Phil Hellmuth is a famous name in the world of professional poker games. His reputation in the game of cards is so fierce that he has won a record fifteen World Series of Poker bracelets, starting from 1989 to 2018. Among Hellmuth’s legacy in poker games are his victories in the Main Events of the 1989 World Series of Poker (WSOP) and 2012 World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE). With total live tournament winnings that exceed $21,750,000, Phil Hellmuth is ranked twelfth on the all-time money list.
Who is Phil Hellmuth the Pro Poker Player? – Bio
His over-competitive personality and temperamental attitude towards opponents in the game have earned him the nickname, “Poker Brat,” and Hellmuth has certainly adopted it to match the fact that he hates to lose a game. This typically piques our curiosity to who this pro poker player really is.
Phillip Jerome Hellmuth Jr. was born in Madison, Wisconsin on July 16, 1964, as the first and oldest child with four younger siblings: Ann, David, Kerry, and Molly Hellmuth. His father Phil Hellmuth Sr. was a dean at the University of Wisconsin, while his mother, Lynn Hellmuth, was a sculptor.
For one who was raised in a devout Catholic family and whose parents are academians, Hellmuth wasn’t the brainiac his father expected of him. From Madison West High School to the University of Wisconsin–Madison where he dropped out after three years, the living Poker legend may not be good with academic grades, but he is great with the card game.
His journey towards the poker game began from his grandmother, who he described as the most spirited card player he’s ever competed against. While in college, Hellmuth often indulged in Texas Hold’em poker games against his classmates in the student union. By playing in competitions, he earned enough money and with $20,000 at age 21, he took off to Las Vegas.
Several months passed, precisely 14 months later, Phil Hellmuth lost all that money into the game. He shuffled between working in the corn fields for a few months, to raise more money and competing for higher prizes until he earned enough to remain steady in Nevada’s city.
With high hopes and dreams of becoming a regular attendant of the World Series of Poker, Hellmuth played his first tournament in the 1988 World Series of Poker where he emerged 33rd after losing to Johnny Chan who became the champion that year. Despite that, he made a come back the following year, in 1989 to become the youngest player, at 24-years old, to win the Main Event of the WSOP, defeating Chan. His record was only broken 18 years later by Peter Eastgate (at 22 years old) in 2008.
Hellmuth went on to cash in on eight Main Event – 1988, 1989, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2008, 2009, and 2015. He became the second player in WSOP history to win three bracelets in one WSOP, during the 1993 World Series of Poker and currently a proud bearer of fifteen World Series of Poker bracelets. He won his 15th WSOP on July 11, 2018, in the $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em event to earn a whopping sum of $485,082.
Phil Won the National Heads-Up Poker Championship in 2005 In 2007, the legend was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame and has cashed 14 times, making five final tables on the World Poker Tour. His records at the WPT include: a fourth place in the $3,000 No-Limit Hold’em WPT Event (2002); third place in the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Event at the World Poker Finals (2003); sixth place at the 2008 L.A. Poker Classic; third place at the Bay 101 Shooting Star event in 2010; finished seventh at the $25,000 WPT World Championship; and second place in 2017 at the Bicycle Casino.
By the year 2017, Hellmuth had won over $1.5 million in WPT tournaments. Although he is known for his arrogant and cartoonish outbursts with unsportsmanlike conduct after taking bad beats, Hellmuth said he’s probably the most fun-loving guy away from the poker table.
Dubbed the most decorated poker player in the world, Hellmuth also appears as a player and commentator on episodes of Poker After Dark won his first tournament on the show in the first episode of the third season. He walked away with $120,000 in prize money and won the same amount two weeks later on the show.
In 2000 and 2013, the poker champion competed and won $106,250 and $300,000 in prize money after winning the Poker EM 7-Card Stud Main Event in Austria, defeating 437 other players; as well as finishing second place in the final round in the National Heads-Up Poker Championship.
More than the game, he is an author of several poker books and instructional poker videos including The Greatest Poker Hands ever Played, Poker Brat, Phil Hellmuth’s Million Dollar Poker System, and Ultimate White To Black Belt Course. He was also part of the team that created the software for UltimateBet.
Wife and Family
Phil Hellmuth and his wife Katherine Sanborn got married on March 31, 1990, and had two sons Philip III and Nicholas. The family lives in Palo Alto, California. Katherine is a psychiatrist, working full time at Stanford University. Besides being there for his family, the poker brat is known to generously contribute his quarters to society via charity.