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Twitter, golf match, Tony, NBC Heads up, big swings at UltimateBet.com!

by Phil Hellmuth |  Published: Mar 12, '09

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Posted: March 12, 2009 11:38 AM

Here begins the world's longest BLOG!  First of all I'm twittering, finally!!  Check out my abbreviated, real time BLOGS (Twitters) at http://www.twitter.com/phil_hellmuth ...

Last Tuesday I was stuck $36,000 at Ultimatebet.com when I went for a run with my son Nicholas.  When we returned home I hopped back into the game to play for another 30 minutes until my limo arrived to take me to the airport (I was heading to Las Vegas).  I mounted a huge comeback, made the limo wait an hour and then sent it away.  I missed my flight, which would lead to three hours of sleep, a 9:30 am flight (ouch), and a lot of pain as I flew to Vegas the next morning and went straight to the golf course.  But it was worth it as I got all the way back to even!

The high stakes golf match that we played with "Golf Magazine" following us started at $10,000 a hole, and featured a two man best ball scramble between Layne Flack and I vs. Erick Lindgren and Gavin Smith.  Since Gavvy and EDOG are BOTH better golfers than Layne and I they gave us 2 shots a side, which is big in a two man scramble.  We played the match at Cascada golf course, where the greens must have been running close to 13 on the STIMP meter, in other words they were the fastest greens I've ever played on in my life!  Cascada was beautiful, but it is always windy in Vegas, and that day was no exception.  Basically, it was so windy that it affected the putts!  Layne had a horrible roundfor him--that day, which put the pressure squarely on my shoulders.  I'm just not that good, except I was on Wednesday!  I hadn't picked up a golf club in six months, and when Layne hit ball after ball into the desert, somehow I was ready to respond.  Of the 20 balls that Layne hit out of play, I stepped up and hit 18 perfect shots!  I mean, my iron game is normally horrible, but when Layne hit a ball into the water at the par 3, I muscled up and hit a sand wedge 129 yards to 20 feet.  When he hit one short of the par 5 for our third, right next to their second shot, I muscled up and hit a seven iron 169 yards to 15 feet.  That was a key hole because they couldn't get up and down, and we did two putt to tie and win the hole with our shot on that hole spot.  One of my best shots of the day was when we were in the bunker at the par 3 16th hole.  We had to hit it over a 20 foot rise, about 25 feet from the hole, and there was a slope running downhill away from me.  Layne hit a shot that rolled back to his feet, and I took four minutes, but then I delivered the perfect shot.  I thumped it high, with tons of backspin, and it landed next to the hole, but still released 17 feet; at least we had a par putt.

On 18, Layne and Gavvy played for $25,000, while EDOG and I kicked it up to $17,000--$42,000.  Layne again hit it out of play, but I delivered with my best drive of the day, right up the middle and 250 yards.  On the second shot, Layne hit his ball so far right that it flew over 40 yards of woods into the other fairway, and after I hit a shot into the water, we were lucky to find Layne's ball lying in the rough, 170 yards from the hole into the wind.  EDOG and Gavvy were 80 yards from the pin, but the greens are so fast that it is hard to hit it in there tight.  Layne hit it in the water, and for the first time all day our caddy told me that I couldn't get a club to the hole.  I had seven iron out, but he said it was a six iron.  I believed him, but the thing is this: I cannot hit a six iron.  So I decided to muscle up, put the ball in back middle of my stance, and swing hard.  It was a totally blind shot, but when I crushed the ball on a low trajectory I thought that I might have hit it long.  Amazingly, the ball landed and rolled to 19 feet.  Josh Sens, the writer, told me that EDOG and Gavin were swearing and saying, "I cannot believe this BS!"  EDOG and Gavvy hit it to 22 feet and missed their putt.  Now Layne hit a putt into the leather, and I said, "Layne, I can make this putt one handed, do you trust me?"  I have made so many putts on 18 one handed, ask all of my golfing buddies, that it is scary.  Layne said, "Please putt it two handed."  I said, "I got it one handed, trust me."  He said, after I asked him for permission again, "I would prefer two handed."  I knew the putt broke 8 inches right to left, and as I stood over the ball one handed, it suddenly felt better to putt two handed, and I let it go.  It was tracking left, right on line, when it veered left as it died, and nearly rolled over the front lip.  Oh well, we tied the hole, but we won one bet for the day.  By the way, Layne did single handedly win a couple of holes for us, even though he had a bad day.

