Can Phil Hellmuth Fold Pocket Kings on Hustler Casino Live?

Phil Hellmuth

It is rare to see Phil "The Poker Brat" Hellmuth buy into a cash game extremely deep, but in this February episode from Hustler Casino Live he decided to sit with $300,000 in a friendly $100/$200 game! This was bound to create a recipe for a huge pot during the poker livestream and when Hellmuth wakes up with pocket kings, you just know there are going to be fireworks!

In this strategy column, I discuss the factors you should consider when playing extremely deep-stacked in cash games. The effective stack between Alan Keating and Hellmuth is around 150 big blinds! For this reason, Hellmuth should often want to four-bet preflop to force Keating to fold hands that will still have equity against his pocket kings and may end up costing him a huge pot.

The action kicked off as Hellmuth raised to $4,400 from under the gun and Keating called on the button with 32 and tech entrepreneur Chamath Palihapitiya called in the small blind with K4 before Stanley Choi three-bet to $5,200 in the big blind with QQ. Hellmuth opted to flat-call and Keating and Palihapitiya followed suit.

I'm fine with Hellmuth's flat-call, but he should also be four-betting some of the time, while Keating and Palihapitiya are being too loose by calling the initial bet.

The flop landed 887 and Palihapitiya checked as Choi continued for $5,000 with his queens. Hellmuth called and Keating and Palihapitiya both folded. I like Hellmuth just calling in this situation with two players left to act behind him.

Read About Chamath At The 2023 WSOP!

The Q turn gave Choi queens full and he opted to check as Hellmuth quickly checked back. I am fine with Choi's check because it is difficult to get paid with top boat, but I do think Hellmuth will often call a small bet with so much already in the pot. Hellmuth should probably bet here to deny Choi equity, but maybe he just knew Choi already had it.

Phil Hellmuth
Phil Hellmuth on Hustler Casino Live

The 4 river completed the board and Choi bet a sizable $21,000. I think Choi should bet smaller on the river because he really wants to induce a raise from Hellmuth.

What would you do here with kings if you were Hellmuth?

  • Fold
  • Call
  • Raise

Hellmuth couldn't get away from it and called before going on one of his signature tirades as he saw he had been outdrawn.

For more on this hand check out my breakdown in the following video:

Jonathan Little is a professional poker player and author with over $7,000,000 in live tournament earnings. He writes a weekly educational blog and hosts a podcast at Sign up to learn poker from Jonathan for free at You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanLittle.

More Strategy From Jonathan Little!

  • Jonathan Little breaks down a hand played by Phil Hellmuth on Hustler Casino Live earlier this year.

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