As reported by PokerNews, Phill Hellmuth, one of the best poker players in history, despite notching nine cashes, still endured a somewhat frustrating 2023 World Series of Poker (WSOP), according to insiders close to him. But everything fell into place after he recorded his tenth cash which came along with his 17th WSOP bracelet win in Event #72: $10.000 Super Turbo Bounty, meaning he broke his own record, adding one more bracelet to his collection.
The 17th win came in No-Limit Hold’em variant:
This win is truly significant for Hellmouth, as it only adds to probably the greatest tournament poker resumé ever, which began in 1989 when Hellmuth won his first Main Event bracelet. However, all but 3 of his bracelets, along with this one came in No-Limit Hold’em variant.
In addition, this WSOP tournament integrated a fast blind structure and bounty element, which lured 642 competitors, which further accumulated a total prize pool of $4,044,600, with Hellmuth winning $803.818 in addition to fist place prizes.
A monumental comeback:
When it comes to what was most important to Hellmouth throughout the tournament, it certainly wasn’t the money, but rather extending his own record as it gives his detractors an extra reason to claim that “he is one of the best to have ever played the game.”
However, even though Hellmuth eventually won, his tournament had its ups and downs. During one stage, he was down to only 60.000 at the 15.000/30.000 blind level. When he later commented on that particular moment, he told PokerNews: “I just needed to make it to the break.” And, that break helped him regain his concentration and return with renewed motivation to make an incredible comeback.
His comeback first started late in the day when he picked up pocket jacks 3 times, won a couple key flips and found the aces at the right time to put Phil Ivey in 6th place. In this regard, when describing the whole situation and his luck that day, Hellmuth said: “I had jacks hold up against ace-king for three million each. Any potential luck that I was complaining about I received more than [enough]”
But when asked to describe how he felt about his win, he said: “I’m feeling pretty good. I must have a smile just fixed to my face.” However, at the moment of victory, he was jumping around the Paris Ballroom, completely delighted. He also added: “I tried not complain. Oh, I’ve been unlucky in key spots. F*** all that bulls*** you know, because things happen for a reason.”
Early exit in the Event: #71 $50,000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller:
Furthermore, he explained that “part of the reason he was one of the contenders in the tournament was due to an early exit in the Event: #71 $50.000 Pot Limit Omaha High Roller at the hands of Jeremy Ausmus.” On that note, he added: “You know maybe part of the reason I busted the Pot Limit Omaha was to come and win this. You know, maybe part of the reason I busted the deuce to seven was so I could get rest.”
Additionally, he emphasized the importance of the full 3 days of rest he was given, saying that “coming in fresh was enormously helpful.” He added: “I came back from one of those breaks, I had sixty thousand left. The blinds were fifteen and thirty. I just knew I needed to make it to that break.” Those rest days helped him clear his head to endure some of the tougher times in the tournament. Also, after the break, everything went in his favor to get the final victory.
Although his 17th bracelet expands his record and adds one more bracelet to his winning streak, even before the win he said that “he was finally getting the respect he thinks he deserves.” In this regard, he added: “This is the first year of my career that all the great players called me great or the greatest. Shaun Deeb is one of the greatest players in the world. He finally understands and was giving me compliments like ‘you’re the best player in the tournament.’”
What’s more, after the win, Hellmuth won’t be resting immediately after the win, because he’s scheduled to speak at Doyle Brunson‘s celebration of life at the Horseshoe late in the day on July 2. Commenting on it, Hellmuth said that “he was thinking of his late friend, especially during a hand at the final table where he made a straight holding Brunson’s iconic ten-deuce off-suit.”
Chris Savage had a big lead over the rest of the players at the nine-man final table with a consistent average stack of 25 big blinds, holding almost half of the chips in play after eliminating Lawrence Brandt in 10th place. In the meantime, Hellmuth sits in middle of the table with a stack worth 13 big blinds.
Abdella Ali was the first to be eliminated after losing a flip with nines against the big slick of Kelvin Kerber. Marc Foggin followed him after losing to an ace of Justin Zaki, meaning he finished in 8th place. Next to be eliminated was high-stakes regular Brandon Steven after losing to Ivey, which saw him finish in 7th place. However, Ivy quickly followed after losing to Hellmuth’s pocket rockets.
Meanwhile, Savage went from leading to not being able to win a single pot. On his final hand, his kings lost to Zaki’s queen-nine.
After Savage was eliminated, the game slowed down relatively. However, Kerber was aggressive for most of the day, something that allowed him to make a deep run. But he finished in 4th place after his failed middle pair lost to Tom Kunze’s top pair. A few hands later, Hellmuth dispatched Kunze in 3rd place with a turned pair after the German came up short against Zaki.
And that’s when things really started to heat up; because the only ones left were Hellmuth, who wanted to expand the bracelet record, and Zaki, who wanted to get his first.
Although both started with almost even stacks, that didn’t last long. Actually, it was all over after one hand where Zaki bet all his chips in the middle and where his flopped straight flush draw lost against the bottom two of Hellmuth. Additionally, Hellmuth’s two pair turned into a full house to give Hellmuth the ultimate win, while Zaki was dealt runner-up honors and a consolation award of $496,801.
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