For the first time since 2019, we are actually talking about preparations for the 2021 World Series of Poker. With the move to a new broadcast outlet with CBS, they are certainly doing their part to promote not only the upcoming WSOP but also the players that people watch. One of those players is none other than former World Champion Phil Hellmuth, who sat down with CBS’ Brent Brookhouse to discuss the upcoming WSOP and Hellmuth’s place in poker history.
Hellmuth Lays Claim to GOAT Status…With the Goods to Show for It
During the run of the inaugural PokerGO Cup, Brookhouse was able to get Hellmuth (who has never been shy of a microphone) to comment on his place in the history of the game. “I have earned the title of GOAT (Greatest of All-Time) in poker tournaments,” Hellmuth boldly states to Brookhouse. “I may lose that title in five years, 10 years, or 30 years, but I hope to retain it. 99% of the poker world feels I have earned that title.”
Hellmuth did show some modesty, at least for a bit, in his conversation with Brookhouse. “I am not saying I am the greatest No Limit Hold’em tournament player today,” Hellmuth is quoted as saying. “However, I want the chance to prove I am alongside some amazing young talent. When it comes to all-around poker tournament greatness in 2021, there is a compelling argument that I am right in there.”
While this may seem to be just the usual braggadocious patter from the 15-time WSOP bracelet winner (five more than second place Phil Ivey, Doyle Brunson, and Johnny Chan), Hellmuth has the receipts to back up his rhetoric. Among those 15 bracelet wins are his 1989 World Championship and his 2012 championship at the World Series of Poker Europe. That makes him the ONLY player to pull that exacta. Additionally, Hellmuth also holds records at the WSOP for the number of cashes (148, courtesy of The Hendon Mob database), the number of final tables (64), the number of runner-up finishes in WSOP events (11), and the number of fourth to ninth place finishes at the WSOP (35).
Look For Hellmuth to be Active at the 2021 WSOP
Hellmuth stated to Brookhouse that he is targeting the Razz events for earning Bracelet #16. “Reading abilities are premium (in a razz tournament),” Hellmuth opined, “but math and general game theory are also important.” In perhaps a throwdown to the denizens of the No Limit game, Hellmuth boasted, “I can win any No Limit Hold’em tournament on any given day.” He also stated he would be targeting the mixed game events, noting that he had strong final table finishes in two H.O.R.S.E. events during the 2019 running of the WSOP.
With this in mind, we may see Hellmuth come out of the gate quick for the 2021 WSOP. September 30 is one of the first high-dollar events on the WSOP schedule, the $25,000 H.O.R.S.E. tournament that follows up the start of Event #1, the $500 Casino Employees Tournament. With his confidence in the mixed game format, it would be a likely place to see Hellmuth enter the WSOP fray for his bracelet hunt.
After that, it gets a bit murky as to Hellmuth’s next shot at the gold. Event #6, the $25,000 Eight Handed High Roller tournament on October 2, could draw some interest from the “Poker Brat,” but the more likely candidate would be on October 5. The $25,000 Heads Up No Limit Hold’em Championship would be right in Hellmuth’s wheelhouse, especially after his dominance in heads-up matches against Antonio Esfandiari in 2020 and Daniel Negreanu earlier this year.
The 2021 WSOP is just around the corner (we hope), and it is obvious that Hellmuth is just as hungry as ever.