Phil Hellmuth Wiki, Bio
Phil Hellmuth is an American professional poker player who came to fame in the late 80s. At the time, he was one of the youngest players to make it in the realm of professional poker. Since then, he’s continued to build his notoriety by racking up achievements related to the World Series of Poker.
The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is the largest global poker competition, which has been active since 1970. The original competition was associated with the Horseshoe and big shows in Las Vegas, though the tournament is now played around the world.
Hellmuth developed a persona for his cheeky antics in the realm of poker. Given his young age during his rise to fame, Hellmuth became known as the ‘Poker Brat’. Though he lives in California with his family, he’s stayed close to his roots in Las Vegas.
Last year, he made headlines for sticking a high price on his mansion, describing himself as ‘poker royalty’ in the property description. It may sound a bit over the top, but luxury homes are part of the lifestyle for poker pros who bring home hundreds of thousands in winnings—sometimes in one sitting.
In the case of Hellmuth, he’s brought home millions.
Early Career as The Poker Brat
Hellmuth was born in Madison, Wisconsin. He attended the nearby University of Wisconsin-Madison before dropping out to focus on poker. To do this, Hellmuth headed west to settle in Las Vegas, where he had access to the country’s most competitive poker tables.
He entered his first WSOP tournament in 1988 at the age of 23. In his debut at the World Series, Hellmuth performed best in Seven Card Stud Split, which helped him place in 33rd overall. However, he left the tournament interested in developing his Texas Hold’em skills.
The following year, he entered the 1989 WSOP and managed to find his place at the Main Event Finals table. The previous year, Hellmuth had been eliminated by poker pro Johnny Chan; this year, he knocked Chan out and took home his first WSOP bracelet. This feat made him the youngest competitor to nab a bracelet, aged 24 years.
Though this record was eventually broken in 2008, Hellmuth enjoyed a long period of fame (perhaps infamy) throughout the 90s. His nickname ‘The Poker Brat’ developed after Hellmuth’s antics crashing a luxury car driving to WSOP, antagonizing other players, and losing poorly after a bad beat.
Expansion to WSOPE
As mentioned above, Hellmuth developed his reputation as a brat for a variety of reasons in the 90s. During the same period of time, he was also racking up bracelets from WSOP competitions, which continued into the early 2000s.
Hellmuth continued to focus on Texas Hold’em. In 2001, 2003, 2008, 2009, and 2015, he swept the Main Event WSOP table; in 2012, he did the same at the WSOP Europe event. But he didn’t rule out other forms of poker, extending his expertise to Seven-Card Razz and picking up three more bracelets. His win at the 2012 WSOP tournament made him the first WSOP competitor to earn bracelets in multiple poker categories.
To date, Phil Hellmuth holds more WSOP bracelets than any other pro, with a total of 15. This has helped him stay relevant for poker fans around the world. However, not everyone considers WSOP bracelet counts to be the true barometer of talent. Others look at total earnings.
Phil Hellmuth may have 15 WSOP bracelets, but fellow pros Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari, and Daniel Colman all have more total lifetime earnings from poker competitions (WSOP and beyond).
Today, Hellmuth has a net worth of around $20 million, with an estimated total of $24 million in total lifetime earnings. His biggest win came from a charity event, the ‘Big One for One Drop’ campaign in 2016. With a buy-in of $1 million, Hellmuth managed to take home a total of $2.6 million. His second-largest winning is from his WSOPE win in 2012, which saw Hellmuth head home with $1.3 million.