Phil Hellmuth

Phillip Jerome Hellmuth Jr. (born in 1964) is a professional poker player who, as of 2018, has won 15 WSOP bracelets, including one WSOP Main Event bracelet from 1989 and one WSOP Europe Main Event bracelet from 2012. This is by far the most WSOP bracelets ever held by an individual. (Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan and Phil Ivey each have 10 bracelets.)

As of 2018, he holds the record for most WSOP cashes (108 cashes) and most WSOP final tables (52 final tables). He is also one of the top-ranking players on the WSOP All Time Money List.

Data from early 2019 show that Hellmuth has won over $22,850,000 from live poker tournaments.

Hellmuth is know for his temperamental antics and has been nicknamed “the poker brat”. He often arrives late to tournaments, taking his seat long after the tournament start. For major events, he has a fondness for making an attention grabbing entrance. He did for instance arrive to a WPT Venice event in a traditional gondola, wearing a full Venetian carnival costume with mask and cape.

Phil Hellmuth was inducted into the WSOP Poker Hall of Fame in 2007. Thirteen of Hellmuth’s fiftheen WSOP bracelets (as of 2018) comes from Texas Hold’em events, but he has cashed quite a lot from other poker variants as well in WSOP, and 22 of this 52 final table appearances in WSOP have been for other poker variants than Texas Hold’em, such as Omaha Hold’em, Seven Card Razz, Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo, and 2-7 Lowball, plus mixed events likes H.O.R.S.E.

Hellmuth used to be a part of Team UB and was involved in creating the software used by UltimateBet.

Short facts about Phil Hellmuth

Nickname: The Poker Brat

Born: 16 July, 1964, in Madison, Wisconsin, USA

Current residence: Palo Alto, California, USA

Spouse: Katherine Sanborn, a psychiatrist at Stanford University

Children: Phillip III and Nicholas (both with Sanborn)


Phil Hellmuth attended Madison West High School, before spending three years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has described his teenage years as tough, having problems with both school performance and friendships. After three years at university, he dropped out to become a full-time professional poker player.

World Series of Poker (WSOP)

Phil Hellmuth’s WSOP bracelets 1989-2018

Year Tournament Prize
1989$10,000 No Limit Hold’em World Championship$755,000
1992$5,000 Limit Hold’em$168,000
1993$1,500 No Limit Hold’em$161,400
1993$2,500 No Limit Hold’em$173,000
1993$5,000 Limit Hold’em$138,000
1997$3,000 Pot Limit Hold’em$204,000
2001$2,000 No Limit Hold’em$316,550
2003$2,500 Limit Hold’em$171,400
2003$3,000 No Limit Hold’em$410,860
2006$1,000 No Limit Hold’em with rebuys$631,863
2007$1,500 No Limit Hold’em$637,254
2012$2,500 Seven-Card Razz$182,793
2012 Europe€10,450 No Limit Hold’em Main Event€1,022,376
2015$10,000 Seven-Card Razz$271,105
2018$5,000 No Limit Hold’em$485,082

1988 WSOP

The first time Hellmuth finished in the money at WSOP was in 1988, at the $1,500 Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo event, where he made it to the final table.

At the WSOP Main Event, he finished at 33rd place.

1989 WSOP

This was the WSOP where Hellmuth not only took his first WSOP bracelet but did it by winning the WSOP Main Event. Heads-up was played between Hellmuth and two-time defending champion Johnny Chan.

Being only 24 years old at the time, Hellmuth set a new age record for winning the Main Event. (The record held for almost two decades, before being broken by 22 year old Peter Eastgate in 2008.)

1993 WSOP

In this WSOP, Hellmuth managed to win three bracelets in three consecutive days. This made him the second person in WSOP history to win three bracelets in the same WSOP. (The first one was Walter Puggy Pearson in 1973.)

2006 WSOP

At the 2006 WSOP, Hellmuth won his 10th WSOP bracelet. This meant that he reached the same level as the record holders Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan, who also had 10 WSOP bracelets each.

2007 WSOP

One year after getting his 10th bracelet, Hellmuth broke Brunson’s and Chan’s bracelet record by winning a $1,500 No Limit Hold’em event.

He arrived to the 2007 WSOP Main Event two hours late, after crashing a race car (provided by his sponsor) into a light fixture at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino parking lot.

2008 WSOP

At the 2008 WSOP Main Event, Hellmuth briefly got into trouble by calling Cristian Dragomir an idiot and various other insults at the table, and refusing to stop this verbal abuse even after being told to by staff and other players. Hellmuth was initially punished with a one-round penalty that was to be carried out at the start of the next playing day, but the penalty was overruled by WSOP Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack before it was put into action.

2012 WSOP

At this WSOP, Hellmuth bagged his 12th WSOP bracelet by winning a $2,500 Seven-Card Razz event. This was Hellmuth’s first bracelet from a non-Texas Hold’em tournament. It was also notable since it meant that Hellmuth now had bracelet wins from four consecutive decades: 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s. Two other players – Jay Heimowitz and Billy Baxter – already held bracelets from four decades, but not from four consecutive decades.

2012 was also the year when Hellmuth won his largest tournament prize so far: he got $2,645,333 for his 4th place in the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop tournament.

2012 WSOP Europe

In the fall of 2012, Hellmuth participated in the World Series of Poker Europe and won his 13th bracelet, in the €10,450 WSOPE Main Event. Thus, he became the first player ever to win both the traditional WSOP Main Event and the European WSOP Main Event.

This win also made Hellmuth the first player to win at least two bracelets in three different years; he won 3 in 1993, 2 in 2003, and 2 in 2012.

World Poker Tour

As of 2017, Hellmuth had won a total of $1,456,065 from WPT tournaments, reaching the money 14 times, including five final tables.

Examples of notable placings:

  • 3rd place in the $10,000 No Limit Hold’em Event at the World Poker Finals at Foxwoods in 2003
  • 3rd place in the Bay 1010 Shooting Star event in 2010
  • 2nd place at the 2017 WPT at Bicycle Casino

National Heads-Up Poker Championship

Hellmuth won the inaugural (i.e. 2005) National Heads-Up Poker Championship against runner-up Chris Ferguson.

Poker TV-shows

Poker After Dark

Hellmuth has made frequent appearances on the poker TV-show Poker After Dark, both as a player and as a drop-in commentator. He won the first episode of the third season. Two weeks later, he returned for a second victory.

Late Night Poker

Hellmuth was the season 3 champion of the TV-show Late Night Poker.

GSN’s High Stakes Poker

Hellmuth has appeared in the first, fourth and sixth season of GSN’s poker TV-show High Stakes Poker.

Best Damn Poker Show

Hellmuth was a poker coach on Fox Sports Network’s Best Damn Poker Show.

Teaching poker and writing about poker


Hellmuth has authored several books about poker, including:

  • Play Poker Like the Pros (2003)
  • Bad Beats and Lucky Draws: Poker Strategies, Winning Hands, and Stories from the Professional Poker Tour (2004)
  • Phil Hellmuth’s Texas Hold ‘Em (2005)

He owns the publishing company Phil’s House Publishing.


Hellmuth has filmed several poker instruction videos, including:

  • Ultimate White To Black Belt Course
  • Phil Hellmuth’s Million Dollar Poker System


In 2004, Hellmuth collaborated with Oasys Mobile to create the poker map Texas Hold’em by Phil Hellmuth.