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The rebirth of Phil Hellmuth: PEMM

by Phil Hellmuth |  Published: Feb 16, '10

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Posted: February 16, 2010 12:09 PM

2009 was my worst year ever in poker.  I did tons of stuff wrong and I actually lost money for the year.  Some people say that the reason that I did poorly was because the players in the fields vastly improved the way that they play poker, and that I am now outside of the top ten in the poker world.  I say the reason that I did poorly in 2009 was because of the fact that I have to deal with so much stuff; both inside, and outside of the poker world: and that eventually caused me to lose my way.  PEMM (P positive, E Exercise, M Moment, M Meditation) was one of the reasons that I climbed to the top of the poker world, especially in the game with the most skill, Texas Hold'em.  For a long time PEMM has been outside of my immediate purview.

First, I seemed to lose some of my P (Positive outlook).  In 2008 and 2009 there was the UB scandal, and even though I knew that I had zero involvement in the scandal (UB's COO Paul Leggett did the investigation himself, and then a few months later he signed me to a multi-year deal), the whole thing just bummed me out and weighed me down.  Then there was the sudden rise of my celebrity to a ridiculous scale.  Starting in 2007 fans began coming up to me many times a day to tell me powerful things, "You are my idol," or "You are the best poker player in the world," or "I aspire to be you," or "I love the way you play," or "I am a huge fan, I watch you play every single day."  This is good positive energy, but it is not natural for someone to get that much highly emotional praise every day.  I understand why most big stars act crazy, or start to act in weird abnormal ways.  By February of 2008 I couldn't deal with all of the adulation and I was having some "panic attacks."  In one weekend where I hit the wall, my wife and sons and I hit a hotel in Monterrey, and everyone I came into contact with seemed to know me, stare at me, come up to me, and they all called me by my first name.  I would be out for a walk at midnight with my son, and people would spill out into the streets and shout my name.  I would never wish that anyone ever felt whatever it was that I felt at that low point.  My stomach was in knots, my stomach was in constant pain (but not sharp pain), I was feeling under siege from the world, I wasn't sleeping well, every time someone started at me or came up to me it felt horrible (I still managed to smile and thank them for the praise), and I was short tempered with my beloved wife and sons.  Fortunately for me, my wife and I have the resources to go somewhere to get it sorted out, and on Monday (a day later) we were on a private jet to the world's leading health spa: "Canyon Ranch."

At "Canyon Ranch" I had every health test that they offered, and I eventually gave up 17 small vials of blood for the process!  I am a very lucky guy, and my health scores were absolutely perfect across the board, except that I needed to give up sugar (I love "Twizzlers" and other candy!).  So my problem was in the realm of the mental, not the physical.  After a few days down ay "Canyon Ranch" I was still pretty miserable, but I was working hard to understand my problem; and I was eating super healthy, and working out every day.  On the fourth day there I had some contact with the spiritual leader of CR; Jonathan Ellerby (he has some great books out).  Ellerby helped me out tremendously, and one exercise that he taught me the following.  When walking through an airport, do not notice the people stopping in their tracks when they notice you, rather imagine a red line leading to the plane you are going to get onto.  This worked well for me.  Ellerby and I also talked about the difference in living your life, and living your "Persona."  I have the "Poker Brat Persona," but it does not accurately define me.  In fact, Phil Hellmuth is a very different animal then the "Poker Brat" is.  Within the poker world I am well liked by almost every insider.  They know me to be honorable, honest, with high ethics and morals, compassionate, a fun guy, someone that takes time to raise millions for charity, and someone that has never cheated on his wife, ever (been together 20 years).  Oh, and they also know me to act like John McEnroe act the poker table!  They laugh at how Phil Hellmuth can transition to the "Poker Brat!"  The insiders know that within my "Poker Brat" rants there is no bite, just way too much bark!  Ellerby helped me see that I was living my persona rather than living my life.  All of the great compliments that people give me are not meant for Phil Hellmuth the person.  They are meant for "Poker Brat" the poker champion.  When I understood this, and saw it clearly, I began to feel much better!  From then on each day brought some more healing.  When we left a week later, I was still only 50%, but it felt great!  A few weeks later I was fully recovered and I clearly understood that I would suffocate if I lived my life as the "Poker Brat."  Dealing with celebrity is not easy, and there is no manual.  Today it is worse than ever as I am mobbed here in Vegas every day, but I am taking it 200% better than I used to.  My current strategy is to understand that I do inspire millions of people, and that I need to continue to win to inspire people.  I like to think that I can shed my "Poker Brat" behavior in 2010 (like I did yesterday in Heat Two of the "Premiere League") and inspire even more people.  I like to imagine that many millions of people will be inspired by me winning with class, positive energy, and a game that is played truly in the moment.

