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What a decade for poker!! Proud oflast month, next month

by Phil Hellmuth |  Published: Dec 30, '09

Posted: December 30, 2009 03:44 PM

OK, it is the morning of Tuesday December 29, and I want to focus this BLOG on the last decade.  Although 2009 was my worst year ever in poker (more below), I have reason to celebrate a great decade in poker and life.  I want to thank the powers that be for ALL of the following blessings: I have perfect health and an amazing wife (for twenty years now!), my family is healthy, I picked up five WSOP bracelets, I won an NBC Heads Up Championship, I had tons of cashes and final tables at the WSOP, I helped launch, I emceed poker tournaments that raised almost $10 million for charity, we donated hundreds of thousands of dollars of our own money to charity, my wife and I raised two fine boys almost into adulthood, I launched a clothing line (Poker Brat Clothing Company) and a publishing company (Phil's House Publishing), we launched a cell phone game (PHTH Phil Hellmuth's Texas Hold'em) that has 1.3 million users in the USA alone, we just launched another cell phone game on IPHONE and other smart phones in over 180 cell phone systems across the world, I bought a piece of 15 different companies including the amazing online device reputation security company "Iovation" and the industry leading "Card Player Magazine," "Milwaukee's Best" beer here put a picture of me and one of my lines on 12 million beer cans, I am the star of the WSOP video game across all systems (from XBOX to Nintendo), I sold nearly $1 million dollars worth of my four-and-a-half hour long poker course online at, I sold tons of my "Phil Hellmuth's Million Dollar Secrets" videos, I sold 50,000 copies of my second book "Bad Beats and Lucky Draws," Phil's House Publishing put out its first book "Deal Me In" (a few months ago and sold 15,000 copies already), I put my poker column into over 50 newspapers, I wrote a series of columns for "USA Today" (7 million readers) and "USA Today Online" (7 million readers), in some ways I helped grow the sport of poker, we put together a great team of people to run my life and companies from a COO and a personal assistant to a full time maid and a bill payer, and I wrote a New York Times Best Selling book "Play Poker like the Pros."  What a decade!

I am proud of my friends as well.  Congrats to Howard Lederer on creating an awesome decade for himself, Bub showed amazing versatility on and off the poker tables from winning WSOP bracelets and WPT Titles to exhibiting other worldly business acumen.  Doyle Brunson wrote two more books, beat the biggest cash games in the world, and continued to be the king of the poker world for yet another decade.  Chris Ferguson started the decade with a WSOP main event title, and ended it with a bunch of bracelets, all the while well creating his own "Jesus" nickname, brand, and incredible business success.  Phil Ivey is nothing short of amazing!  Ivey won six WSOP bracelets this decade, a WPT event, and deca-millions playing online poker: not too mention the deca-millions he won playing poker in the biggest side games in the world!  Ivey also invested money in "Phil's House Publishing."  I am proud of Daniel Negreanu--although he is my biggest critic!for his nice decade; he won a couple of WPT events and a couple WSOP events and made tons of final tables.  Plus Daniel became a huge star both in and out of the poker world.  My boy Layne Flack picked up some WSOP bracelets.  Annie Duke won a bracelet, kicked ass in business, and should have won "Celebrity Apprentice" last year.  Jennifer Harmon beat one guy for $9 million playing limit Hold'em in one day, picked up a couple of WSOP bracelets, and had a couple of cute kids.  Johnny Chan (10 WSOP bracelets) and Erik Seidel (8 WSOP bracelets) kept on kicking serious ass in the poker side games and the poker tournaments all decade long.  Sly (Seidel) picked up four bracelets this decade.  Gus Hansen won a record four WPT events, way to go Gussy!  Then there is Mike Matusow.  Mikey kicked ass in tournaments all decade long!  Erick "Edog" Lindgren won tons of tournaments, and WSOP Player of the year in 2008, and became one of the sharpest sports bettors on the planet.  Poker superstars and Uber talents Chau Giang, David Oppenheim, Tom Dwan, Barry Greenstein, John Hennigan, John Juanda, Phil Galfond, Ilary Sahamanies, Eli Elezra, Sammy Farha, and Patrick Antonious won tons of money in the high stakes side games, both online and offline!

