Sign Up For Card Player's Newsletter And Free Bi-Monthly Online Magazine


Poker Training

Newsletter and Magazine

Sign Up

Find Your Local

Card Room


No more Poker Brat behavior in 2010? PEMM, Slash, WPT final table

by Phil Hellmuth |  Published: Mar 21, '10

Posted: March 21, 2010 05:25 PM

OK, so far so good!  At least as far as my behavior goes.  I fell one spot short of making the eight player finals with 12 players total playing in the 2010 "Premiere League IV."  So for the third year in a row I was "Relegated!"  Pretty scary!  I mean, really?  Three years in a row I was relegated and couldn't make the final eight out of twelve?  Really?  I am certainly not proud of that record...This year it came down to me needing to finish second in my final heat, unless certain scenarios unfolded, like Daniel Negreanu winning, and Roland De Wolfe finishing third, or De Wolfe finishing fourth, and Vanessa Rousso third.  In any case, a win and I was in!  When we hit four handed, it was Negreanu, De Wolfe, Luke Schwartz, and me.  And there was still massive pressure on three of us!  De Wolfe needed to finish at least third to get in, Negreanu needed to finish at least second to get in, and I needed to finish second to get in, unless Schwartz finished fourth and Dewolfe finished third.  So I really did not want Schwartz to be the next player eliminated, and I really did want de Wolfe or Negreanu out next.  But when Scwartz was eliminated, I desperately needed Negreanu out next, in order to lock myself into a spot in the finals.  When De Wolfe was eliminated in third place, I needed to "Win to get in!"  I took the chip lead from Negreanu, but then I played a big pot with Kd-9d, and he hadA-A.  GG Daniel!  Although I am not proud of being relegated (again!), I am proud of the way that I handled myself after falling one place short of making it.  I shook Daniel's hand, had zero "Poker Brat" moments, and then spent 12 hours in the commentary booth the next day.

The next day (Friday, February 19th ) was jam packed with events!  First, I played two businessman heads up for $10,000 apiece in the Golden Nugget poker room, with one of them pushing me to the fifth match in a best of three format.  He even flopped a straight in the last hand!  He had 7c-5c, it came down 9-8-6, and I called a bet with Q-10.  Turn card jack (lucky card!), and then we went all in.  I had fun playing these guys, and I gave them some good tips afterwards.  Then I raced off to a charity event at the Venetian Hotel, where I met Tony Hawk and Christian Slater (truly nice guys), and hung out with Slash, Jason Alexander, Orel Hershisher, Donnie Walhberg, Daniel Negreanu, Raymer, Hachem, and a few others.  Next we hit "Tao" and watched a private 45 minute long TPAIN performance.  Then my wife landed, and we rushed off to City Center to watch the World Premiere of the Cirque Du Soleil Elvis show, which I totally LOVED!  Imagine "Jailhouse Rock" with a modern guitar riff, it was smokin hot!  Then my wife and I went to Tao to meet up with Slash and his wife and crew, and we had a great time.  Finally, we hit a late night club for an hour, and then my wife and I passed out in bed!

Saturday was Day One of the NAPT (North American Poker Tour) at the Venetian, and I started my day off right with a massage (at noon) for two hours by Sophie in my suite.  Then my wife had a two hour massage and I went to the Golden Nugget spa to work out and meditate in the steam room.  I was pretty tired.  A long week, long night, heading into play, but I only needed to make it four hours until the end of Day One.  I tried a bluff, that I didn't really make in the right way (way too weak!), and then I picked up Q-Q and raised it up to $1,800 to go.  My opponent made it $4,500 to go, and I thought, "He has aces"  To read the rest of this story, check out my "Hand of the Week" section at or is it  Anyway, it is a great column!!

Suffice to say that I didn't make it to the end of Day One!  Since my wife left town Saturday night, I basically chilled out all day Sunday, and it was really nice!  I played the big Sunday tournament at, watched movies, ordered lots of room service, and watched way too much television

On Monday I slept in, and then I headed over to Brandon Cantu's house to start a new poker club were calling the TGPC "Trying to be the Greatest Poker Club."  Brandon spent an hour or two showing me the "New school poker theory," and we discussed hands, and tactics.  It was really cool to see what the new kids have done with mathematics in poker!  It was also eye opening for me, as now I know they are moving in weak and I have to call them!!  Monday night I shot the cover of Bluff Magazine for my mindset coach Sam Chauhan with Antonio, Gavin Smith, Josh Arieh, and Paul Wasicka.

On Tuesday I played the $25,000 buy in "High roller" NAPT event at the Venetian.  I was pretty happy with my play, but I wrote an article ( about the fact that I let Hevad Khan and John Duthie run me over too much!!  It was a shootout, so ESPN II recorded our seven handed table to completion, and I finished fourth (only first place cashed and advanced to the finals).  With the WPT at the Commerce Casino on Friday, I didn't feel like there was enough time to fly home.  So I spent a few hours Wednesday inducting Ted Forrest into the TGPC, by which I mean Brandon and I helped Teddy with his NLH game, and he helped us with our mixed games.  Huck Seed is the fourth member of our TGPC, which is devoted to making us the best poker tournament players in the world today!  Weds night I relaxed

On Thursday I flew to LA, and at noon on Friday I was ready to go in the WPT at the Commerce Casino.  I made it through Day One, and on Saturday I started Day Two with a below average stack.  When I put all my chips in the pot with A-K vs. Mickey's 7-7 and lost, I felt like I was losing every race, and I felt a strange since of D? vu; hadn't Micky busted me last year with A-Q vs my 10-10?  I immediately hopped a flight home, and I made it out for dinner and a movie with my wife Saturday night.  On Sunday I played a bunch of online poker tournaments, primarily at, and I tried to relax and let myself unwind.  I mean, that is a quite a 16 day period that I describe above, busy, busy, busy!!