After hiring Sam Chauhan as my "Mindset Coach" the P (Positive energy) is beginning to get ramped way up!  However, I still was having a tough time in my first match on Saturday in the "Premiere League" (my first major tournament since November).  I felt a ton of pressure, and it was a horrible feeling to have.  And then I let my ego get involved and I tilted off some chips.  My wife suggested that I "Stay in the moment" because she felt like I would only feel pressure if I was thinking about the past or the future.  In my second match, I was able to stay in the moment, and shed myself of the negative energy that I sometimes throw out there as the "Poker Brat."  On paper the result was the same as the first match, I finished sixth out of eight, but there was world of difference in the way I played!  I was positive, calm, cool, collected, and I felt zero pressure.  In fact, even though we lost no one in the first four levels and the pressure was clearly mounting for everyone else, I was actually having fun!!  When I lost another coin flip (my A-6 vs Daniels K-Q), I could have gone negative and complained about how many coin flips I have lost in the past on "Premiere League," but instead I shook my opponent's hands, and I left the set feeling positive.  No small feat for someone that has acted like a "Poker Brat" for so many decades. I am in bad shape right now points-wise in the "Premiere League" after two of my four matches, but I am on the right poker path now, finally, after a year or two of getting in my own way!!  I play my third match tomorrow (you can follow with "Live" hole cardspretty cool--at www.pokernews.com), and a first would put in great shape, and even a second or third gives me a fighting chance going into my fourth and final match.

I am on the right path now.  I am playing in the moment, without pressure, and making sure to get enough sleep.  I am all PEMM baby, Positive, Exercising, Meditating, and in the Moment!

Learn more about Phil at www.PhilHellmuth.com and visit his web store at www.PokerBrat.com

Learn more about Phil by going to his website, www.PhilHellmuth.com and visit his Web store at www.PokerBrat.com.

 
Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of CardPlayer.com.
 

Comments

DCJ1
9 years ago

Excuses, excuses, excuses.

I could give you a lot of help as to why you're no longer competitive. But, since you appear to be unwilling to take advice (as the supreme being that you believe yourself to be), I'll let you flounder in mediocrity.

 
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metadon
9 years ago

phil hellmuth
blog
pemm
lol

 
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190Proof
9 years ago

The greatest fool is he who thinks he has nothing to learn.

 
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mikeyb111
9 years ago

Phil-- you are too modest. You inspire BILLIONS with your accomplishments. What other person in history has done so much for humanity? Your name is on the lips of the suffering, the dispossessed, and the desperate. To be in your presence is to experience the aura of the divine.

 
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HellmuthandMatusowRDumbAces
over 8 years ago

Phil Hellmuth is a joke. He needs to grow up and quit acting childish. If anyone saw his behavior at the L.A. poker classic it is clear that he still thinks he is the best poker player in the world. Tom Dwan sure showed him on poker after dark when he outplayed Phil with a pair of sixes and then hit the river for trips. Phil, maybe you and Mike "the mouth" should start hanging out together and just playing amongst yourselves. You both act alike...LMFAO at you two IDIOTS every time you get busted.

 
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HellmuthandMatusowRDumbAces
over 8 years ago

Phil Hellmuth is a joke. He needs to grow up and quit acting childish. If anyone saw his behavior at the L.A. poker classic it is clear that he still thinks he is the best poker player in the world. Tom Dwan sure showed him on poker after dark when he outplayed Phil with a pair of sixes and then hit the river for trips. Phil, maybe you and Mike "the mouth" should start hanging out together and just playing amongst yourselves. You both act alike...LMFAO at you two IDIOTS every time you get busted.

 
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scootterxlch
9 years ago

i am just waiting for some low stakes online qualifier to poke him in his nose the next time he berates someone at th table. it is not if it is when. bottom line poker is harder to beat now tha never and the big guys who were coasting are getting schooled now because the average player is better.
i would love to see them play from their own bankroll

 
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mgils
9 years ago

AWESOME STUFF PHIL! lmao

Starting in 2007 fans began coming up to me many times a day to tell me powerful things, "You are my idol," or "You are the best poker player in the world," or "I aspire to be you," or "I love the way you play," or "I am a huge fan, I watch you play every single day."

