Phil was born in Madison, Wisconsin, he started playing poker while a student at the University of Wisconsin. After three years at the University he dropped out to play poker full time. Phil found success quickly, becoming the youngest ever World Champion in 1989 at just 24. His 9 WSOP bracelets are behind only legends Johnny Chan and Doyle Brunson’s ten each. To put this in perspective Doyle won his first bracelet in 1976, and both Johnny and Doyle have won their bracelets over several forms of poker. All 9 of Phil’s bracelets have come from Hold’em. Phil has had 17 final table appearances at the WSOP, 5 WPT top ten finishes, he ranks number one in Hall of Fame tournament wins and he has over 20 international poker titles.
Phil is known to some in the poker world as the “brat” of poker. He has in the past flipped out and had a tantrum if things go badly.
Phil currently lives in Palo Alto, California with his wife who is a doctor at Stanford University and his two sons, Phillip III and Nicholas.
Phil has released 3 books:
- Play Poker Like the Pros
- Phil Hellmuth’s Texas Hold’em
- Bad Beats and Lucky Draws: Poker Strategies, Winning Hands and stories from the Professional Poker Tour.
Phil’s winning WSOP hand:
Phil made a small raise, Johhny Chan holding A7 re-raised, Phil came over the top with a massive re-raise forcing Johhny to go all in. The flop came KTK giving Phil two pair and Johhny nothing, the river was Johnny’s only hope and when that brought a harmless 6, the youngest ever World Champion was crowned, ending Johnny’s streak at 2.
In his own words:
“I guess if luck wasn’t involved I’d win every one”.
“The level of frustration involved with going broke is incredible. Now being able to pay the bills or even ante up in a poker game is tragic for a great poker player. Being a champion is all about how you deal with the bad times”.
“Being a professional poker player has been very difficult for me. In what other profession can you be at the top and have so many unsatisfying moments? Losing all of your money comes with the territory when you’re playing poker for a living. The highs are great: winning world championships and having hundreds of thousands of dollars flow to you. But the lows are awful. The level of frustration involved with going broke is incredible. Not being able to pay the bills or even ante up in a poker game is tragic for a great poker player. Being a champion is all about how you deal with the bad times. During the bad times you must improve yourself and grow as a person. During the bad times you better figure out a way to handle your next upswing better than the last time. During the bad times I become focused, clear minded, disciplined and hungry. It is all about using the pain at the bottom to improve, and propel yourself back to the top”.
- 1989 – NL Holdem (Championship Event) – 1st place
- 1992 – Limit Holdem – 1st place
- 1993 – Limit Holdem – 1st place
- 1993 – NL Holdem ($1.5K) – 1st place
- 1993 – NL Holdem ($3K) – 1st place
- 1997 – PL Holdem – 1st place
- 2001 – NL Holdem – 1st place
- 2001 – NL Holdem (Championship Event) – 5th place
- 2003 – Limit Holdem – 1st place