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RIP Amir Vahedi (funeral), UBOC, host LA party, Lakers, photo shoots

by Phil Hellmuth |  Published: Feb 03, '10

Posted: February 03, 2010 06:07 PM

Regrettably, poker lost one its all-time good guys when Amir Vahedi passed in January.  I attended his funeral in LA on Jan 15.  Amir was loved by everyone, and this is no small feat in the poker world these days!  I remember one evening where I decided to "Comp" Amir to an Oscar De La Hoya fight about five year ago.  I hired a limo to drive us in, bought a bottle of Dom P., and we had a great time!  Later I signed the empty bottle of Dom P. for Amir, and someone told me that he still had the signed bottle and had showed it to them over the Holidays.  I was touched.  When I attended the funeral and the after event, I was trying to keep people smiling, and I repeatedly demonstrated the "Amir handshake" to some laughter.  Amir would lean in towards you while making perfect eye contact, then he would bow down a little bit and say, "Nice to see you sir."  That's how I will remember Amir!  He is buried with a nice view, and I say to Amir here and now, while leaning forward with a slight bow, "Nice to know you sir!"

The night before the funeral I hosted a Kentucky Derby pre-party for the "Julep Ball" on the top of the London West Hotel.  The panoramic view from the top of the London Hotel has to be the best in LA!  There were over 50 stars in attendance, from Patrick Warburton and Greg Grunberg to Florence Henderson, and some poker players as well.  I emceed, and deejayed, and it was a great party!  Everyone in LA kinda goes home early, but our party was scheduled to last until 9:00 pm, and it went until 10:00 pm when the hotel finally said, "Enough."  Afterwards LeeAnn Tweeden, her boy friend Chris and I shut down the opening of the new club "Haute!"  Everyone else, like Jeff Madsen, left before us.

The next night, after Amir's funeral and post events, I went to the Laker's game with Mark Seif and a bunch of other poker players.  Originally, I asked LA Lakers owner and high stakes poker player Jerry Buss for 6 tickets in his box: one for Michael Phelps, two for his mother and sister, one for JG (Jeff Gross), one for my mindset coach Sam Chauhan, and one for me.  But Phelps had to swim in Long Beach the next two days, and his group decided not to attend.  Right before the game began Seif tried to convince me to bet with him on the Lakers giving up 11 points to the Clippers.  When the Lakers were down 12 in the second quarter his bet didn't look good.  But with 2 minutes left in the game the Lakers were up 120 to 81, good bet Mark!

On Jan 20 UBOC ( Online Championships) started, and I cleared my schedule to play in 90% of the events!  My passion for poker had ebbed a little bit over the last year or two, but now it is back to a solid ten-out-of-ten baby!  I CANNOT WAIT TO PLAY IN SOME MAJOR POKER TOURNAMENTS!!!  Bring on the "Premiere League" (Feb 12 - 18), bring on the NAPT (North American Poker Tour) event at the Venetian on Feb 20 (ESPN filming baby!!), bring on the WPT (World Poker Tour) events at the Commerce (Feb 26) and at the Bay 101 (March 7), and bring on the NBC Heads Up Championships (March 4)!!  I am so incredibly fired up to play some big league poker; and to win!

In the UBOC I had two top ten finishes: "Elite eight" in the heads up tournament with 200 players, and a seventh in pot limit Omaha hi/low split.  I also had some extra motivation to try my hardest in the $100 and $200 buy in UBOC tournaments because of some side bets with my boy "Poker Ho."  In the pot limit and no limit Hold'em we had $1,000 last longer, $1,000 cash, and $1,000 final table betsI won at least five bets!  In addition to playing poker tournaments every day, I also finished a lot of other stuff and managed to have some fun.  I managed to go out to dinner with one of my favorite stars Greg Grunberg ("Alias" and the policeman that can read minds in "Heroes"), and we sat on the floor of the Stanford Basketball game the next night vs. Oregon State.  It is a privilege to sit on the floor (thanks to Uber VC Joe Lacob for the tix!).  Greg and his business partner August were up here to pitch their amazing new company "Yowza" to the VC (Venture Capital) community.  Yowza does digital coupons from stores on the IPHONE and other smart phones.  You click on the Yowza app, and it gives you all of the specials from participating stores in a two mile radiusthe app pays for itself in five minutes!!!

Then I had a run of business stuff.  Friday I had a long interview with Michael Kaplan; Monday I was in studio for three hours recording audio for the PHTH Cell Phone game (Phil Hellmuth Texas Hold'em); Tuesday I shot a cover for WPT Magazine; Wednesday I had lunch with a group looking to do some sort of a PH slot machine; Thursday I shot another cover for UK Based "Poker Player" magazine; Friday I met with my new mindset coach Sam Chauhan (more next BLOG on Sam).  Of course, every night I played in UBOC tournaments, as well as I played in a bunch of $100-$200 limit Hold'em games at UB.  I won every day, except one day where I lost $10,000.  On Sunday night, after I finished 300th in the UBOC finale, I decided that I needed to relax!  Too much work had me near the wall.  So I took the rest of the day off, and Monday I spent 2 hours getting massages and relaxing in the hot tubs at "Watercourse Way."

I have been asked to emcee a huge poker event for "Haiti" in Vancouver on Feb 10th.  I have been told that Apolo Ohno and Shaun White will be attending.  I told them to have Shaun and Apolo call me, and if they both do, then I will fly up there and emcee.  The downside is that I have a commitment on Feb 10 in Vegas, and I will have to miss the opening of the Winter Olympics on Feb 12 in Vancouver by one day because I have to play in "Premiere League" on the 12th!!!

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

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