Phil Hellmuth is an American professional poker player who is widely considered one of the best players of all time. He’s won a record of fifteen bracelets from competing in the World Series of Poker (WSOP).
Hellmuth was born in Madison, Wisconsin. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison for three years. During this time, his love of poker grew from casual games with friends to an interested in stats and probabilities. He eventually dropped out to pursue his interest in poker full-time.
At the age of 23, Hellmuth entered the 1988 World Series of Poker. He gained some attention at the tournament for his $1,500 finish playing Seven Card Stud Split, a variation of poker. This ultimately left him in 33rd place overall in the tournament.
The next year, Hellmuth returned to the WSOP to push himself once again. He was successful, battling his way to the Main Event Finals table where he beat out the two-time defending champion. At age 24, Hellmuth became the youngest WSOP champion in history, a title which he would hold until 2008.
During this time, Hellmuth became known as the ‘Poker Brat’ of Texas Hold’em. He was young, confident, and had a few tricks in his back pocket. He went on to win three bracelets in a single WSOP event in 1993. By 1995, he had five bracelets, more than any other poker pro that decade.
Since becoming famous as the industry’s ‘Poker Brat’, Hellmuth has stayed close to his roots in Las Vegas, where WSOP was hosted. In 2020, Hellmuth sold his home beside the Las Vegas Community Club golf course. Though not all poker pros will be able to own a luxury home (or two) like Hellmuth, which is valued over $450,000, some end up bagging six or seven-figure salaries.
But not many will achieve the winnings or fame that Hellmuth has for his time at the poker table. To date, only pros Antonio Esfandiari, Daniel Colman, and Daniel Negreanu have earned more than Hellmuth. Though not as famous or wealthy as some entertainers, but they’ve been able to make a lifelong career from poker alone.
Hellmuth 2000 to Present
The Poker Brat may have gained notoriety for his style and play in the late 80s and throughout the 90s, but Hellmuth hasn’t stopped his momentum. At the 2001, 2003, 2008, 2009, and 2015 WSOP events, Hellmuth managed to be cashed at the Main Event table.
Most of his attention in the early 2000s went to breaking WSOP bracelet records. At the 2006 event, he tied the ten-bracelet record held by Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan. The next year, in 2007, he surpassed their record by nabbing his eleventh bracelet.
In 2012, Hellmuth took home a WSOP bracelet in the Seven-Card Razz event. As mentioned above, Hellmuth’s primary poker focus was in Texas Hold’em. His achievements in Seven-Card Razz, making him the first WSOP competitor to win bracelets in multiple events.
Shortly after, he began traveling for WSOP Europe (WSOPE) events. This helped boost his international reputation and earnings significantly. In 2012, he won the WSOPE Main Event.
Phil Hellmuth has a net worth of $20 million. As of 2021, Hellmuth’s total earnings from poker events stand around $23 million. One factor contributing to Hellmuth’s rising earnings is his savings; poker tournaments often have large buy-ins for elite players. The more Hellmuth buys in, the more he stands to win (in most cases).
Some of his biggest winnings include his 2012 WSOP win for over $180,000, 2012 WSOPE win for over $1.3 million, 2012 ‘Big One for One Drop’ fourth-place finish for over $2.6 million, 2014 WSOP Seven-Card Razz qin for over $270,000, and the 2018 WSOP win for over $485,000.
So far in 2021, Hellmuth has announced his plans for the upcoming WSOP event. It seems Hellmuth has plans to cement himself as the tournament’s official ‘GOAT’ or ‘greatest of all time’. This is, in part, for his ability to read the table, which is a skill that can’t be taught.