 
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trigs
9 years ago

wow phil is insane. great stuff lol.

 
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seamarfan269
9 years ago

That fine line between genius and crazy is beginning to blurr a bit..."my 2 cents".

 
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Venable
9 years ago

Phil just dropped 200 dimes on high stakes poker, yeah phil, we want to be like you! And here i was feeling bad about dropping a few hundred online with hands like my pocket kings getting hammered by orphans two thirds of the time,,,,,,,, HEY PHIL, CAN I HOLD A FEW HUNDRED TO RELOAD MY UB ACCOUNT? I KEEP GETTING RAPED!

 
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TXMaxx
9 years ago

Mental problems is RIGHT!...Take down the false ego and thinking so much of yourself, you ARE out of the top 10 so go out and prove yourself!

After watching the first episode of High Stakes Poker where you lost 200K really fast in the first episode this year, the pros hopefully taught you something. You are only a "great player" in your own mind...LOL

 
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My hemmies hurt
9 years ago

Good God, it would be soooo easy to pile on here. But I choose not to.
I met Phil at the Mirage in 2004. He was with Gracz, Flack, and Paul Azinger. He paused and took a photo with me and my wife, and was very generous with his time.
Is he still one of the best? Ask yourself how many people you would rather choose if you had to lay down a bet on a winning a bracelet next year--and if the bet was for your house. Lisandro and Ivey, while not disparaging them, won in small tourneys, (a wise choice) whereas Phil goes deep in many large tourneys.
Is he perfect? No. Inflated ego? Yes. But truly look at his blogs compared to others. Brunson puffs up, Daniel, while introspective, does as well. Winston? who the hell cares about this guy?
Hellmuth name drops a lot, but doesn't it actually tell the story, if not intrigue you more about his lifestyle?
Keep at it Phil, just keep working on chilling out and not disrespecting the suckouts of "Northern European Idiots." No press is bad press, but it does demean you.

 
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zerofan
9 years ago

Phil, are you done convincing yourself that those are the real reasons why you didnt have a good year?

I see a great player who has low self-esteem and needs to remind everyone that beats him that he is the best even though he got beat.

Grow up Phil!

 
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SevenKidsPoppy
9 years ago

> $50.
> ATM
> BANKWIRE
> PHIL, MEDITATING

 
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SevenKidsPoppy
9 years ago

Solution for Phil:

DITCH the poker brat persona.

 
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lilmacdaddy
9 years ago

Phil, Can you tell all of us why you have the incessant need to name drop in virtually every blog or to remind us somehow of your wealth or popularity. Did we really need to know that you arrived at Canyon Ranch by private jet? Did it somehow make the story better that you took Amir Vahedi to a boxing match on tickets that you got comped? Was he not worthy of you buying tickets and taking him?

All of this nonsense that you say in the blog may be in keeping up with the Poker Brat persona but do you think the majority of the people that read this blog want to hear you brag non stop?

You say that the poker insiders know the real Phil Hellmuth and like him. How about showing that side to America. How about approaching the game with some humility and respect. This game has been so good to you and you are good for the game. People would love to see the other side of you.

Surely you are intelligent enough to realize that your current NLHE game is not up to par with the world's best. Why not embrace this and prove to everyone that you have what it takes to regain your lost stature.

It would be great to see you go back and fix the leaks in your game and prove all of the people wrong that say you are no longer a viable threat to win in tough fields.

It would be great for poker. GOOD LUCK!

 
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seamarfan269
9 years ago

Please Phil, i beg you....DON'T DROP THE "POKER BRAT" PERSONA. In this day and age we all need some "relief" from reality, like Tiger (I'm sorry...I got caught) Woods, Charlie (Merry f'n Xmas and pass the bottle) Sheen; we need Phil (check out the hot Eva Longoria in my private jet on the the way to Malibu) Hellmuth in our lives!! Please stay and entertain us!! "My 2 Cents". p.s. "Honey, some IDIOT from Northern Europe called my raise with Q-T". I love this guy!!

 
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TXMaxx
9 years ago

This guy will never win the WSOP main even again, so he better take the Ivey approach and win smaller tourneys in the WSOP. I truly think Ivey is a much better player because he does and can win playing all types of poker where the helmet can only play tourney NLHE. You think when the pros see him show up at High Stakes Poker, playing their cash game, they are drooling and making fun of him all the way? of course they are, a truer fish for them there has never been!

