With open-card live streaming on the PokerGO YouTube channel (no subscription required), every poker fan can learn how poker stars make decisions in the World Series Main Event. Tom Dwan and Doug Polk have hit the TV table on different days, but today Phil Hellmuth will be at the center of our attention – living proof that success in this game can come to a player of absolutely any style.
Whether the game of the WSOP record holder in terms of bracelets and hits in prizes meets the high standards is up to you to judge. We watched almost four hours of video for you and selected all the hands in which Phil participated.
Day 2D Hellmuth started with a stack of 108,500. The chip leader at his table was Nicholas Rigby, who bagged 408,800 on the first day. Hellmuth, with his 130 bb, was average, but immediately began to teach his neighbors how to live.
"Don't give me any information at all! Don't even tell me how old you are! And definitely don't show your cards…” he turned to a young guy in a Panama hat, Canadian student Ben Parent.
You are my favorite player since I was 11! – he admitted and promised to follow any advice of the idol. True, it soon became clear that he had more than one idol:
– My only goal for today is to have a hand played at this table analyzed on his channel by Doug Polk, and I was in the frame. That's all, I don't need anything else!
The guy in the Panama hat did not stop and quickly began to get on the nerves of the neighbors.
Hellmuth first entered the game about 25 minutes into the broadcast, raising from early position with AJo. Si Ren Chen called from the middle of the table with the same hand. Latvian representative Davis Modans defended the big blind with .
On the flop, Phil c-bets a little less than half the pot with a gutshot and A-high. Chen calls and Modans calmly raises.
Phil starts fidgeting in his chair, but there is no way to continue, and the cards are folded. Chen follows suit.
With a somewhat annoyed look, in the next hand, Phil opens a pair of threes from the first position (2.5bb).
Dentist-to-be (“My dream is to clean teeth. Even if I win the main, I'll still be a dentist!”) Ben Parent calls to the BB and, after catching a glance at his stack, immediately shows his chips and names the amount.
On the flop Hellmuth bets 2,000.
– You were UTG. I've seen you limp-fold tens sometimes, like against Ivey. So I’ll probably give up,” Ben explains the decision. Throwing away the cards, he throws his hands up:
– Yes! I played a hand against Phil Hellmuth!
In the next hand, table chip leader Nicholas Rigby opens with a 32o hijack into Hellmuth's big blind, only gets called by the button, takes the pot with a c-bet on the flop, and elegantly flips the cards to the dealer so they flip in mid-flight.
From the CO, Phil raises with A7s, Rigby defends J2o and leads the flop with a jack.
– First bluff? Hellmuth clarifies, showing his cards before dismissing them. He doesn't think about a decision for a second. Rigby cannot help himself and shows a two.
With courage, Rigby energetically plays the following hand: 3-bet KQo, on the flop with an ace he puts a small continuation bet, and a raise is answered with a min-3-bet!
The opponent calls, and the comes out on the turn. Rigby bets a quarter of the pot – 7,200, and Villain almost min-raises – 15,000, leaving behind 39,500. Here Rigby finally hits the brakes. But he does not relax – he wins the next two with 84s and J4s.
A new raise from Phil with AJo from early position again attracts interest from Chen.
On second thought, Chen 3-bets to 6,000.
– You are all kind of angry today – do not let me win a single pot! – Hellmuth says with a smile and turns the cards in his hands so that everyone can see them. Chen smiles back and shows the kings.
In the next hand, Phil gets eights and opens with a slightly increased raise (with threes from the same position, he bet a hundred chips less). Two people call it.
A c-bet on the flop allows Hellmuth to get rid of two of his opponents.
Turn – . Phil check. Rigby casually tosses 15,000 into the pot with three big chips.
– Bluff? – Phil asks his opponent and quickly open folds his cards.
“Second,” Rigby replies, and flips T7o over. Laughing around the table.
– I once played at the table – and I'm not exaggerating, this is a true story! – with the guy who bluffed me 18 times! Then he busted and I had a million chips. I swear it happened! Phil suddenly starts. That man was Freddy Deeb. He laughed, laughed... and then flew out. And I think I won the tournament.
"I'll stop at nine," Rigby promised. – What was his stack after the ninth bluff?
– He was the chip leader.
After folding a couple of orbits, Phil gets his first playable hand in the BB, but a raise and a 3-bet were in front of him.
“Call,” Phil says after examining his opponent. The raiser gives up. “And a check,” Hellmuth adds.
Both hit the flop: . Modans bets 8,700 chips and is promptly called, followed by another blind check.
Turn – . The Latvian player thinks and makes a hefty bet – 19,500, from which Phil literally starts dancing in his chair.
“What is it?” he says to the camera. “The guy 3-bets for the fifth time, plays way too many hands, I trap him and he catches his ace. OK. I think he'll give me the chips another time. So I fold my overpair.
But what kind of overpair, he prefers not to show.
“You're trying to push the table around,” he says to Modans, “and he's trying to push the table around,” pointing at Rigby, “and I'll play mega-tight and my stack of chips will keep growing."
“But now that you have revealed your plan, can the rivals adjust?” – the guy in the Panama hat notices.
– No. They can't. Both of them do not understand that you cannot win the tournament on bluffs.
From the button, Phil raises, gets called by Chen, who also plays a lot of hands, but everything is in, and misses the flop.
Chen makes a continuation bet. Turn is checked, and on the river Chen block bets 3,000.
“Today I won only one hand, but the script has already been approved,” Phil addresses the audience. Sooner or later they will give me all their money.
Of course, he folds the cards.
In the next hand, Rigby and Chen play a slightly mystical pot, at the end of which Rigby bets about 15% of the pot with a straight and gets called by a set.
– "What was it anyway?" Commentators do not understand.
