Phil Hellmuth has a rather modest goal of winning 25 WSOP bracelets before he hangs up his boots, modest in he’s eyes anyway.
This year he finally added to his total count and increased it to 12 after an amazing 5 year drought. The irony of it all is that he managed to do it in a non-hold’em event; all of his previous bracelets came in Texas Hold’em.
He won the 2012 $2,500 Razz event to finally remind everybody that he is still capable and is still the record holder when it comes to WSOP bracelets. He also reminded everyone why it is so much better to win in the big tournaments…because it just feels right!
As much as he enjoys making money in ring games and winning lower class events, he always seems to try his hardest when it comes to the WSOP. He won his first bracelet way back in 1989 when he was just 24 years old, and since then his cockiness, confidence and pure brashness has increased year on year.
Many love him and many loathe him, especially with comments like “if poker didn’t involve luck, I would win every game”. He has this certain demeanor, one which both sides of the argument about him will always come to some agreement. Players that love him will acknowledge that he can come across as a bit of a brat, while those that hate him will admit that he is certainly a very good poker player.
In truth though, poker needs a character like Hellmuth, poker wouldn’t be the same without him and when he finally does call it a day, the game will be a much duller place.
About That Bracelet Target!
Well it certainly isn’t impossible where Hellmuth is concerned. He is getting on at 47 now but look at Doyle Brunson, who in fact is equal with Johnny Chan as Hellmuth’s closest rivals with 10 bracelets a piece. Brunson is 78 while Chan is 55, so Hellmuth does have time on his side too.
What we also have to understand is that the WSOP is getting more and more beefed up each year, currently there are over 60 events each year that offer a bracelet. Even if he averages one a year he could have the 25 before he is 60. His current average is one every two years since 2000, so even then he could have the target by the time he is 70.
We could even see the WSOP expanding to 70 or 80 events, which just further increases his chances. Though it also gives his opponents more chances to catch him up.
He has to live by his own ramblings “if you want to be a great in this game, you have to win!”