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After a Slow Start, Phil Hellmuth Remains Confident: “My Mixed Games Are Awesome”

Phil Hellmuth


  • After a slow start at the 2016 WSOP, Phil Hellmuth remains confident.

Like him or not, Phil Hellmuth is a legend of the game and the holder of numerous World Series of Poker records. "The Poker Brat" not only has the most WSOP gold bracelets at 14, he also has 116 cashes and 53 final tables. This year, Hellmuth's still searching for his first final table, but he's getting close in the $10,000 Razz Championship — the event he managed to win last year for his 14th piece of WSOP hardware.

PokerNews spoke to Hellmuth on Monday right before he notched up his first cash of the summer in the $3,000 H.O.R.S.E. tournament. He came into the summer with a lot of confidence after finishing fourth in the $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl for $1.6 million, but it took him almost two weeks to get on the board at the WSOP.

"That was a long time ago in poker terms," Hellmuth said regarding the Super High Roller Bowl. "But I had a lot of confidence coming into the WSOP because I knew I was playing pretty good. It's been a strange Series so far. I've bagged chips five or six times, but I still haven't cashed an event yet. It's been strange."

Hellmuth would go on to notching his first cash of the summer in the event he was on break from that allowed us time to speak with him, and it's not as though he wasn't coming close before that.

"I regret not getting a cash in the $10K Dealer’s Choice," Hellmuth said. "That was $18,000, and I was third in chips at one point before running into a series of really ugly beats. There wasn't much I could do, but perhaps I should've taken it more step by step. The first step is the money, and maybe I could've avoided one of those hands I played on the bubble and cashed. Cashing gives you additional momentum, because when you get to the money people play differently than before the money bubble, and I can take advantage of that. I probably should've cashed that one.'

For decades, Hellmuth's been known as a no-limit hold'em tournament specialist, as the first 11 bracelets he won where in the "Cadillac of Poker." Since then, though, he's won two razz bracelets. Now, with the first week of WSOP action in the books and plenty of mixed-game events wrapped up, we wanted to know how Hellmuth's feeling about his game.

"My mixed games are awesome; it all makes sense to me, and it's nice when you get to play at that level," said Hellmuth. "For me, the exercise, the napping, the sleeping, I've been completely focused on the process. My process makes me stronger, and keeps my mind more clear. It's really nice to be in the state that I'm in, but yet I haven't had any results in the first nine days of the WSOP."

Hellmuth believes his success this summer will come, and all it takes is getting on a bit of a run.

"Sometimes, when you play great poker, day after day and hour after hour, what you're looking for is for some hands to hold up, or maybe your outdraw somebody sometimes," Hellmuth said. "You just need to catch a run sometimes, and in the Dealer's Choice I ran 90,000 up to about 400,000, and after that I played perhaps five percent of the hands wrong, and that can add up to something. I just have to keep playing great every day and we'll see what happens."

Taking a look at how Hellmuth stacks up against others with a lot of WSOP success, here's a look at players with 25 final tables of more, ranked by gold bracelet wins.

NameWSOP Final TablesWSOP CashesBracelets
Phil Hellmuth5311514
Phil Ivey285610
Johnny Chan314510
Doyle Brunson253610
Erik Seidel38968
Men Nguyen39847
T.J. Cloutier38636
Daniel Negreanu28846
John Juanda31655
Chris Ferguson30665
Berry Johnston30615
John Cernuto27633
Chris Bjorin28752

Hellmuth would go on to finish in 45th place for $5,081 in the $3,000 H.O.R.S.E., getting his summer started, and now we'll see if he can put together a deep run in the $10,000 Razz Championship. He finished Day 1 second in chips behind only David Benyamine and was still alive three spots from the money.

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