(My first post was shut down for starting too early. Let’s try this again!)

Hi everyone, I’m Phil Hellmuth Jr. Some say that I’m the best live tournament poker player of all time, with more than $18 million in winnings. With a record 14 WSOP bracelets and 52 WSOP final tables, I was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2007. I was nicknamed “Poker Brat” for my tableside antics, and I’m also a bestselling author with my own clothing line, poker app and multiple television and movie gigs. I enjoy giving to charity, especially on behalf of fallen policeman and fireman, and I often donate my WSOP bracelets.

One interesting thing about me that most people don’t know is that I was friends with Chris Farley, when we were growing up in Wisconsin. And, when I started out in poker, I did so badly that I had to go back to Wisconsin to do farm work to earn a new bankroll.

I’m also now a partner with Poker Central, the world's only 24/7 poker TV channel that’s going live on October 1st. So now’s your chance to Ask Me Anything!

I will begin answering questions here now through September 20th.

Proof: https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth/status/644659108679778305

EDIT: I'm all done for the night. Thanks for all the questions everyone! I'll be stopping by periodically between now and Sunday to answer more, so keep them coming.

Comments: 427 • Responses: 32  • Date: 

ImSrslySirius115 karma

Are you still an avid boatsman?

Hollow_Man_55 karma

Thank you for giving us one of the new banner photos for /r/pokercirclejerk

PhilHellmuthJr61 karma


jaimestaples96 karma

Hey Phil!

Jaime Staples here. Can you talk a bit about your experience with Twitch. What do you think about the world of poker broadcasting? Are those two going to interact much or be different things entirely?

You are a great ambassador for the game Phil! Much respect.

PhilHellmuthJr4 karma

LOVE Twitch, and you'll be on a panel with me Friday at TwitchCon Jaime; will be fun! I just won $43,400 in my neighborhood (if you follow me on Twitter you know I've lost over $200,000 in the game in the last 6 weeks, BUT if I could Twitch that game, there would 100,000 people watching it! Craziness! Poker broadcasting has a huge future, and I'll be live Tuesday at noon EST here playing Pineapple OFC: Twitch.com/philhellmuth

DirkDiggler46978 karma

Have you ever done 2 chicks at the same time?

PhilHellmuthJr205 karma

no, but I'm not complaining cause Ive been happily married for 25 years!

Red_Wheel42 karma

You've won $18 million, but how much have you lost?

PhilHellmuthJr99 karma

Not sure I have the answer for that! All i know is that I have paid the IRS every year since 1987

ferdonjackson40 karma

How in the the hell do you deal with those beats where you are 90%+ with just the river left and wind up getting busted...well besides the obligatory bitching and moaning?

PhilHellmuthJr66 karma

Obviously I whine too much because I'm the Poker Brat!

PhilHellmuthJr63 karma

But I try really hard to NOT let any bad luck I have at the tables affect me away from the tables. I have gotten better and better at this over the years, but I'm sure my wife will tell you i was bad at this in my twenties and thirties. I don't want that stuff to impact my relations w my friends and family in a negative way...

krikara4life38 karma

Hey Phil, I've always wondered how you felt about Tony G lying when he said he did not see his hand on The Big Game. Is this something you've forgiven him for?

PhilHellmuthJr75 karma

I did not respect this move and thought it bad bad form. I forgave Tony G, because I forgive everyone so that I don't waste any of my time hating anyone. But I still feel like he owes me $16,000!

davidnik37 karma

How has the game changed for the better and for the worse since online play has become less prominent?

(We played together in Event 3 of the 2009 series, PLOH. Thanks for doing this.)

PhilHellmuthJr70 karma

Great question! Sadly, the poker world in the USA has shrank a bit (not too much). With entries down at the WSOP from the good old days, a lot less television (I miss Poker After Dark), and less sponorship deals for US players. However, the rest of the world has seen a lot less shrinkage.

IamParag17 karma

It was really cold, okay?! Also, Rounders 2? Are you involved in the talks? What is actually going on there, if you know?

