Monday, March 21, 2005

With no basketball to distract me tonight, I'm hoping to forgo the poker tables and pound out a monstrosity of an uber-post. For now, here's an excellent article about Phil Helmuth, from 1991. I'm surprised I haven't pimped this before.


Telly Savalas was at the table when Helmuth sat down to play in the poker room at the Dunes. Hellmuth played almost constantly for three days, and he won.

Helmuth might have gotten rich right then. The problem was that when he'd take a break from poker he wouldn't lie down; there were other games to be played. At the craps and blackjack tables, Helmuth quickly lost all his poker winnings. On each trip from Madison to Las Vegas the pattern was the same. "I became pretty much of a compulsive gambler," Helmuth admits.

SOON AFTERWARD, HELMUTH BEGAN telling people that he was the second-best tournament player in the world, below only the masterful Johnny Chan, who had now won the World Series two years in a row. The boast earned Helmuth a joking nickname among the old-line players: Number Two.

And even my favorite blogging WPT touring pro, Richard Brodie, is mentioned.

TWO DAYS AFTER TAKING OUT THE POKER loan, Phil Hellmuth is back in action for the start of the 1990 Hall of Fame Poker Classic's climactic event, the $5,000 buy-in no-limit Texas Hold'Em game. He takes seat number nine at his assigned table, turns up the volume on his Walkman, and stares intently at his fingernails. His air is grim and concentrated. Richard Brodie, a curly-haired, California-based pro, sits down across from Hellmuth and, with mischief in his eyes, wishes him good luck. Hellmuth ignores him.

"Giving me the silent treatment won't help you, Phil," Brodie needles him.

Hellmuth dials down the volume on his headset and sends Brodie a cutting look. "Playtime's over," he says.

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