On Weds night (March 3) I went to my friend Robert mailer Andersen's party in San Fran with my wife.  I am an honorary member of the San Francisco Jazz Board, and the event was about raising money for Jazz, partying, society, and there were lots of Jazz Legends in the house.  My wife is a fan of the author Amy Tan, and she politely told Amy, "I love your work."  On our way out we ran into Amy and her husband, and ended up chatting for a couple of hours.  Amy is an amazingly sharp woman, and she is a pleasure to chat with, and hang out with!  Amy invited us to a party in Manhattan on Sunday, March 14 at her flatmore on that in the next BLOG!

On Thursday I woke up and I headed straight for the airport and the NBC Heads up Championships party at "Pure" nightclub in Las Vegas.  I drew Howard Lederer as my first round opponent, and I knew he was going to be tough, but I had a good feeling about my match.  I felt like Howard might ship it in with a small pair, so I really wanted to play small ball with him and wait for him to over-play a hand.  As it turns out, Howard anticipated my plan and he took me onmano e mano--playing small ball.  After fifteen minutes I knew I had my hands full!  I had a small chip lead when I raised it up with Ah-Kh, Howard reraised with 10-10, and I shipped it.  Howard called, and it was a coin flip.  If I win the flip, I win the match; and if Howard wins the flip, he would have had a $36,000 to $4,000 lead (do the math!).  Luckily I hit a king on the flop, and I went on to win my match.  The other day on ESPN's Inside Deal I noted that NBC needs to add more time to the matches.  I really do love NBC, but it is time for me to say something publicly since they are ignoring all of the top players in the world when we ask for more time (and thus more skill) in the beloved NBC Heads up Championships!  Daniel Negreanu has a great suggestion: play the first round matches outside of the spotlight (no cameras) and let us players take our time, and then NBC has an extra day to slow it down.  By the way, I do not want my comments to negatively reflect on Huck Seeds, Paul Wasicka's, Chris Ferguson's, and Annie Duke's wins.  Congrats to them all, they are all great players, and nice job Annie, you are the 2010 NBC Heads up Champion!!

On Saturday I busted out in Round Two vs. Annette Obrestad, and she played really well, nice job girl.  After I busted out, I hopped on a flight to LA to meet my wife, and we had a nice dinner and then we went out to one of the hottest new clubs in LA: "Voyeur."  We went there to meet up with Apollo Ohno, and on the way in we ran into TO (Terell Owens).  TO was kinda hanging out in our booth, and at the bar.  He would come up, and I would hand him a bottle of vodka, and he would pour it and then wander back towards the bar.  Then he would come over and sit down for a few minutes, and then wander back to the bar.  Apollo Ohno was partying with us (except that he stayed on water) for a couple of hours, and I really like his vibe!  Mark my words: Apollo may be the first Olympic Athlete to become a billionaire, and right now he has a website where he helps people become healthier, and the name of the site is based on his medal count (eight of em, first all time for an Olympic Athlete!).  I asked Apollo whether or not he should have been DQ'ed in the final race (I didn't think so!), where he would have won a silver medal had he not been DQ'ed, and he said, "Sometimes you get DQ'ed, and sometimes you win because someone else gets DQ'ed."  A classy answer from a classy guy!

On Sunday night I hosted a VIP Oscar Party at the Beverly Hilton along with Yosh Nakano and the IPPA.  First, we put on our tuxes, and watched the Oscars on big screens with a couple hundred other people and lots of celebs; then at around 9:00 pm we began running one table satellites in the VIP room, and awarding a trophy to each winner.  I had the microphone, and we had a great time!

Monday I flew back home, and Tuesday I sat down to play in the Bay 101 WPT event in, basically, my own backyardI live 18 minutes from the Bay 101.  Cantu and I were strategizing, and we both made it through Day One with OK chips.  At the end of the day, Cantu and I sat down and discussed the day, discussed our tactics, discussed what worked, discussed what didn't work, etcThe extra work paid off!  I made it through Day Two as the overall chip leader with $530,000!  On Day Three I quickly hit $1 million and I never dipped below the $1 million mark (steady as the rock of Gibraltar baby!) as we played from 11:00 am until 1:30 am, without even taking a dinner break!  On Friday I entered the WPT television table with second in chips at over $1.4 million. (in my next BLOG I will talk about the final day of this WPT, Amy Tan's party in Manhattan, my day at ESPN doing 7 shows in Bristol, Connecticut, partying in Manhattan, and much more!)

Learn more about Phil at and visit his web store at

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

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
Newsletterbanner Twitterbanner Fbbanner

Most Viewed Blogs