PhilHellmuthJr33 karma

I talked to the writer of Rounders, Brian Koppleman, on his show. And was pretty sure Rounders II was going to get made. Rounders did $150 million on DVD, so why not?

nuttypoolog32 karma

Hi Phil. What's the future for online poker in the US? Should there be one?

PhilHellmuthJr106 karma

Legalized online poker is coming; 100%! It is simply a question of when...Amazingly, one person has stopped legalized online poker: one person! Mr Sheldon Adelson: and he spends $100 million every year funding politicians...However, David Baazov (poker big hope) is fighting hard, and effectively, for legalization. I'm hoping for full legalization in California, and then many of us, and the experts, believe it will spread accross the USA

chrispdx26 karma

Is your "Poker Brat" personna just an act for the cameras, or do you really lose control of yourself and your emotions at the table?

PhilHellmuthJr66 karma

unfortunately, I DO lose control sometimes! But a lot less than the world thinks or understands...If I lose it, then ESPN is there to play it over and over, but when I'm good they aren't using that footage as much

newplasmatv22 karma

What is the funniest tell you've seen?

PhilHellmuthJr49 karma

nothing like the ones in Rounders or other TV shows or movies! But one guy always talked when he had it, and always shut up we he didn't. We call it "Hollywooding"

dnegs21 karma

Hi Phil,

Your career has stretched through the rise and fall of poker's popularity, particularly in the United States. What do you think needs to be done to ignite another "Moneymaker Effect"-style boom of poker interest?

PhilHellmuthJr31 karma

A bigger BOOM is coming when the USA legalizes online poker again! We have witnessed this in Italy, France, and Russia when online poker was actually legalized, and the operators were shocked because they had 10 times as many people play (10X) than was expected. Ditto in the USA: coming soon...

SketchyBob17 karma

Is it true you started playing poker (and winning) against your college professors?

PhilHellmuthJr38 karma

Yes, I did play against two professors at the Univ of Wisconsin way back in 1984! In that game, we also had Psychiatrists, lawyers, and doctors. None of them were under the age of 40, and I was 20. Each was a professional w multiple degrees, I was an undergrad. But i'm pretty good at this thing we call "Poker"

bouncingsouls12 karma

How did this come about? Did one of your professors just invite you to their weekly poker game? I'd love it if this happened to me haha

PhilHellmuthJr28 karma

I started in the smaller games at UW, at the Memorial Union, and as I crushed that game, then I found the bigger games, until I made it into the "Docs game." I once won $2,700 in one night in that game, in about 1985! Seemed like a fortune to me then!

otivito17 karma

If I were Rocky and you were Mickey, what would you do to train me to be a champion in poker? Cause I'll do them.

PhilHellmuthJr35 karma

I'm training my son Nick a little bit. i want him to learn Super Tight play, and then add a few wrinkles. I don't like it when he loses 20 big blinds w A-Q!

gegenorere15 karma

What happened between you and Sam Grizzle?

PhilHellmuthJr65 karma

Sam Grizzle!?! Sam has always been one of the funniest guys in the poker world: huge personality! One day he asked me to save him a seat in a game while he went to eat. After 90 minutes, I made the casino stop taking his $9 every 30 minutes, cause so much time had passed, AND then he shows up and the game is full, DOH! So he wants to fight me...I say, well you better do it this week while my back is out, and suddenly I'm in my first and only fist fight ive ever had in the poker world! We both land punches, but next day not a mark on either of us (BEST FIGHT EVER cause no one was hurt).

jonesy82714 karma

What is your take on Phil Laak?

PhilHellmuthJr22 karma

I love Phil Laak! He is a goofball, much like how me and many of us in the poker world are goofballs. Very creative guy...

cjf410 karma

Have you ever sat at a table with Norm MacDonald? If so, what was like to play with him?

PhilHellmuthJr18 karma

Norm and I just seem to have hit it off well from day one, although we don't see each other very often. I live in Bay Area, he lives in LA, and were both busy. Nice guy! Canadian...

molcomtitman8 karma

  1. If you can only root for one team, Packers or Niners?
  2. Bracelet that means the most to you other than the '89 Main Event

go pack go! go phil go!

