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The 20 Most Influential People in Poker - #15 - Phil Hellmuth

21 February 2011, By: compncards
Hellmuth 15 400x300
Hellmuth 15 400x300

Coming in at #15 on the list of the "20 Most Influential People in Poker" is the man most synonymous with the World Series of Poker. He is also the one poker player that everyone loves to hate.

Yes, #15 on the list is none other than Phil Hellmuth.



Phil Hellmuth is as noted for his mouth as for his ability at the poker table. Whether he is berating others at the table, patting himself on a great read, or just reminding us for the 4,232nd time that he is the greatest of all time, Hellmuth is always good for a quote or a blowup.

While a session with Hellmuth can be as pleasant as a root canal, he does at least have the stats to back up his talk. For his career, he has won over $11.4 million on the live tournament circuit. Hellmuth also has the current record for most WSOP bracelets won at 11.

In addition, Hellmuth has won the Main Event of both the now defunct Diamond Jim Dandy and Hall of Fame Poker Classic, both major events of the past. Hellmuth also has a victory in the Poker EM, which was essentially the World Championship of 7 Card Stud for many years. Of course, we can't forget about his NBC National Heads-Up victory in 2005.  (I'm sure he wouldn't let us forget even if we tried.)

Until this past December, Hellmuth was a long time front man for the popular online poker site UB, formerly UltimateBet. Both he and Annie Duke left the site on the same day.

While we know where Duke landed, Hellmuth has yet to find a home. Many have speculated that he should try to ink some type of deal with the World Series of Poker, considering that he is the all-time bracelet winner and is one of the most sought after pros on television.

The big knock on Hellmuth through the years is that he is viewed primarily as a Hold'em specialist, and not a very good all-around player.  I happen to agree with Norman Chad's assessment - while Hellmuth may be a one trick pony, it is still a pretty impressive trick.

Since 2000, Helmuth has only had two years in which he made less than $250,000 in the game.  And let's also not forget that he is a former Main Event Champion, a feat that hasn't been achieved by Ivey, Negreanu, Duke, Lederer, Durrrr, Matusow, Galfond, Mizrachi, that guy from Scream, etc.

Hellmuth is a personality that draws ratings, for better or worse.  His fans adore him, while his haters love to tune in to hate on him that much more. Many will tune in just to cheer for him to lose. Regardless of the fans' motives, they still tune in and producers love this about Hellmuth.

Hellmuth will eventually land somewhere and will be utilized for maximum value.  There is a lot of value in having the all-time bracelet winner (and 5th on the All-Time Money List) on your roster or representing your company. As long as Hellmuth continues to be Hellmuth, he will have a spot on poker television.

Hellmuth equals ratings and dollars, and as long as that formula holds, he will be a strong influence on the poker world.  (Insert collective groans here.)

Previous posts:

16.  Annie Duke

17.  Dan Harrington

18.  Linda Johnson

19.  Brian Balsbaugh

20.  Chris Moneymaker

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