Phillip J. Hellmuth, Jr. (born July 16, 1964 in Madison, Wisconsin) is a professional poker player.In 1989, the 24-year-old Phil Hellmuth became the youngest World Champion of Poker by defeating Johnny Chan in the World Series of Poker main event. Phil Hellmuth attended the University of Wisconsin for three years before dropping out to play poker full time. He is sometimes known as “poker brat” because of his perceived attitude and ego. Despite this reputation, his accomplishments are highly respected in the poker world. As of 2006 he has won nine WSOP bracelets, all in Texas Hold'em events. Phil Hellmuth is also the season three champion of Late Night Poker.
In 2005 Phil Hellmuth won the inaugural National Heads-Up Poker Championship. He defeated Men “The Master” Nguyen, Paul Phillips, Huck Seed, Lyle Berman and Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari on the way to the final against Chris “Jesus” Ferguson whom he defeated in three games. He was stunned when Ferguson won game two and shook his hand and walked out of the room. He stated to the camera “He had threes, how lucky can you get?”
As of 2005, his total live tournament winnings exceed $5,430,000He is currently appearing in the GSN series High Stakes Poker.In the spring of 2006, Hellmuth replaced Phil Gordon as the color commentator on Bravo's Celebrity Poker Showdown.Hellmuth resides in Palo Alto, California with his wife Kathy (a doctor at Stanford University) and two sons, Phillip III and Nicholas Hellmuth is one of the most recognizable figures in poker and many fans have strong opinions of him, both negative and positive. While his nine WSOP bracelets bring him much recognition, his notoriety is likely more due to his perceived inability to gracefully handle adversity and defeat.
He has made many notable boasts while playing poker tournaments, usually after losing in a hand where he was a huge favorite to win (or “bad beat”). Some televised examples include “If luck weren't involved I guess I'd win every one”, and “I've revolutionized the way to play Texas Holdem”. During the 2005 Main Event at the World Series of Poker, he even accused an amateur poker player of not even being able to spell poker. He is sometimes referred to as “Hell Mouth” (a play on his surname). While many players may not like Hellmuth's antics, producers of televised poker tournaments certainly do, since there are rare times (especially during the World Series of Poker) when a camera is not on him to capture a moment where he speaks his mind.
During the 2005 World Series of Poker Main Event, Phil Hellmuth stated that he could “dodge bullets” after making a lay down to an opponent with two Aces (the best possible starting hand). He wrote a book titled Poker Brat, which contains autobiographical material as well as poker advice. No matter what Hellmuth accomplishes in the game, this moniker may be his lasting legacy.
While many professional players, amateurs, and fans alike consider his antics distasteful and abrasive at times, they respect his talent for the game and his personality when he is away from the table. There are several instances where he does do helpful things for poker and its participants (fans and players alike):
It can be contended that Hellmuth has bad etiquette purposely, in order to gain attention and ratings. There is no doubt that Hellmuth does very well with the several publications he has written and in his endorsements. A large part of that can be attributed to selling his image as a “poker brat.”
He has participated in numerous charities and events. Also likes to voice his opinion in several segments during the World Series of Poker and in World Poker Tour events. He has also been in several podcasts related to poker, including Phil Gordon's covering the 2005 World Series of Poker.