EDOG and Gavvy had to be scratching their heads as they drove home, and they must have been asking themselves, "How did we lose to those two?  They played horribly!"  If you watched the match, then you would have thought that they crushed us, but because I had one of the best pressure golf days of my life, we eked out a small win.

Wednesday night I met with the CEO of Zappos.com, Tony Hsieh and his president of business development Aaron Magness.  The dinner was set for "Yellowtail" at the Bellagio, and it was a terrific dinner!  Tony is super positive, and around me that can be contagious.  I like hanging out with amazing people, especially people like Tony, who are self made, and think they can do anything.  Tony is changing the way business is being done at Zappos.com, and thousands of companies around the globe are coming in, hanging out, and copying the way Zappos.com does things.  They have a culture at Zappos.com, and it is rated one of the top ten places to work in the Fortune 500.  I did a tour of Zappos.com the next day (Yes, Tony was on "Celebrity Apprentice" last Sunday) and I was blown away.  They have a plasma screen that works in real time that shows a map of the world, and a footprint appears for a few seconds when someone orders something from them.  My father said, "Oh look, someone just ordered something from Milwaukee!"  They have a plasma that shows the total sales done the day before ($2,457,000).  By the way, Zappos.com did over $1 billion in sales in 2008!  Tony and Zappos.com believe in superior customer service, and they have the most impressive numbers in history when it comes to customer retention.  You order shoes, they arrive the next day.  They don't fit, call Zappos.com, and they will have the size that does fits delivered the very next day!  Tony wants to take extraordinary customer service, and run with it.  Why not do clothing, airlines, computers, or anything really, where you call in an order?

In any case, I was impressed with both Tony and Aaron, and Tony had a positive influence on me.  Why should I have any negativity in my life at all?  I am already super super positive, but why not kick it up another notch?  The "New Phil" will try his hardest to never berate another player again.  It hurts them, and it hurts me when I get that emotional.

The NBC Heads up party was Thursday, and I drew Mike Sexton in the first round.  On Friday in our match I sucked out!  I put my money in with the worst hand (A-J), and got lucky to beat his Q-Q.  Not the way I wanted to win, and all credit to Sexton, but I'll take the win.  I drew an online qualifier for the second round on Saturday, a really nice guy, and a super successful businessman named Jeffrey Ishbia.  I took him seriously, but I made a lot of big hands and won fairly quickly.  I flopped a set, and I flopped a straight, and I flopped top pair several times, and it was over.  Then I drew Tom "Durr" Dwan in the third round Saturday night, and the world had the rematch that it wanted!  I took two naps before our match, while Durr was out drinking at dinner and lost his voice.  He still played great, and the match was a long one, and a good one.  Durr is the best player in the world under the age of 30 (Patrick is over 30 right?), and he may end up being the best ever.  I will write up a "Hand of the week" for this match, but suffice to say that we both tried our best to trap each other, to bluff each other, and to re-bluff each other.  Finally, I won the match on an interesting hand, where the board was A-J-9-5-9, and I had 9-5, to Durr's K-9.  I smooth called his bet on fourth street, which was pretty creative.  The nine on the river sealed the deal.

On Sunday I played "Elky" and on the fifth hand it was over, when I was dealt Q-Q and he was dealt A-A, sigh.  I stayed around to watch my old friend Huck Seed win it against Vanessa Russo in the finals.  I was sent another hand that has been talked about extensively on the European poker forums, here is the link:  http://www.matchroompoker.com/handofweek.php?video=1  So ends my 1700 word rant, in fact it is now the world's longest BLOG!!!

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