Hellmuth Marks Return of WSOP With Deep Run in Event #1

Phil Hellmuth

The online 2020 World Series of Poker couldn't have kicked off in a more appropriate way as 15-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth made a splash right off the bat. Event #1: $500 No-Limit Hold'em Kickoff drew an astonishing 1,715 runners, resulting in a $771,750 prize pool and $130,426 first-place prize. With just two tables left, it was none other than "The Poker Brat" pacing the field in search of #16.

Ultimately, down to the final 11 players, Hellmuth had to bow out after losing a big coin flip holding pocket queens against Shawn "SayGoodNight" Daniels's ace-king. The flop brought a king to end Hellmuth's remarkable run in 11th place worth $7,872. The man from Palo Alto, CA, who has relocated to the Aria Hotel & Casino in order to play the series in Nevada under his online moniker "Lumestackin", played several key hands on his way to the deep run.

The event was ultimately won by Jonathan "Art.Vandelay" Dokler for $130,426, beating Justin "MadTitan" Turner heads-up who had to settle for $80,416. WPT's Tony "Panoramic" Dunst finished in 3rd place for $57,881.

PokerNews is on top of every online WSOP event this summer, which 31 total being played out on WSOP.com and 54 on partner site GGPoker. Check out several of the key hands below as Hellmuth almost made it to #16 in the first event of the series.

2020 WSOP.com Event #1: $500 No-Limit Hold'em Final Results

1Jonathan "Art.Vandelay" Dokler$130,426
2Justin "MadTitan" Turner$80,416
3Tony "Panoramic" Dunst$57,881
4Shawn "SayGoodNight Daniels$42,060
5Michael "DDSpade" Balan$30,947
6Kyle "ChefShap" Shappelle$22,998
7Daniel "djp1006" Park$17,287
8Mark "NostraDonkus" Liedtke$13,120
9Taylor "ZeroTo100" Von Kriegenbergh$10,110
11Phil "Lumestackin" Hellmuth$7,872

Key Hand #1: Hellmuth Wins Big With Pocket Jacks

If anyone needs a master class on how to play pocket jacks look no further than the WSOP legend himself. Hellmuth was able to collect heaps of chips with the dreaded fishhooks to add to his ever-growing chip stack.

In the hand, Hellmuth opened it up to 30,000 with {j-Hearts}{j-Clubs} from under the gun and Connor "NYR9414" Berkowitz looked him up from the hijack. Hellmuth flopped middle set on {k-Clubs}{j-Spades}{3-Hearts} and continued for 35,000, receiving a call.

Hellmuth set a cheeky trap on the {8-Spades} turn with a check, Berkowitz bet 56,000, Hellmuth check-raised all in for 323,543 and Berkowitz called it off with the {k-Diamonds}{j-Diamonds} for top two pair. Hellmuth just needed to fade a king on the river and did so as the {3-Spades} rolled off to give him a huge double. Berkowitz was eliminated shortly after in 68th place.

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Key Hand #2: Hellmuth Turns Dunst to Overtake Him

WPT's Tony "Panoramic" Dunst and Hellmuth tangled in a big pot that saw "The Poker Brat" overtake his WPT colleague. It was Hellmuth who came in with a raise to 125,000 under the gun holding {k-Spades}{k-Clubs}. Dunst, a bracelet winner himself, looked down at {a-Diamonds}{q-Diamonds} and called on the button to see a flop.

The {a-Spades}{9-Diamonds}{3-Spades} gave Dunst a huge lead and Hellmuth check-called a bet of 125,000. However, the {k-Hearts} turn turned everything around, improving Hellmuth to an unbeatable set. He checked, Dunst bet 220,000, Hellmuth check-raised all in for 889,789 and Dunst looked him up only to find out he was drawing dead, making the {8-Hearts} on the river a mere formality.

Despite this setback, Dunst recovered, took a few chips back from Hellmuth to kick-start his comeback, and ultimately ended up in third place for $57,881.

Tony Dunst
WPT's Tony "Panoramic" Dunst finished third in Event #1 of the 2020 online WSOP on WSOP.com

Key Hand #3: Hellmuth Loses the Big Race

With two tables left, it was Hellmuth coming in with the chip lead. However, an unfortunate queens versus kings as well as losing ace-queen versus ace-king dropped him back to around twenty big blinds when the fateful hand happened.

It was Shawn "SayGoodNight" Daniels who opened the action with a raise to 200,000 from under the gun. In the big blind, Hellmuth three-bet shoved all in for 2,160,704, a little over 21 big blinds. Daniels, well-aware of Hellmuth's tight reputation in these spots, needed quite a while but ultimately made the call with {a-Hearts}{k-Spades}.

Hellmuth rolled over {q-Clubs}{q-Diamonds} and saw a dreadful {k-Diamonds}{8-Spades}{6-Hearts} flop appear. Neither the {7-Spades} turn nor {5-Hearts} river would save Hellmuth and, must to the dismay of many railbirds that flocked to the digital rail, he had to depart in 11th place for $7,871.85.

Afterwards, Hellmuth tweeted the following:

Despite the unfortunate ending, it's clear that "The Poker Brat" is ready and hungry for the online summer camp. Stay glued to PokerNews as we'll bring you continuous updates from the once-in-a-lifetime online bracelet series.

  • Check out the key hands from Phil Hellmuth's deep run in the first WSOP.com bracelet event!

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Senior Content Manager

A former professional poker player with a background in sports marketing and journalism. Yori has been a part of PokerNews since 2016 and manages the content team.

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