Phil Hellmuth

Hellmuth’s Record-Setting 13th Bracelet Another ‘The Good, The Bad and the Ugly’ Tale

Yesterday morning, London, time, Phil Hellmuth etched his name into the record books yet again by taking down the 2012 World Series of Poker Europe main event and its €1,022,376 winner’s prize.  The 2012 WSOPE main event was held in Cannes, France for the second time, and the lower attendance compared to 2011 is a story we’ll touch on over at bestpokerrooms.com shortly.

But this event was all about Hellmuth, who came to the final table with a narrow chip lead over Ukrainian Sergii Baranov.  Hellmuth and Baranov took turns knocking out the shorter stacks, with Hellmuth leading through most of the final table and amassing a 3:1 edge in chips by the time he and Baranov reached heads-up play.  From there is was over quickly, with Hellmuth’s A-10 holding up against Baranov’s A-4 in the final showdown of the series.

As Phil himself has probably told you by now, the win was his record-setting 13th bracelet performance in a WSOP tournament, which gives him three more baubles than the next nearest, Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan (with 10 each).  Brunson’s days as a WSOP force seem over and Chan hasn’t done much in recent years, so the career mark should be Hellmuth’s for at least a decade, barring a charge by one of the two closest young guns, Phil Ivey or Allen Cunningham, both of whom could reel in Hellmuth inside a decade with a couple of hot series.

Hellmuth’s win established or extended several other marks.  With the triumph, Hellmuth:

* Extended his own mark for WSOP cashes to 95;

* Became the career leader in WSOP final tables, with 49 (passing TJ Cloutier);

* Became the first player to win both the WSOP (1989) and WSOPE (2012) main event;

* Took over the 2012 WSOP Player of the Year points lead.  Only Greg Merson, a member of this month’s “October Nine” in the WSOP main event, has a chance to catch Hellmuth, and Merson must win the title to claim the POY honor.

Even the most ardent Hellmuth bashers — and there are multitudes of us — have to admit that Hellmuth is a great, great tournament player, perhaps the best ever at deep-field NL hold’em events.  He gets deep often, and when he does, he’s alwas a threat to close the deal.

If only we didn’t have to deal with the other part of the Hellmuth equation, and that was on exhibit, too, in Cannes.

Mainstream reports of Hellmuth’s triumph have omitted mentions of Hellmuth’s latest “Poker Brat” outburst, which I’ll excerpt here from Jen Newell’s “Table Talk” report on the finale.  Wrote Jen about this moment by Hellmuth during heads-up play:

“His irritability began when Baranov check-raised post-flop, and he “threw plaques” (described by a PokerNews reporter) as a call after the turn. After the river card, Hellmuth found out that his A-4 and pair of fours lost to the J-9 and pair of nines of Baranov. From PokerNews: “‘OH MY GOD IN HEAVEN!’ yelled Hellmuth. He bolted out of his chair. ‘What the f*ck!’ Hellmuth then fell straight to the ground and curled up into a ball, in utter disbelief that he lost the pot.”

Table Talk: Best and Worst Players in Cannes

Yeah, that’s our Phil.  I doubt Baranov can even spell “poker”… but he can afford to hire an English coach/translator and learn it after his €632,592, runner-up performance.  A lot of people are bad losers, and that’s unexceptional.  It takes a Hellmuth to be a bad winner, and he seldom disappoints.

Ah, well, good for him, but oh, yeah, that 13th bracelet.  Gold, or just gold-plated?  Our good friend Shamus from the Hard Boiled Poker Blog dug up a quote by Hellmuth from just a couple of years back, in which Hellmuth pooh-poohed those WSOPE bracelets as not being the equivalent of the ones given out in Vegas.  Still, Hellmuth won’t be singing that tune any longer, bet on it.  He’s all about the marks.

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