Former UB.com pro Phil Hellmuth started the weekend off with a bang by meeting with Full Tilt Poker officials at the Wynn in Las Vegas. The get-together comes a little over one week following his departure from UB.com, where he served as one of the main faces of the USA-friendly site for nearly a decade.
Hellmuth announced his meeting with Full Tilt to the world by Tweeting, “Now meeting w Full Tilt Poker! At SW Steakhouse bar at Wynn… Made my biggest bet of last 2 years on LSU (-2)!” While Annie Duke, who left UB.com on the same day as Hellmuth, told Poker News Daily that she would not be signing with another online poker site, Hellmuth could be finding a new home in the near future.
On TwoPlusTwo, the reaction to Hellmuth’s meeting with Full Tilt Poker officials was mixed. One poster noted that Hellmuth might not stand out at the world’s second largest online poker site: “Bad move for Phil. He needs to be the top dog where he goes and, with [Phil] Ivey there, that’s debatable.”
Others questioned whether we’d see Hellmuth on major poker television shows in the future: “If he signs with Tilt, it means he will no longer be on Stars’ ‘Big Game.’ That would blow. I enjoy watching him lose money in cash games and, with Tilt not allowing their players on Stars-sponsored shows, this means he will no longer be donating. Oh right, he wouldn’t be allowed to go on ‘High Stakes Poker’ if they do another season as well.” PokerStars serves as the presenting sponsor of both the Fox’s “Big Game” and GSN’s “High Stakes Poker.”
Another TwoPlusTwo poster felt that signing Hellmuth would be a measured response to PokerStars signing its newest pro, Isildur1: “PokerStars just signed a good cash game player in Isildur1 and now FTP strikes back with Hellmuth as their tournament player. Hellmuth, as much as I hate him, I think FTP would make a wise move in signing him. After that, they’d have biggest names in cash game poker and tournament poker: Ivey and Hellmuth.”
The identity of Isildur1 may be revealed today at 7:00pm ET during the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) in the Bahamas. However, PokerStars officials told Poker News Daily that the announcement could be postponed until Sunday. Some in the poker industry have speculated that Hellmuth may be the man behind the Isildur1 mask, although his meeting with Full Tilt Poker officials will likely squash those rumors.
In an interview with CardPlayer, Hellmuth rattled off several of his possible landing spots: “Certainly I’ll be talking to a lot sites, whether it’s PokerStars, Full Tilt, Bodog, whatever, and there’s going to be a deal out there that makes the most sense to me. I’m not just speaking financially because it’s really important that I also have a good fit with the brand as well.” He added that PokerStars might be a good fit due to its focus on tournaments and “Full Tilt has a lot of my close friends.”
Hellmuth owns a record 11 World Series of Poker bracelets and won the Main Event in 1989 at the tender age of 24. He’s rumored to be a contestant on the upcoming cycle of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars” and recently discovered a machine that sells gold in Downtown Las Vegas. On the latter revelation, Hellmuth gleefully Tweeted, “Wow, Golden Nugget has a machine – one of only a few in the USA – that you can buy gold from using cash or credit cards!” We’re betting that Hellmuth bought several barson the spot.
Stay tuned to Poker News Daily for the latest on this developing story.