Leaving and arriving: in this decade we lost my close friend and fierce tournament competitor John "Bono" Bonetti.  We also said goodbye to Hans "Tuna" Lund, Bob Stupak, and the legendary poker icon Chip Reese.  On the other side, we welcomed a new group of young superstars into poker: Tom Dwan, Ilary Sahamies, Yevgeniy Timoshenko, Patrick Antonius, Jason Mercier, and a bunch of others.

I sat on the floor of the Golden State Warriors game on Nov 30 with my friend Robert Mailer Anderson, and I remembered that the Warriors are such an exciting team to watch!  They run, they gun, they play hard, and they score like crazy.  Monta Ellis hit a shot with about five minutes left in the game to put his points total to 48 points for the night, but they called an offensive foul on him (bad call!), so he fouled out with 46, but Monta went off that night!  I spent the next week working on my auto-biography "Poker Brat" and watching way too much television, especially football!  I also got caught up on all my tivoed shows like "Heroes," "Dexter," "Flash Forward," and "The Closer."  One week later I was on the road again to Eugene and Portland for my "Tour Across America" (dates up at, and I am also doing a class today in Madison, Wisconsin.  After reading the Agassi auto-biography "Open" I decided to shut it down for the year and for the first time ever I skipped the Bellagio poker tournament in December.  Instead of playing I watched more television (too much!), and wrote several thousand words (my columns and "Poker Brat").  On December 21st my wife, my kids, and I hit Minneapolis to visit some family up there.  Sadly, my youngest son Nick came down with H1N1, and we flew to Wisconsin the next morning and tucked him into a nice hotel room for a couple days.  My wife was vaccinated for H1N1 and she watched over Nick pretty closely.  After a couple of days in the Milwaukee area, we hit Madison on Christmas Eve and Nick completely missed Christmas, poor kid!  But Nick has a great attitude and today he has the green light to chill with the family.  On Sunday night we had the annual "Holiday Poker Game" with PokerHo, Jon Green, Eric Baldwin (Card Player Magazines "Player of the Year"), John Orr, Pizza Jimmy, Jon Ferraro, Timmy, Chad and a few others.  This game is a $5-$5 blind pot limit Hold'em game, but 9 hours into the game we had over $50,000 on the table!  Deep stack poker is so much fun!  I can call a raise and a reraise with 8-6 suited, 5-4 off suit, or tons of other hands knowing that I will get paid off a ton if I hit, or that I may be able to bluff my boys out if I miss.  I bought in $1,000 and took a bad beat, then I bought in $1,000 more and took another bad beat, but I I had $185 left and I decided to play it out without a rebuy and then ran it up to $8,000 within a few hoursI was running HOT!  However, the last few hours I was pretty cold and when the smoke cleared I had $5,345 in front of me for a profit of $3,345.  Eric Baldwin wants 2009 to go on forever as he won the coveted "Player of the Year," he won a WSOP (World Series of Poker) bracelet, he had a WSOP second place finish, and then he signed with  [Baldwin is teaching with me today in the three hour seminar in a few hours.]  On the other hand, I want 2009 to end already!  I mean, after making final tables at the WSOP for like 12 straight years, I didn't have one this year, nor did I have ANY final tables in 2009!  My poker highlight was like an "Elite Eight" finish in the NBC Heads Up Championships!

Tomorrow we head to Las Vegas where I will present an award at the MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) awards at like 7:30 pmit is televised.  Then my wife and I will be celebrating on New Year's Eve with Eva and Tony Parker, and Kim Kardashian at Beso at the brand new "Mandarin Oriental Hotel" at City Center.  Later on we will head over to "Pure" and have some champagne with Fifty Cent, who is counting down and doing a set at "Pure."  On Jan 6 Mike "The mouth" Matusow and I may go to the Lakers game and sit with Jerry Buss in his box, and then catch the National Championship football game the next day at the Rose Bowl.  On Jan 14 I host a party in L. A. for the "Julep Ball" which is a pre-party for the Kentucky Derby.  I am lucky to be the host of the "Julep Ball" this year at the Derby.  On Jan 20 (through the 29th) has its poker tournament series start, and I plan on playing in a bunch of events.  I need to show the world that I can win an online tournament as well as real world ones!  On Jan 24 I may emcee a poker tournament at Sundance Film Festival for the "Boys and Girls Club" that Denzel Washington (never met him, but I am a fan), Ray Ramano, Annie Duke, and an all star lineup will be attending.

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
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