that he didn't say that.

    https://twitter.com/#!/x/status/880647914443350017


    https://twitter.com/#!/x/status/1448337702554791936

  12. #12
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    In the meantime, Mommy and Daddy Hellmuth are angry at him, supposedly.

    https://twitter.com/#!/x/status/1448431418762088448

  13. #13
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Chris Moneymaker and others are calling for the WSOP to end the favortism. Good luck with that.

    I agree with him, but it's not gonna happen.

    https://twitter.com/#!/x/status/1448301531732791304

  14. #14

  15. #15
    There are absolutely two sets of rules for player conduct at the WSOP. Just yesterday, Daniel Negreanu posted a Youtube video of himself literally blackout drunk at the 6max NLHE event, verbally and even physically harassing other players.

    I am well aware that if I show up at an event blackout drunk and put my hands on another player, even if it's "playful", I'm getting DQ'ed on the spot and wouldn't be surprised if I catch a lifetime ban.

  16. #16

     
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      Walter Sobchak: Lol

  17. #17
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    Guy is at another final table today. Whata lucky terrible poker player.

  18. #18
    2nd in chips with 3 left. Go Phil.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Dive_Bar_Dave View Post
    2nd in chips with 3 left. Go Phil.
    Heads up; nearly even in chips
    It's hilarious that we as a society think everyone can be a dr, a lawyer, an engineer. Some people are just fucking stupid. Why can't we just accept that?

  20. #20
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Now he's up 2:1

    He's really been crushing it lately, between the heads up victories and his 2021 WSOP performance

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