Phil Hellmuth, Jr. is an American poker player, widely regarded as one of the best poker players in history. Hellmuth has won a record 17 World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets, including the 1989 WSOP Main Event.
In 2007, he was inducted into the WSOP Hall of Fame. During his career, Hellmuth has acquired the nickname 'The Poker Brat' for his often expletive-filled rants about bad beats and his opponents’ dubious plays against him.
The poker legend, considered by many to be the greatest tournament poker player ever, won his 17th bracelet at the 2023 WSOP when he took down Event #72: Super Turbo Bounty for $803,818 plus bounties.
Hellmuth is a polarizing character due to his incessant trash talk, huge self-belief, and his often unorthodox playing style. However, there is no denying the Poker Brat’s ability; you do not win 17 WSOP bracelets without knowing your way around a poker tournament.
Never one to do things by halves, Hellmuth’s first WSOP bracelet came in 1989 when he took down the $10,000 Main Event. The then 24-year-old Hellmuth became the youngest-ever winner of the WSOP Main Event, a record he held until Peter Eastgate (22) won in 2008.
Hellmuth has since gone on to win 16 additional bracelets and is the only player in history to have won at least one WSOP bracelet in every decade from the 1980s to the 2020s.
Hellmuth resides in Palo Alto, California, but was born in Madison, Wisconsin. He attended Madison West High School before studying at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Hellmuth drooped out of college after three years and became a full-time poker player when he moved across the country to Las Vegas. Initially, things didn't go so well for the future Poker Hall of Famer, but he stuck with it, believed in his game, and would go on to have a legendary poker career.
Hellmuth and his with, Katherine (Kathy), who is a psychiatrist at Stanford University, have two sons, Phillip III and Nicholas.
Hellmuth at the World Series of Poker
Although Hellmuth has competed on the biggest stage worldwide, it is his amazing results at the World Series of Poker, the most prestigious poker series in the world, that he is best-known for. He is rapidly approaching 200 WSOP cashes and has, of course, 17 bracelets.
Hellmuth won the 1989 WSOP Main Event after defeating Johnny Chan heads-up. Chan is another poker legend, who currently owns ten WSOP bracelets. Hellmuth was only 24-years-old when he won the WSOP Main Event, making him the youngest-ever champion. He held that record until 2008 when Denmark’s Peter Eastgate won poker’s biggest prize, aged 22-years-old.
The Poker Brat proved his Main Event victory was not a flash in the pan by winning his second bracelet in 1992, doing so in the $5,000 Limit Hold’em event. The following year saw Hellmuth secure three more bracelets, to become only the second player in history to win a trio of bracelets at a single series; Walter "Puggy" Pearson achieved this in 1973. Amazingly, Hellmuth’s three bracelets came on three consecutive days.
WSOP victories kept coming Hellmuth’s way, and he locked in his tenth bracelet in 2006 when he won the $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em with rebuys tournament. That tenth bracelt tied Hellmuth with Johnny Chan and Doyle Brunson.
A year later, Hellmuth became the only player in history to win 11 bracelets after triumphing in the $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em event.
Hellmuth had to wait four years for his next bracelet. He won the $2,500 Seven-Card Razz event in 2012 for his first bracelet in a non-hold’em event. The same year, Hellmuth became the first player in history to win both the WSOP Main Event and the WSOP Europe Main Event, which netted him his 13th piece of poker jewelry.
In 2023, Hellmuth won his 17th bracelet in the wee hours of the morning when he took down the $10,000 Super Turbo Bounty for $803,818. He outlasted a frenzied final table that included 10-time bracelet winner Phil Ivey.
Phil Hellmuth's WSOP Bracelet Wins
|1989||$10,000 WSOP Main Event||$755,000|
|1992||Event #8: $5,000 Limit Hold'em||$188,000|
|1993||Event #7: $2,500 No-Limit Hold'em||$173,000|
|1993||Event #8: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em||$161,400|
|1993||Event #9: $5,000 Limit Hold'em||$138,000|
|1997||Event #15: $3,000 Pot-Limit Hold'em||$204,000|
|2001||Event #3: $2,000 No-Limit Hold'em||$316,550|
|2003||Event #12: $2,500 Limit Hold'em||$171,400|
|2003||Event #32: $3,000 No-Limit Hold'em||$410,860|
|2006||Event #34: $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em||$631,863|
|2007||Event #15: $1,500 No Limit Hold'em||$637,250|
|2012||Event #18: $2,500 Seven Card Razz||$182,793|
|2012||WSOPE €10,000 Main Event||€1,022,376 ($1,333,841)|
|2015||Event #17: $10,000 Razz Championship||$271,105|
|2018||Event #71: $5,000 No Limit Hold’em||$485,082|
|2021||Event #31: $1,500 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw||$84,851|
|2023||Event #72: $10,000 Super Turbo Bounty||$803,818|
World Poker Tour
It is not only the WSOP where Hellmuth shines because he has some impressive statistics relating to his play in World Poker Tour (WPT) tournaments. Almost 20 in-the-money finishes and five final table appearances have seen Hellmuth win almost $1.6 million on the WPT. He came close to winning a WPT title at the 2017 WPT Legends of Poker, but lost heads-up to Artur Papazyan and had to make do with a runner-up finish.
Phil Hellmuth's Top 5 WPT Results
|2017||WPT Legends of Poker||2nd||$364,370|
|2003||WPT World Finals||3rd||$281,700|
|2008||WPT L.A. Poker Classic||6th||$229,820|
|2010||WPT World Championship||7th||$152,856|
|2007||WPT World Championship||18th||$123,760|
The now-defunct Ultimate Bet used to sponsor Hellmuth. He was an early investor in the site and a minority owner but cut ties after the Ultimate Bet/Absolute Poker scandal broke.
WSOP Main Event Winners 1980-89
|1989||178||Phil Hellmuth||United States||$755,000|
|1988||167||Johnny Chan||United States||$700,000|
|1987||152||Johnny Chan||United States||$625,000|
|1986||141||Berry Johnston||United States||$570,000|
|1985||140||Bill Smith||United States||$700,000|
|1984||132||Jack Keller||United States||$660,000|
|1983||108||Tom McEvoy||United States||$540,000|
|1982||104||Jack Straus||United States||$520,000|
|1981||75||Stu Ungar||United States||$375,000|
|1980||73||Stu Ungar||United States||$385,000|