Saturday, June 7, 2014

Phil Helmuth Busts, Blames His Freakin’ Terrible Luck (Day 13)

Realizing once again, that Las Vegas is one of the least pedestrian-friendly cities in the world, I arrive at the Rio around 5:30pm hot and sweaty, hoping that Phil Helmuth is still alive in the $3,000 WSOP no-limit hold'em six handed tournament. As the stands come into view it is abundantly clear that, indeed, Helmuth is in the building––the rail is standing room only. 

Nine players left in the WSOP and we have a very interesting situation. Belgian pro David Kitai sits on 2,125,000 and has a commanding chip presence. To his left sits Phil Hellmuth, who has the low stack of 220,000, or 11 big blinds. At the other table Bill Burford goes all in A3 vs. AJ with a similar stack to Phil’s and just like that he is out of the tournament. Helmuth’s supporters in Pittsburgh baseball caps give him shouts of encouragement “ICM Phil, ICM” and Phil gives a wry smile. Some of the middle stacks at the table are playing cautiously, as there are major pay jumps to consider.

Helmuth is known for tightening up in a lot of bumpy situations, folding everything but the near nuts. The next hand, down to 130,000, Phil raises to 80,000 with A2 offsuit under the gun. Not a terrible play, considering that he only needs to get through three players. Unfortunately, he runs into Gordon Vayo’s A7 in the big blind and the board brings a seven. Hellmuth stands up visibly pissed, commenting testily to his wife in the stands “I lost eight flips in a row.. eight f--ing flips.” He walks off muttering “This f--ing tournament...” Regardless of whether the previous hands he lost were flips or (very likely) not, Helmuth did make a valiant effort and came close to another WSOP gold bracelet.  Helmuth fans are happy that they witnessed a bit of the famous Hellmuth temper tantrum to end the day––we expect nothing less from the Poker Brat. 

Now we get back to the serious business of poker and seven very competent players vying for a first prize of more than half a million dollars.

“Honey, I lost eight flips in a row.. eight f--ing flips. Can you believe it?”

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