Hellmuth’s Dozen

June 11, 2012

The $2,500 Seven-Card Razz Event at the 2012 WSOP will go down in history simply because Phil Hellmuth, Jr. finally won his 12th WSOP bracelet, proving that hope is alive. And it wasn’t an easy feat either. Hellmuth earned it. Six of the final eight finishers were WSOP bracelet winners with 20 combined victories among them.

Late Sunday night, the event culminated in front of a packed house, half of which seemed to be cheering for Hellmuth, according to WSOP.com, while the other half may have been cheering against him, as he’s not the most loved poker pro in the game, but who cares?

Hellmuth has more WSOP gold bracelets than any other poker player ever. This bracelet proves that Hellmuth isn’t going anywhere. Once a poker legend, always a poker legend. He scored a $182,793 prize for his win and now holds a two-bracelet lead over Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan, tied for 2nd all-time bracelet holders with 10 each.

The irony though is that Hellmuth’s forte, Hold ‘em, was not the focus of this event. In fact, every other bracelet he’s won was some sort of Hold ‘em—PLH, NLH, LH, but this time the Hold’em master mastered Seven-Card Razz. Lovingly known as the “Poker Brat,” Hellmuth’s reputation precedes him as arguably the most famous player in the world, but also the most detested player in the world by many due to his “bratty” attitude and self-relishing personality.

After a stint of playing not the best poker and coming in second at three WSOP events last year, Hellmuth had fallen on hard times. But this win should be the sign that poker legends of yesteryear are making a comeback, challenged by the young gun phenomenon of barely legal poker pros fresh off the high-stakes tables at PokerStars.

But five years after his 11th bracelet win—to the day—Hellmuth went face to face with Don Zewin and the possible 12th bracelet while many thought he’d finish second once again. Zewin actually finished third to Hellmuth 23 years ago when he won the 1989 WSOP World Championship. Then when the suspense was so thick it could’ve been sliced with a knife, it happened very quickly and one card sealed the fate of Hellmuth to the dismay of many, but not to Hellmuth. For it could’ve very well been in the top three very best nights of his life, if not the very best.


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