 
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Who_Yaw
9 years ago

I only read this blog because Daniel said he read it. I should have stuck with my game. Haven't read a Hellmuth blog for over a year, maybe two, and I now need a shower to scrub off Hellmuth's narcisism.

"I was losing because people were staring at me." What a loser. There's a dog barking outside. Wonder what that will do to my game tonight?

I can't take a private jet anywhere, but I can reflect upon my opponent's decisions and find exploitable weaknesses. Don't need a plane to, as Daniel says, LTPB (Learn To Play Better).

 
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TXMaxx
9 years ago

Judging from Hellmuth's losses over the years if he did not have endorsement deals he would be broke. He is a legend in his own mind ONLY...lol

 
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webmrkt
9 years ago

Phil, It is easy to see that most of the bloggers have not lived in the world of poker long enough to understand what you are trying to say or have ever been on top For years and back to the bottom again.

I remember driving to the bay101 to spank you for $5,000 in 60/120 back in 1990ish and was on top of the world because I spanked Phil Hellmuth and he ranted..
I remember how I focused on that for a month or two just to come back and do it again a few months later. Each time carefully after you had a big win. (Your Chips are looser then..lol)

Would I want to try to beat you day in and day out? NO Way... You would have me for lunch. Sure, I know the game as well as it can be learned after 30 years of playing it, but I recognize the skill of setting up a table and building am empire which you are masterful at doing and very few young people understand.

I also see that getting snapped by the game is a tough thing to avoid when you play for days and the blinds get high like they do no matter how good you are at the game. You can't lay down AA when someone comes over the top for half your stack and then sucks out. I also see the Pro's sneak in there and not get snapped off and go on to finish high in the standings. So there is something to the knowledge over the long run.

Keep playing Phil. Your good for the game. Know that you are going to have good days and bad and try not to let the morons get to ya.

ps, I never returned to give your money back because I knew you would get it..

 
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tompoker
9 years ago

You really cant make this stuff up! Hes actually serious.

 
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fetonzio
9 years ago

all these people have made justified fun of phil's ridiculous ego and immaturity. yes, phil, it is hard to stay at the stop in any sport, and in poker the only way u could ever hope to do so would be to thoroughly look at ur game looking for actual mistakes - instead of just to tell people how perfectly u played and how, apparently, simple math like pot odds apply to all poker player in the world, except one.

oh and by the way, any player who plays enough tournaments will win some of them. some will run great at 180-player online sit-and-gos, while others will happen to run great at the world series of poker. i'm just saying...

i do not care about any of that. looking at phil rant like an idiot gets old after the 20th time. people should just dismiss it - unless of course u are the one being called an idiot by phil, in which case u should spit right in his face. phil, i wish u would read this: it is not cool to tell people u are very rich all the time without anyone asking u. it is not cool to say u can afford to spend 20k a night on dom perignon. it just isn't. it is very good that u enjoy life so much, but that should be enough. it's like u want everyone to know ur life is better than theirs.

also, although i do hear great things about u from the people who claim to really know u, i find it debatable whether ur actually a good person who just happens to be an annoying retard at the table. look at how u treat the dealer in this poker after dark episode, 5m35s into the video: http://tinyurl.com/ylyvop3

no, phil that is not all right. don't u think everybody has problems? are ur problems bigger than everybody else's? don't u keep saying u have the greatest life? so why is it u believe it's okay to be so rude to people u don't know. maybe someday u will be rude to someone prone to violence who is having a very bad day and has a switchblade in their pocket. maybe then u will understand why it is that pretty much everyone in the world doesn't shout at random people who have done nothing to them. no, phil that is not all right even after the biggest suckout by the biggest fish on the biggest tournament. and don't say u can't help urself. when u cut ur finger and say "oh fuck!" u can't help urself, but sitting in front of someone and calling them an idiot for ten minutes is just being an idiot urself. it is not all right. really. ask anyone. really.

but if i could leave u with just one advice, it would be this: stop saying u have never cheated on ur wife. it is great that u know it and she knows it, but do u want a medal? that's just u keeping a promise u made, being a decent person, and nothing else. it's another of those things u say out of the blue, that no ones cares about, and that just sounds weird thrown there in the middle.

 
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pappyjackTX
9 years ago

I think Phil is a "shoo-in" for the Nobel Prize and while we are at it,give him The Medal Of Honor,Silver Star and Purple Heart for "dodging all those bullets baby".