From early position, Hellmuth opens AQo but continues to miss the flops.
However, he c-bets to 5,000 and both opponents choose to fold this time.
The new level 500/1,000/1,000 Hellmuth starts with a stack of 71,300.
From an early position, he opens , gets called by Rigby and squeezed by McDiarmid with a stack of around 50bb. With little to no thought, Phil pays.
Rigby thinks longer, but decides that he has to call. On the flop, he clearly did not regret his decision.
McDiarmid bet 10,000 and called Rigby's all-in. The turn and river do not change the lead, and the table is one player short for a while. And in the next hand, other short stacks are dealt a cooler – kings against queens, and a friendly neighbor to the left of Hellmuth also leaves the tournament.
A tight-playing Lu raises from early position, and Phil thinks about it.
Call. Rigby came into the BB with 86o and led the flop with a gutshot.
“All-in,” Hellmuth announces very quickly. An overbet of about six pots is not called by anyone, but for a minute and a half, Rigby thinks about it, pretending to be seriously thinking about a decision.
From early position, Phil raises with A6s and gets called four times! The flop comes out pretty interesting.
Hellmuth starts with a check. Finally, it's Rigby's turn, and he bets 3,000. Lu calls with a flush draw. Modans with a flush draw also calls. Phil doesn't even think about pushing and quickly joins them.
Turn – . Everyone checks.
River – .
And Modans overbets 27,000.
He cannot discuss the hand out loud due to the two players behind him, yet Phil is clearly suffering. Hesitantly he looks at the board, at the opponents, and again at the board... Then at the ceiling...
And, finally, he decides to fold. The rest also fold faster than the wind.
Fantastic bluff from the Latvian player! After a little thought, he shows everyone only one card – a jack.
Chen raises from early position, Phil defends the BB with A6o and talks about checking in the dark.
After thinking, Phil calls the continuation bet. Both check before the showdown, and the river is an ace.
– "King-Queen?" – Helmuth is interested, and the opponent shows his cards.
– "Wow!" – Phil is amazed, he has no words. However, he reacts quickly when someone at the table talks about his luck:
– What, lucky to call a bet of two thousand chips? Oh well.
He cheered up, then 3-bet the pot on the next hand against an active Modans.
With a pair of nines, Phil opens from middle position, gets called by Jones, and a small squeeze from Rigby.
He calls, remains heads-up, and announces a blind check.
Rigby checks next and sees one of the worst possible cards on the turn – . Phil checks again. A bet of 10,500 follows.
“Raise,” Phil says, and moves it up to 25,000. He has 43,600 behind him.
River – .
Phil thinks for a minute, fidgeting nervously, then bets 25,500. Villain is clearly in no mood to call.
“Do you want to bluff me back?” – breaks through Hellmuth's reaction.
“I said… I said I would probably have zero bluffs today,” comes the reply.
After suffering for another minute, Rigby calls and sees the bad news.
Phil Hellmuth has 135,600.
Soon the guy in the hat decides to make a big bluff against Rigby, but Rigby called a 30,000 bet on the river with third pair weak kicker much faster than calling with top pair top kicker against Hellmuth. The future dentist has only a few chips left, but his seemingly short stack is a whopping 76 blinds.
Hellmuth, meanwhile, is beginning to see his opponents' hole cards in some of the big hands of the past, and he is back to talking about excessive bluffing on their part and how they will be punished for a poor understanding of poker.
He defends the BB with K9s after a raise and two calls and doesn't fight on the flop where he doesn't even have a backdoor flush draw.
And Rigby continues to destroy opponents. The second barrel of Jones seemed to him somehow unconvincing, and Nicholas threw in a big raise.
From the button, Phil dives in for a raise with a pair of deuces, and the small blind also calls.
Two checks on the flop and Phil bets 3,500 hoping he has the best hand.
Lu calls. Turn , both players check. River . Lu bets about a third of the pot, 5,000. Phil has a sudden thought and calls after a while.
“Mike Matusow told me you were capable of crazy bluffs, so I had to check,” he explains to a stunned opponent. I wonder who observant Mike confused him with?
In the next hand, Phil opened Q8o from the CO and took the blinds and antes without a fight.
The open streak continues as he raises from middle position to 2,400 with Q5s straight into Rigby's big blind. He strongly defends K7o. Flop Phil decides not to c-bet. Turn – . Check – Check. The river is the fourth of clubs, and Rigby bets half the pot with no clubs.
After a little thought, Phil gives up, and the opponent shows a bluff.
“And I didn't just hit the flop, I destroyed the flop,” Hellmuth complains, “and only checked to provoke a bluff!”
He ends a series of marginal open raises with a pair of deuces from early position. Jones 3-bets and Modans 4-bets!
Phil, of course, folds.
By the time the free portion of the YouTube stream ends, Phil has a stack of 113,700. Modans made the biggest progress since the beginning of the day, adding more than a hundred thousand – he has 290,100. Rigby, despite losing a big hand to Hellmuth, also made some money with 418,300.
Going forward, Nicholas Rigby would only gain momentum and finish the day with a second stack of 921,000, knocking out both Modans and Hellmuth along the way. On the flop Jones cbets to 2,500 with kings, Rigby raises to 8,000 and Hellmuth calls in the BB. Jones will fold.
Turn – . Phil's check will bet 36,000 into the 64,400 pot and Hellmuth will shove.
“Nice hand,” he will say with a sigh to his opponent when he sees his cards. After the river, Phil will shake hands with Rigby and all the table neighbors and proceed to the exit. Basically, his plan for the WSOP was completed with a 17th bracelet. And even though he hasn’t had any deep runs in the main tournament for a long time – the last he hit the money was in 2015, there’s nothing to complain about in particular. He doesn't complain. Almost.