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Phil Hellmuth

Phil Hellmuth, one of poker’s more, er… confrontational shining lights, tells us what’s been happening at his tournament.


I WAS JUST PLAYING IN THE PHIL HELLMUTH INVITATIONAL, a $2000 buy-in tournament at Hollywood Park in Vegas – which, by the way, Tobey Maguire won. Spiderman, baby! I had the mic and was doing a lot of announcing; teasing people during the tournament, just having a good time – and the mood was very light.


A lot of tournaments these days are very intense; everybody’s trying too hard. But this was nice. Even though there was a $95,000 purse, people just seemed to be enjoying themselves. I was in good spirits; I really love doing this commentating thing. People say, “Phil, you’re a natural.” I love needling people in the room, just for fun.


Anyway, one hand came up where someone in the first position raised (turned out he had A-Q) and I had K-K, so I didn’t want to re-raise. There were a lot of amateur players, so I gave them the option of re-raising for me. A guy two behind us was a professional player, and he almost went for it. He reached to raise, and then thought better of it. It went all the way back to the big blind, who decided to raise it.


And so I’m like: “This is sweet.” I’m sitting there with K-K. It’s been raised, called by me, called again and then re-raised, and it’s a really pretty pot. The guy between us thought for a long time, and then he called too. So it came back to me, and I just went ahead and moved in. This is also the last hand before the break and I happen to have the microphone next to me. I thought, “This is going to be a great hand to announce.” Then it got back to the big blind, and he called with the rest of his chips.

The first guy thought for a long time, then said, “I think you have Tens or Jacks,” and finally he folded his A-Q. Now the big-blind player flipped up A-A. It’s one of those situations where I felt I’d played my hand really, really well and yet I ran into A-A. I thought I’d been clever, but I’d just made the pot much bigger for the guy with two Aces.


And because I’d announced the hand, everybody in the room came over to watch it. Of course no King came – kind of dampened my high spirits. I know it was my own tournament, but I had no qualms about trying to win, I assure you.


(© 2005 BluffMagazine. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed)


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