Breaking Down the Action:
  • Hellmuth’s High Stakes Duels
  • World Series of Bad Luck?
  • Hellmuth the High Roller?

4 Minute Read

Phil Hellmuth had a brilliant 2022, but could the Poker Brat be even better in the next 12 months?

If there is one player who poker look to in order to define the period of a year a success, it might be Phil Hellmuth. The Poker Brat, as he is popularly known, takes on all comers, plays in a wide variety of games and formats and is the record-holding 16-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner.

Can the Californian build on a stellar 2022 by winning his 17th WSOP bracelet in 2023? We look back on his last 12 months, which saw him once again grab so many of the headlines.

Hellmuth’s High Stakes Duels

Phil Hellmuth and the popular PokerGO show High Stakes Duel went together like strawberries and cream in 2022. Ruling the roost in the format, Hellmuth lost just two games in 11 at the felt as he skittled Daniel Negreanu 3-0 just as he had Antonio Esfandiari in the previous year.

Hellmuth declared his long-time frenemy Negreanu – known by his alter-ego of Kid Poker’ – as “delusional” when he looked ahead to their clash at the felt on PokerGO. Hellmuth might have come across as egocentric to some, but in reality, he was just expressing confidence that he could get the job done and that turned out to be the case as he dismissed both Kid Poker and his next opponent, FOX TV broadcaster, Nick Wright.

After despatching Wright, Hellmuth lost his first match to Tom Dwan after telling us that Dwan was capable of “any move at any time” but that was only a precursor to a double-or-nothing victory over Dwan that set Hellmuth up to beat Scott Seiver, too. Hellmuth’s fortune ran out against Jason Koon as the West Virginian conquered the WSOP all-time record bracelet holder, but Hellmuth’s record of nine wins and two defeats mean he could well be wise to reinvest in the series of heads-up duels and challenge Koon for the $3.2 million prizepool up for grabs next.

World Series of Bad Luck?

Hellmuth’s 2022 World Series of Poker didn’t go according to plan in Las Vegas last summer, but that didn’t stop him posting massive profits. Hellmuth’s beginning to the Series was awful as he travelled to Sin City from Mexico and fell victim to a stomach bug. Hellmuth’s recovery was swift and he soon started racking up final table appearances, cashing twice in 11 days as he came 8th and 9th in the $1,500 Omaha Hi-Lo 8 or Better event and the $10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Championship, winning over $33,000 in the process.

That was more buy-in money and eventually, Hellmuth’s investments produced superb dividends. Across the 2022 WSOP, the Californian cashed nine times, reaching three final tables and finishing as runner-up in Event #65, the $3,000-entry NLHE Freezeout event which David Jackson won for just under $600,000. Hellmuth’s near-miss saw him come back from an immediate deficit to lead at one point, but he ran into pocket aces just as he did against Koon in High Stakes Duel and only won $369,698 in second place.

The world and his wife tuned in for that battle, where Hellmuth saw off others such as Justin Saliba and Renan Bruschi at the final table only to fall just short. Overall, however, Hellmuth was unable to extend his record haul of 16 bracelets at the WSOP. Having once had a premonition of winning 24 bracelets in his lifetime, who would bet against the Poker Brat with any confidence in 2023?

Hellmuth the High Roller?

With a lively discussion developing between Hellmuth and Negreanu in 2022 about the former’s ability in high rollers, there was a prop bet mooted for Hellmuth to play 50 of the $25,000-entry or higher high roller events that frequent ARIA in Las Vegas and hit profit by the last one in the same year.

The sheer amount of action Hellmuth would garner in these events make them a lipsmacking prospect in any case, but add in the fact that Negreanu has made playing a number of these events his staple and a truly titanic clash may ensue. Where would anyone’s money be on that line? Hellmuth has done a lot better in high roller or super high roller events than people remember and would be no sitting duck.

As a reactive counter-puncher, watching The Poker Brat take on ‘The GTO Generation’ with more than just money on the line would be fascinating. Add in his annual quest to win multiple WSOP bracelets and a possible return to High Stakes Duel and Phil Hellmuth may well have the kind of 2023 lined up like the center of this Roast Beef sandwich.



Joseph Ellison

Joseph is a dedicated journalist and horse racing fanatic who has been writing about sports and casinos for over a decade. He has worked with some of the UK's top bookmakers and provides Premier League soccer tips on a regular basis. You'll likely find him watching horse racing or rugby when he isn't writing about sport.

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