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My excuse list

by Phil Hellmuth |  Published: Jun 26, '08

Posted: June 26, 2008 10:55 PM

Phil's excuse list!

What in the hell is going on here? On Sunday night I'm near the chip lead in two tournaments at once: the 2-7 triple draw and the ½ limit Hold'em / ½ no limit Hold'em. I never play two tournaments at once, so it is a new experience for me. All of a sudden, I pick up K-K (ah shit, no bad beat stories!) and I'm out of the Hold'em event. Then I win one half of a pot in $30,000 straight to go broke in the 2-7 triple draw, and I'm out of both that quickly. I limp back to my penthouse condo feeling terrible! I felt like crap, but mostly because I thought that I was unlucky (a common theme this trip). [Excuse number one: seems like I've been unlucky this trip! Answer: are you playing perfect poker? Answer number two: since when do you need luck to win?] When I arrive back at the penthouse, I write a 1,000 word USA Today article, and then I notice that I'm sick. So I go to the gym for a hard workout, and when I get up the next day, I'm as tired as I have ever been-nine hours of sleep and I'm exhausted! My wife cooks me breakfast, but I almost throw up, and then a few hours later I'm back in bed for a five hour nap. Then I'm up for four hours-watching "Jumper"--but then I sleep another 10 hours! So I have my doctor prescribe anti-biotics, in case it is a sinus infection, or it may just be a virus. [Excuse number two: I've been sick! This is really BS as I've many tournaments right near the edge of exhaustion!] By now I have missed the Omaha eight or better pot limit tournament on Tuesday, and so I go to Morgan Machina's house for a party where I heard Jeff Madsen's rap song (I loved it!), and Kenna James song was great as well. Kenna serenaded us on the piano for awhile as well (He's good!). Then I won $16,500 from Gavin Smith playing Chinese poker for $300 a point. Too bad we went to play trivia for money afterwards! G Smith beats me for $17,500 at trivia! I cannot believe they asked so many hockey questions in the sports trivia game! Hmm….

OK so I had a dilemma about what tournament that I should play in. The $50,000 buy in HORSE, of the $1,000 buy in no limit Hold'em with rebuys. I decided that I must play the HORSE event, of course. But I had two articles due, so I went to the Rio's VIP suite and wrote them both right before I played the HORSE tournament. [Excuse number three: I have to write two articles a week, I have to do some do some business like emails and phone calls, and I have to do some media stuff. Answer: who freaking cares! You should be able to win anyway! Answer number two: separate the business from the poker by finishing the business and focusing only on poker after that!] Sadly I played way too fast, along with being incredibly unlucky, and the impossible happened: I'm out on day one! I wouldn't have believed it possible, but there it is. [Excuse number four: fast play shouldn't be punished that much! Answer: sometimes it is, and that's why you play slow and patiently Phil!].

Now I know that there are many people out there who are saying: "Jeez, Phil didn't even make it out of day one in the HORSE! He must be playing poker way too fast right now. That's it for him this year at the WSOP. Put a fork in him, he's done." Maybe they're right. Maybe I am done.

Option number one is: I can stew in my juices here in the penthouse, and lick my wounds. I can live on past glories, and focus on those 12 million "Milwaukee's Best" beer cans. I can make excuse after excuse about why I'm not winning right now. I can read my USA Today article this weekend and feel good about life. I can wait for my wife to arrive on Saturday, and hang out with her. Only thing is, I know that all of the above will not make me completely happy right now. The only thing that will make me entirely happy is winning bracelet number 12.
So option number two, the option that will really make me happy is: I can look at this early exit in the HORSE as an opportunity. I can recognize that is 100% my fault that I'm out of the HORSE tournament, period, no excuses! Phil, you screwed up, don't look back! Look at the silver lining in the HORSE cloud: maybe I was supposed to get eliminated so that I can win another Hold'em bracelet! Or maybe even two more bracelets! I will get my ass to the gym RIGHT NOW and regroup! It is not over yet my friends!!!!!!!

Learn more about Phil by going to his website, and visit his Web store at

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