The conclusion of the 2009 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event is now just six weeks away and an $8.1 million first place prize will be up for grabs. Poker News Daily has learned that CardPlayer Editor Jeff Shulman is receiving training from Phil Hellmuth.
Hellmuth is an 11-time WSOP bracelet winner, tops in the industry. For 19 years, “The Poker Brat” held the record as the youngest Main Event winner ever at age 24 after taking down the feature tournament in 1989. However, Peter Eastgate shattered that mark last year at the tender age of 22. Hellmuth holds a record 75 in the money finishes on the felts of the WSOP, well ahead of Men “The Master” Nguyen’s second place total of 65. He owns $6.1 million in career WSOP earnings and is a front man for the popular online poker room Ultimate Bet.
Now, Hellmuth will lend his services to Shulman, who holds the fourth largest stack when play resumes at 19.6 million. Shulman told Poker News Daily, “I thought about it for a long time and Phil and I talked about it over the summer. It dawned on me that I wasn’t playing the way I wanted to. Phil and I have a very interesting style of play and we’re somewhat similar. I was looking for someone who could help me without changing my game. That’d be the last thing I’d want to do.” Shulman is making his second appearance at a Main Event final table this decade, as he finished seventh in 2000.
Shulman will don CardPlayer and SpadeClub logos when the feature table resumes on November 7th. The November Nine member shared his take on what aspect of his game needs improvement: “One of the things I’m not good at is short-handed play at final tables. Phil is willing to [help me with] that and I’d like to have him work with me.” The 2009 Main Event is Shulman’s fourth WSOP final table and his first since 2005, when he took seventh in a $5,000 buy-in Limit Hold’em event ultimately won by Dan Schmiech. The tournament’s talented final table also featured Gabe Kaplan, Joe Sebok, Annie Duke, and Greg “FBT” Mueller.
Hellmuth’s poker outbursts have been well-chronicled. His trademark “idiots from Northern Europe” comment has been repeated numerous times during WSOP on ESPN coverage this year. Hellmuth was eliminated when action from Day 4 aired last night and uttered the phrase, “These are some of the worst players in the world over here. It’s just unbelievable.”
Shulman, meanwhile, characterizes himself as quiet at the tables. He told Poker News Daily, “Our demeanors are very different. It makes me laugh watching Phil deal with people, whereas I’m pretty sure I don’t say a word to anyone the whole time. We have totally different personalities, but I need to treat the WSOP Main Event final table like it’s a big deal. If you had Phil as your coach, you’ll get a lot of attention and be successful.”
All but one of the November Nine has signed with an online poker site, as logger Darvin Moon is the lone holdout. The chip leader has been dubbed the tournament’s “wild card,” with many in the industry pulling for Full Tilt Poker pro Phil Ivey to take home the title. Here’s how the field will stack up when play resumes on November 7th:
1. Darvin Moon – 58,930,000
2. Eric Buchman – 34,800,000
3. Steven Begleiter – 29,885,000
4. Jeff Shulman – 19,580,000
5. Joe Cada – 13,215,000
6. Kevin Schaffel – 12,390,000
7. Phil Ivey – 9,765,000
8. Antoine Saout – 9,500,000
9. James Akenhead – 6,800,000
Stay tuned to Poker News Daily for the latest WSOP Main Event coverage.