A real legend in his own world.lol

 
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what?
9 years ago

phil needs to check himself before he wrecks himself

 
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x19
9 years ago

What a weak clown he is.....and this bit about being "faithful" to his wife is getting a bit tiresome -- like anybody cares. The real fact of the matter is that there is NOBODY that would EVER want to be intimate with him unless of course there would be money involved. Oh yeah...if he weren't such a clown he would have NEVER embraced the stupid "pokerbrat" moniker and would have just let his results speak for themselves. Phill Hellmuth- The King of Fools.

 
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mikeyb111
9 years ago

That switchblade line was great. Lol.

 
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Venable
9 years ago

Another early exit in the $25,000 bounty shootout,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, i honestly think this dude has completly lost or is on drugs or something!!!!!
He makes a complete fkn fool of himself in the shootout, his play looked like what a 10 year old would play like!

 
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Venable
9 years ago

Duthie had him on complete tilt in less than 20 minutes!!!!!!

 
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mikeyb111
9 years ago

Hellmuth got lucky early on in his "career" and that forever led him to believe he had some special skills. He can't accept the fact that there are plenty of $3-$6 limit players that know just as much as he does about poker.

 
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toadrunner
9 years ago

Phil-
Did they forget to check you for NPD? (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) That would seem to be the most obvious place to start since I've assumed you have been the poster child for NPD for decades...

Just make sure your reflecting pool does grow any algae on the surface and you should do fine....

 
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biggreg64
9 years ago

I said 5 years ago the game had passed him by. That is very evident now. Bye bye Phil.

 
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TXMaxx
9 years ago

Anyone else think Phil's wife needs to increase his meds?

 
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rickyste
9 years ago

I'm available for mental coaching too. I just need to get paid upfront - not interested in a percentage of your future winnings. Kthxbye.

 
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misternk
9 years ago

maybe you need to get to the tournament on time to get a full stack or even early. maybe the tournamant staff will give you more chip because your the star.you seem to be needing them to last a little longer!!!!!!!!

 
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Imjustsaying
9 years ago

Mr. Hellmuth,
I think you are by far one of the best complainer in the game. You are my idol when it comes to complaining. You inspired me to complain my best. And, I think you are a good poker player too, not great, just good. Sure you can beat me at poker and complaining. But still, you're just good among the pros.

 
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mewich
9 years ago

Phil see's dead people!

 
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TXMaxx
9 years ago

phil gone again at the Bay 100? lol see ya, the worlds # 27th Holdem player!

 
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stopit5
9 years ago

tx maxx you clearly have some sick obsession with hellmuth which kind of reaffirms what a good player he is. i dont see your spam posts all over roy winstons blog. ure making fun of him for getting his money in as 3-1 favorite against a donkey making a move with a-j at final table of wpt event that you probably couldnt afford to satellite into? do something else with your life please my friend.

 
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TXMaxx
9 years ago

helmuth is a whining tool, who is clearly not as good a player as he thinks he is. Past performances was OK but his recent failures just prove my point...maybe # 12 in the world and that is stretching it. Then again his only game is holdem and that does not make him great, only a good holdem player. Most of the pros think he is a tool, you can see that by the way he is made fun of at any high stakes cash game.

 
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stopit5
9 years ago

why are u posting 6 different comments on a single blog for the 12th best player in the world? do you get all of your poker info from watching GSN? he has the most bracelets of anyone and youre pointing to one slow year to make your point? you're saying that b/c he final tabled a wpt ME and got all of his money in as a 3-1 favorite that he's not that good?

 
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TXMaxx
9 years ago

little stopit, Bracelets? is that how you count wins and loses? Here all this time I thought the score was kept in $$$$, no wonder you don't understand! Phil is washed up, nothing but hype (his own of course), a fish for the real Pro's.

 
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stopit5
9 years ago

i dunno why i'm even bothering but YES i do consider bracelets wins considering you have to WIN to get them. I also consider $11 million in tournament earnings pretty successful in terms of "$$$$"

 
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toadrunner
9 years ago

Phil-
This "PEMM" post is getting a little ripe wouldn't you say? Why don't you employ a little "MMOPE" (stop Meditating for a Moment and Organize some Positive Expressions) and give us all a fresh post.

It's depressing mud season in New England, and I could use a new laugh...

 
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TXMaxx
9 years ago

stopit, phil is not going to give you a bracelet or $$ IF he even has much left, you can now stop sucking his....

 
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MrWreckedIt
over 8 years ago

and then you forgot what PEMM stands for on national TV

 
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