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WATCH: Phil Hellmuth Enters WSOP Main Event As Darth Vader, Quickly Gets Eliminated

16-Time Bracelet Winner Met With Chorus Of Boos As He Took His Seat


Phil Hellmuth Credit: PokerGO Phil Hellmuth has had quite a few memorable entrances to the World Series of Poker main event, and he attempted another Thursday afternoon in Las Vegas.

In typical Hellmuth fashion, the 16-time bracelet winner was making a late arrival to the tournament, starting on day 2. With an announcement from Tournament Director Jack Effel and John Williams’ Imperial March playing over the loudspeakers, Hellmuth entered the room dressed as Darth Vader.

Perhaps some were upset with the distraction of Hellmuth’s entrance, or maybe it was the presence of the dark side, but either way, Hellmuth was booed as he took his seat.

Hellmuth bought the costume the day before, also considering Superman, before settling on Darth Vader. He decided to wear his cape off one shoulder, just like he does with his jackets, and even supplied his own lightsaber noises.

Vader is, of course, a villain in the Star Wars universe. But perhaps Hellmuth identified more with the good guy trapped underneath the suit. Like Vader, Hellmuth’s tunnel vision has sometimes gotten him into trouble.

He’s not even the first to wear a costume this summer. For the second year in a row, Dan ‘Jungleman’ Cates won the $50,000 Poker Players Championship in disguise. Last year he won as an anime character from Dragon Ball Z and this year he went as Macho Man Randy Savage. (Of course, last year the series was held during Halloween.)

Unfortunately for Hellmuth, the dark side failed to bring him any luck on the felt. He was forced to change when he realized he couldn’t actually see his cards through his mask.

He lost a big pot with pocket kings against another player’s wheel and couldn’t get anything going after that. According to him, he didn’t win a single pot during his approximately 90 minutes in the tournament. On his final hand, Hellmuth was all in with KClub Suit JDiamond Suit against Jeff Frerichs’ pocket sixes.

The flop of KDiamond Suit 10Spade Suit 7Club Suit was great for Hellmuth, as was the JClub Suit on the turn improving him to two pair. But the 6Heart Suit on the river ended his day.

“The force was not with you today,” joked recent $1 million mystery bounty winner Matt Glantz.

After his quick exit from the main event, Hellmuth gave himself a pep talk with a side of junk food, reminding himself there’s still a lot of tournaments left on the WSOP schedule. The main event won’t end until Saturday, July 16.

It’s been an overall good series for Hellmuth, who has cashed six times despite a limited schedule. He was affected by COVID to start the summer, but bounced back with an eighth-place finish in the $10,000 Triple Draw Championship and a ninth-place showing in the $10,000 2-7 Lowball Championship.

Then in the $3,000 no-limit hold’em event, Hellmuth battled hard from a short stack at the final table to find himself heads-up for bracelet no. 17. At one point, he even managed to take the chip lead, but a few misplayed hands saw his run end in second place.

He earned a consolation prize of $369,698. Hellmuth now has more than $25 million in career tournament earnings, which is no. 24 on poker’s all-time money list.

Hellmuth has always arrived late, but his costumes started in 2007 when he crashed a racecar in the Rio parking lot. Sometimes he even has women to escort him in, as he did last year when he came in as Gandalf from Lord of the Rings.

The Poker World Reacts

You can follow the 2022 World Series of Poker on Card Player’s series landing page, sponsored by Global Poker, the fastest growing online poker room in the world. Check out the series schedule, as well as event recaps, news, and player interviews.

*Photo courtesy of PokerGO