Over the years, I have heard many high limit players from around the world chitchat at the tables. Occasionally, the topic of Phil Hellmuth comes up. Never, and I mean never, have I heard a high limit player say that he thinks Phil is a good player. We are talking about at least 100 different players, and they all want Phil in the game. Until recently though, I never realized just how much they want Phil in the game.
It was a few weeks ago, and it was my turn to go in and deal the Big Game. The stakes were $2000-$4000 and it was the usual mixed game (about eight different games). It was a customary mix of regulars, with one player missing in the three seat. Having poked my head in earlier, I already knew that the missing player was Phil Hellmuth. Now, while Phil isn’t a regular in this game, I have seen him in the game before. As such, I didn’t think much of it that he was in the game now. This is where it shows just how much the other players think of Phil’s game.
As I said, Phil was momentarily away from the table when I sat down. The game was changing (after every eight hands, they play a different game) and it was time for 2-7 Triple Draw. This game is a little different than the others, because it is only played six handed. As such, if you miss your blind, you have to wait until the blind comes all the way back around to you before you can play again. This is a common occurrence, as players tend to take a walk fairly often. So I tossed Phil a “missed blind” button, as it was his turn to post and he wasn’t there. I was about to deal the first hand when the other players noticed that Phil was going to miss his blind. So rather than have him miss his blind and have to sit out the entire round, they told me to wait for him to return. Never once in all my encounters in the Big Game, have the players waited for another player to return. If you missed your blind, than you would just have to wait. What was obvious to me though, is that they didn’t want Phil missing an entire round of Triple Draw (it is apparently one of his worst games).
So, I waited. About one minute goes by and we see Phil making his way back from his break. Now, the other players didn’t want Phil to know that they were waiting for him, so as he was walking into the room, they told me to “look busy”. Phil takes his seat and the game continues as normal. It seemed though, after every pot he won, someone would ask Phil why he didn’t play in that game every day. “YOU would make a lot of money if you played with us more often,” someone said.
Now, here is a lesson in good karma though. Because the other players in the game were waiting for the “fish” to play, Phil was able to get back in the game. In the 30 minutes that I dealt the Big Game that day, Phil went on a big rush and was up about $100,000. I guess they should have played on without him. Luckily for me, Phil happens to be a good tipper, and he took real good care of me (and most of the other dealers I heard). Thanks Phil.
As a side note, I feel confident in saying that Phil’s outbursts are purely for the cameras. He is just marketing himself, and he knows that these antics make for good TV. The more often he can get himself on TV, the more money he can receive from his endorsements. I have dealt to Phil many times in cash games and tournaments when there were no cameras around. Never once have I seen one of those infamous Phil Hellmuth blowups were he is flopping around on the ground.