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Aug 8 drinking, WSOP hangover, Fifty Cent, Phelps, ZZ Top, Deal me In

by Phil Hellmuth |  Published: Aug 08, '09

Posted: August 08, 2009 09:47 AM

I haven't written a BLOG in six months, because I twitter at least once a day at phil_hellmuth, and those tweets go to the front page of, and directly to my Facebook.  Since the WSOP ended I have been drinking more than usual.  Now, do not get the wrong impression, twice I had six drinks in one night and that is the most, but generally I have 2-3 drinks a night.  So, I haven't been abusing alcohol (I haven't even had a hangover) but still the trend to want to drink most nights is disturbing to me.  The cause of this drinking trend is the fact that I had a subpar WSOP.  For ten straight years, at least; I made a final table at the WSOP, most years making two of them, but this year I didn't make one.  I had the record of most years in a row at a final table, and I lost that record this year.  On the plus side I did have a 14th, a 17th, a 25th, and a 30th, and six cashes in total, including one in the main event.  Meanwhile I watched Ivey win two bracelets, and make the "November nine"; I watched Jeff Lisandro win three bracelets, and a few other guys win two bracelets, and then there were a few guys that had both a first and a second.  So that makes me feel like a failure!  I know that I own all of the big records at the WSOP; 11 bracelets, 41 final tables, and 75 cashes, but that was then, and this is now!

To cushion the blow, I realize that some years you are just not playing at full power; whether that means that you are running bad, playing bad, or playing great enough but not winning that one crucial pot when you need it doesn't matter.  Some days I did play poorly, and some days I couldn't catch a break, and then other days I played great and was unlucky down the stretch.  One day I finished like 30th and played only two coin flips all day long on Day two, but lost them both (my 6-6 vs. their A-10, my 6-6 vs. their J-10, both times I lost to an ace on the river, both times I had 6-6!).  Another day I finished like 24th, and I lost with AA to KQ when we put in $231,000 each pre-flop!  Another day I finished 17th when I had 10-10 in a limit Hold'em tournament and the flop was 10h-8d-3h, we put it four bets, on the turn a king came and we put in my last three bets or so, and my opponent flipped up Ah-Kh, and the dealer turned the 6h for the roughly $150,000 pot!  I may have played one of the best tournaments of my life in the pot limit Omaha 8/b tournament, but I finished 14th after what seemed like the deck being stacked against me for hours!  I may have folded A-2-X-X eight times only to be shown A-A-2-X seven times, and A-A-3-X once.

And then there were the tournaments that I just plain blew my chance to win.  I had a 21st place finish, when 18 were being paid, in the 2-7 no limit tournament, where I played two marginal hands to cost myself a chance at the cash, the final table, and the win, Ivey won that one.  Then in the Omaha 8/b limit event where 16 were paid, I had another 21st place finish, where I just completely gave my chips away.  Who knows what would have happened if I played great poker?  Probably would have cashed in both, I only needed to last 30 more minutes in each, I may have final tabled, and who knows, I might have won one or both events.

It is weird to battle the feeling of being a little bit of a failure right now when all of these other cool things happen around me: like so many people shouting my name on the street, or asking me for autographs at the coffee shop; like doing radio, television, magazine, and other interviews; like never waiting in line at a busy restaurant; like walking into a golf pro shop and being invited to be a celeb in Jerry Rice's charity tournament around the Nationwide Tour; like being asked to meet the executive producers from "Celebrity Apprentice" in case they want me on the show this year; like receiving two boxes of new "Phil Hellmuth" baseball trading cards that I'm in the process of signing; like being invited to hang out at a friend's summer mansion on the sand in Santa Barbara; like talking to people like Michael Phelps, Fifty Cent, Eva Longoria, Ben Affleck, Charles Barkley, Dusty Hill (ZZ Top), Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin, and Paul Hornung (The NFL's legendary "Golden Boy").  I mean, some people will say I'm bragging (and screw it, maybe I am!) but when my wife and kids decided to attend the Aerosmith/ZZ Top concert in Concorde on Aug 17th, within a few hours I'm invited to park back stage next to ZZ Top's "Dust bus."  All of that stuff above is sick, and tons of fun, but my wife says, "You have all the cake, but what you really want is some meat."  Yes, what I really want is a WSOP bracelet or a WPT title, but the cake is fun too.

Not helping my current state of mind is the fact that since the WSOP ended for me I lost roughly $100,000 playing Chinese poker at $500 a point vs. Mike Matusow, Roland De Wolfe, Bryan Colin, Barry Greenstein, and Sorel Mizzi in Vegas.  Then, after I made it home I lost $26,000 playing online poker at  And finally, I lost around another $60,000 playing online Chinese poker with Matusow, Colin, Mizzi, De Wolfe, and Matt Glantz.  In fact, I only had two winning days in there!!

Sales of my brand new book "Deal Me In" are picking up (, and the book has gotten nothing short of glowing reviews from across the world!  It is the story of the world's twenty greatest poker players and how they found their way into poker, in their own words.  It has ups and downs, it is inspirational, and it has a few surprises (Hellmuth cleaned monkey cages in college?!?  Ivey worked THAT many hours playing poker?!?).   Chan's path to poker is 100% different then Seidel's path to being a pro poker player, but both stories are amazing.  Looks like I'm hopping on a flight tonight at 10:30 pm to Santa Barbara to stay with my friends Carl and Jimmy Lou Westcott.

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
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