Phil Hellmuth has done it. After being denied his 14th bracelet last year in a razz event, Hellmuth has found redemption in 2015 by taking down Event #17: $10,000 Razz Championship for $271,105. It marks the second non-hold'em bracelet for the Poker Hall of Famer.
"It's an amazing feeling, and it's one of those where I kept my head down the whole time and tried to stay kind of detached from the result," Hellmuth said after the win. "I was just focusing on playing great. Too often in the past when I'm down here I'm like, 'I need to win the bracelet.' I said you know what, I'm going to keep my head down, play great until it's over and then I can look up and celebrate, talk, and whatever. You've probably noticed this is the quietest heads-up I've ever had before."
Hellmuth defeated WSOP bracelet winner Mike Gorodinsky in heads-up play to capture the record piece of hardware.
"Mike is just really tough, and I needed all my concentration to give myself the best chance to beat him," Hellmuth commented. "He played phenomenal poker."
$10,000 Razz Championship Final Table Results
|1||Phil Hellmuth||Madison, WI||$271,105|
|2||Mike Gorodinsky||San Diego, CA||$167,517|
|3||Adam Owen||Folkestone, UK||$104,914|
|4||Mike Leah||Toronto, ON, Canada||$75,964|
|5||Thomas Keller||Chandler, AZ||$59,370|
|6||Jyri Merivirta||Helsinki, Finland||$47,344|
|7||Stephen Chidwick||Deal, UK||$38,447|
|8||Brandon Shack- Harris||Chicago, IL||$31,727|
Hellmuth, who traditionally gives his bracelets to family and close friends, was also quick to point out that he would be giving his latest bracelet to a friend who had recently passed away.
"I'm donating this bracelet to Dave Goldberg," Hellmuth explained. "Goldberg, when he died a month ago, [President Barack] Obama said something about him. He was just an amazing human being. 1,700 people came to his restricted-access funeral. I played poker with him. He left way too early at age 47. I'm gonna give this to his wife and his kids."
Hellmuth, who believes he will win 24 bracelets in his career, is no stranger to razz. In fact, his first non-hold'em bracelet came in the variant back in 2012 when he took down Event #18: $2,500 Razz for $182,793, and then last year he finished runner-up to Ted Forrest in Event #7: $1,500 Razz despite holding a significant chip lead.
"I don't know what happened," Hellmuth reminisced. "I look back at that and I think that he was really, really lucky, but in my book, Play Poker Like the Pros, I say he's the best razz player in the world … I think the experience helped me. I changed my strategy just a little bit. I also think that I'm more clear minded this year than I've been in the past, it's really nice. I was just really calm, and of course whined too much."
This year, Event #17: $10,000 Razz Championship began with 103 players, which created a prize pool of $968,200, and at the start of the day 12 remained with the UK's Adam Owen leading the way. Hellmuth, meanwhile, was close behind with the third biggest stack.
Throughout the afternoon, Hellmuth showed just why he's one of the best razz players in the world, not by eliminating players — the only one he got before finishing off Gorodinsky was Shaun Deeb at the unofficial final table of nine – but by slowly and steadily amassing chips.
In one notable hand captured by the live updates, Mike Leah limped showing a and Hellmuth, who was showing a , completed. Leah called, and then both players checked fourth street as Leah caught a and Hellmuth a . When they received a and respectively on fifth, Leah check-called a bet and was then dealt an . Both he and Hellmuth, who had caught a checked, and seventh was dealt facedown. Leah checked, Hellmuth bet 60,000, and Leah called only to muck when Hellmuth tabled for a wheel.
"I think I figured something out about razz in maybe 2012," said Hellmuth, who said he's skipping the $10K Omaha Hi/Lo Championship. "All of a sudden there was something about the game that just clicked. I was like wow, this game just makes sense, and then I won a razz bracelet."
Make that two.
Congratulations to Phil Hellmuth on capturing his record 14th World Series of Poker gold bracelet!
*Lead picture obtained from WSOP.com