After two weeks of competitive play, the World Series of Poker is settling into a month more of major tournaments. With millions on the line, speculation is who will be crowned champion...
...at the granddaddy of events, the $10,000 No Limit Texas Hold ‘Em match. Though that tournament gets the most coverage, there are 54 other events that take place during this exciting six weeks at the Rio All Suites Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. And in a $1,500 No-Limit Texas Hold’em event at the 38th Annual World Series of Poker presented by Milwaukee’s Best Light, Phil Hellmuth, Jr. just made history.
The renowned poker pro became the first ever poker player to win 11 coveted World Series of Poker gold bracelets. It’s a major accomplishment and put him ahead of living legends Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan, both of whom have won 10 bracelets each. Winning just one bracelet is considered by those in the poker world as a big time achievement.
Hellmuth reached the milestone upon winning a three-day, $1,500 No-Limit Texas Hold’em event at the 38th Annual World Series of Poker presented by Milwaukee’s Best Light.
Brunson and Chan, with 10 bracelets each, were on hand Monday night to present Hellmuth with the record 11th bracelet.
“This is the one I really wanted,” Hellmuth said in a post-tournament press conference. “I have so much respect for Doyle and Johnny. To now be at the top of the all-time (WSOP wins) list is really about as good a feeling as I have ever had.”
“Poker players everywhere measure themselves against each other by how many WSOP bracelets they have,” said World Series of Poker Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack. “Now, all WSOP bracelet holders must measure themselves against Phil Hellmuth. He is a true sports champion and we are proud that he is part of the WSOP family.”
The record-setting victory marked the largest number of opponents Hellmuth has ever defeated in a tournament. When Hellmuth won the final hand Monday at 7:55 p.m. PDT, he had bested a field of 2,628 participants.
For his efforts he takes home the top prize of $637,254. In second was Andy Philacheck winning $394,594 and third was Rick Fuller who was awarded $247,518. Other winners at the final table included Morgan Machina ($161,425), Scott Clements ($112,997), David Simon ($82,506), Fabrice Soulier ($64,570), Ut Nguyen ($48,427) and Taylor Douglas ($38,025).
Each of Hellmuth’s 11 bracelets came from victories in No-Limit Texas Hold’em events. His most celebrated victory prior to Monday night was his first – at the 1989 World Series of Poker $10,000 No-Limit Texas Hold’em Championship, commonly referred to as the Main Event.
Hellmuth won three bracelets in a single year – 1993 – and won his 10th WSOP title last year, after trailing rivals Brunson and Chan for more than two years.
With a total of 55 events on this year’s WSOP schedule, Brunson and Chan have ample opportunity to retake a share of the record. Both men plan to play several more tournaments this year, including the Main Event.
Harrah’s Entertainment purchased the event three years ago when it acquired Horseshoe casinos. In fact, it’s understood the purchase of Binions was really a play to get ownership of this lucrative tournament.
The World Series of Poker runs through July 17th, with the Main Event running from July 6th to 17th. The $10,000 No Limit Event is the biggest event in sports and last year’s top prize – won by Jamie Gold – was $12 million. There were more than 8,000 competitors in last year’s tournament.
Luxury Swiss watchmaker Corum designed and manufactured all 55 bracelets being awarded at the 38th Annual World Series of Poker presented by Milwaukee’s Best Light. More information on the WSOP is available at www.worldseriesofpoker.com.