Jeff Shulman Chooses Hellmuth as WSOP Coach
Card Player President Selects 11-time Bracelet Winner for WSOP Training
One of the biggest names at the final table just got an even bigger name to coach him.
Jeff Shulman, the president of Card Player Media, has selected 11-time bracelet-winner and 1989 World Champion Phil Hellmuth to serve as his poker coach for the main-event final table in November.
“The simplest reason why I’m doing this — I want to win, and I think it will help,” said Shulman.
Shulman and Hellmuth’s relationship go way back, as the two have been friends for years, all the while maintaining a successful business relationship. Hellmuth was an obvious choice when Shulman started to seriously consider getting a coach for the final table.
“I turned on the TV and I was watching Tiger Woods or something, and I realized — every single player has a coach,” said Shulman. “No matter how good or bad my game is, it can always get better.”
Hellmuth, known as much for his brash antics at the table as he is for his record 11 World Series of Poker bracelets, will be rooting Shulman on in the Rio Penn and Teller Theater this November.
“Jeff Shulman is a first-rate businessman who runs the poker industry’s leading publication,” said Hellmuth. “Jeff also loves the game of poker, and he comes out only for the biggest and most prestigious poker tournaments in the world, where he has a terrific track record. I have always liked and respected Jeff, and that’s why I am coaching him for the November Nine, where he is the favorite to become the 2009 World Champion of poker.”
Shulman, always modest about his abilities, says he saw some flaws in his game while playing in the main event that he wants to address.
“I’m not playing my A-game right now. I’m probably like at a solid B,” said Shulman. “I made a couple calls in the tournament that I wasn’t pleased with, and I just know that I’m not the best poker player out there.”
Shulman said he chose Hellmuth in part because he had a similar style to the ’89 champ, and thought his advice would be invaluable.
“Phil just has such a way of thinking about winning that I knew he would be a great resource,” said Shulman. “We’re going to talk about final-table strategy, analyze the tapes, and work on my own play.”
Shulman said that much of the coaching would probably take place online through Skype, where Hellmuth would critique his play. Hellmuth will also fly into Las Vegas to conduct “a three- or four-day boot camp in October — or however long we can deal with each other,” said Shulman.
Shulman is the first member of the 2009 November Nine to publicly declare that he has selected a poker coach. Last year, third-place finisher Dennis Phillips sought out the advice of poker pro Roy Winston.
Sitting fourth in chips, not too many players at the final table have more experience or success than Shulman. He finished in seventh place in the 2000 WSOP main event, and has a history of success at big buy-in events, cashing four times in the prestigious $25,000 Five-Star World Poker Classic (WPT Championship) in ’03, ’04, ’05, and ’08.
While Shulman is not looking to completely revamp his game, he sees this opportunity as a chance to give him a better shot in November. There are a few things that he won’t be looking to the 11-time bracelet winner for advice, though.
“Let’s just say I won’t take lessons from him on how to treat your opponents or how to avoid going on tilt,” said Shulman.
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