PhilHellmuthJr9 karma

Packers AND Niners! Lifelong Packers fan, but my friend Jed York owns the Niners, I spoke to the team, and my other friend Jim Harbaugh used to coach them. Winning the 2012 WSOPE Main Events in Cannes (Bracelet 13) was amazing!

ClintTorus7 karma

Hey Phil, do you feel that the live poker scene has improved as a result of Black Friday? Would you actually prefer to keep things the way they are now, or would you rather see online play legalized tomorrow?

PhilHellmuthJr14 karma

It is better for the poker world w online poker up and running in the USA. More people, more players, more endorsement money, more television. Bigger is better!

As to the effect it has had on the live poker scene, i am sure that all of these players are ready for another massive influx of players. Poker needs legalized online poker in the USA

Jaspa77327 karma

Hey Phil! Where is your favorite place outside of Vegas to play poker?

PhilHellmuthJr9 karma

My home game in the Bay Area. Filled w the "Masters of the universe," I love these guys and they have become my best friends. Other than that, the LA poker scene is vibrant...

ddwag17 karma

Are there any elements of the game that you enjoy which the average person wouldn't think about (due to not having as much experience as yourself)?

PhilHellmuthJr9 karma

Yes, the element of figuring things out that others do not see. I'm not as sharp as the characters from the "Mentalist" or "Sherlock Holmes," but I see things in everyday life that others do not, and I enjoy that. I keep my prism wide open, and sometimes I need 10 hours of sleep a night or more because of it

Kinggfx6 karma

Do you ever play at Foxwoods?

PhilHellmuthJr4 karma

I used to play there in the 1990's for about one week out of the year. Great games!

Hollow_Man_6 karma

Thanks for doing this Phil. Who in your opinion are the 5 best no limit hold em tournament players right now? Any young no limit tourney guys/girls coming up right now that you think have a bright future?

A non poker related question, I see you tweet about golf a lot. If you had to pick 3 courses that every golfer should play in their lifetime what would they be?

PhilHellmuthJr7 karma

Let me say that Golf Digest just ordered a Q+A w me for an issue soon, and I played Pinehurst #2, Hazletine (3 times), and Stanford in the last 5 weeks!

briggzee15 karma

Are you still friends with Matusow? Where has he been?

PhilHellmuthJr20 karma

Love Mike the mouth! He is OK. He survived a life threatening surgery on his back, and he is still playing high stakes poker, mostly in San Diego...Good guy, good heart, despite what it looks like on television...

Margaritas-r-4-gays5 karma

Do you think you are the best poker player at the moment?

PhilHellmuthJr16 karma

I'm pretty good! Let me keep my head down and focus and in 30 years lets see where people rank me in the pantheon of great poker players

2chpoker4 karma

Hi, I am a Japanese. What is your image about Japan and Japanese poker players?

PhilHellmuthJr6 karma

Because of the link that my kids have had to Japanese pop culture, I expected a quid-pro-quo re the popularity of poker, but I was saddened when I was told that poker was illegal in Japan! Still, tough Japanese poker players are emerging

Jaspa77323 karma

Thanks again for doing this, Phil. To what do you attribute your recent success playing Razz tournaments?

PhilHellmuthJr7 karma

I think Razz is a complex game that involves a lot of reading your opponents. I'm best when the skill of reading your opponents is key.

nuttypoolog3 karma

Tell us about the new channel - will I get it on Dish?

PhilHellmuthJr5 karma

I'm excited about Poker Central! 100 Million people play our game, more than tennis and golf combined, and the future is BRIGHT BRIGHT BRIGHT! It's easy for me to imagine poker 24/7, a lot like the Golf Channel has golf 24/7...

fullonavocado3 karma

Hi, Phil. When did you first realize that you were the greatest poker player in the world?

PhilHellmuthJr6 karma

I thought I was the best well BEFORE anyone considered me in that league!! Thinking you're the best, or listening people that say you're the best is dangerous for me. It's better to know I'm good, keep my head down and stay focused on winning bracelets