Phil Hellmuth isn’t just the best tournament player the world has ever seen, he’s also a dab hand at the cash tables – when he’s not getting bluffed, coolered or hectored on the set of Poker After Dark…
5. One hell of a read: Hellmuth v Brandon Adams
The action’s been slow on the set of Poker After Dark when Mike Matusow raises with A♥-J♦ and Hellmuth calls with Tens. Brandon Adams raises it up again with T♣-7♣, Matusow folds and Hellmuth four-bets.
After a spot of table talk from Hellmuth, Adams makes the five-bet and Hellmuth calls. Adams has Hellmuth covered and moves in on the Q♣-5♦-8♣ flop.
‘Are you kidding me?’ Hellmuth says, before correctly guessing it’s ‘some kind of goofball bluff.’
Hellmuth goes on to make the world’s best read: ‘I’m going to fold this, he’s going to show me the bluff and then I’m just going to leave for ten minutes.’
4. Good bluff kid: Hellmuth v Steve Bartlett
Hellmuth gets super sneaky with his big hand here. After Steve Bartlett raises on the button with K♥-J♣, Hellmuth calls from the small blind with A♠-K♦ and checks dark. Bartlett checks back the 3♥-3♠-8♦ flop and then raises Hellmuth on the 9♣ turn. Hellmuth calls, checks the 5♣ river and Bartlett bets.
‘What in the world is going on here?’ says Hellmuth. ‘Wow. God dang it all, I feel so unlucky this hand. But maybe he has Aces or Kings and I was supposed to go broke anyway.’
Hellmuth folds face up saying ‘If you bluffed me I say good bluff kid.’ Bartlett shows the bluff and Hellmuth hits ignition point pretty quickly, before coming full circle and calling himself stupid.
3. ‘Is this how it’s going to be?’: Hellmuth v Annie Duke
Question: How is a poker player with reading abilities like Hellmuth supposed to concentrate when other players are yakking it up at the table?
Surprisingly, this is met by more hilarity around the Poker After Dark table, especially from Shawn Sheikhan, who decides to take things up to the next level.
Hellmuth calls the producer onto the floor and asks him what penalties he’s going to dish out to his detractors.
Meanwhile he’s still got a big decision to make… But the moment’s gone and his read has been distracted. Duke sits as quiet as a mouse and drags Hellmuth’s chips.
2. ‘Nine ball corner pocket!’: Hellmuth v David Peat
There’s already needle between David ‘Viffer’ Peat and Hellmuth before this hand starts, which is probably why the poker gods thought it would be a good time to deliver another beat to the poker brat.
Hellmuth’s A-K has the K-9 of Viffer in all sorts of trouble on the King-high flop. Viffer calls a bet and is rewarded with a Nine on the river and the sight of Hellmuth moving all-in. Viffer calls, Hellmuth leaps from his seat and Viffer compounds the bad beat with a fantastic rubdown: ‘Nine ball, corner pocket!’ It doesn’t improve Hellmuth’s mood.
1. Not in the same leage: Hellmuth v Erik Seidel
Poker legends aren’t exempt from the sharp side of Hellmuth’s tongue. In this hand Erik Seidel has the gall to counterfeit Hellmuth’s two pair and make a value bet, which Hellmuth feels he has to pay off. And so begins an epic rant that goes on. And on.
Seidel remains calm in the face of a stream of insults and even manages to stoke the fire just as it looks like it’s burning itself out. ‘Anyone have Phil’s nanny’s number? She’ll know how to calm him down.’
Hellmuth is quick to rise to the bait saying, ‘Oh you’re not even in the same league… You should be happy the deck saves you every pot we play.’
We can guarantee that’s the first and last time anyone’s ever said that to Seidel.
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