Born in 1964 in Madison, Wisconsin, Phil “Poker Brat” Hellmuth holds the record number of WSOP gold bracelets – a so far unbeaten 14; he is considered one of poker’s most successful ever players. His poker career has, to date, won him nearly $20m; yet he is not the biggest winner in terms of cash prizes. However, he possesses the record for most cash prizes and most final table appearances, and for 20 years was the youngest winner of a WSOP tournament (aged just 24 in 1989).
The year 1993 saw another record for The Poker Brat when we how a record three gold bracelets in a single year, acquiring second place in another tournament in the same year. Hellmuth is nothing if not consistent.
The Poker Brat
Despite his successful career, a series of big wins and an impressive 14 gold bracelets, Hellmuth apparently has a short fuse when he is losing. Though some suspect this is an act, either to play up to the cameras or to lull his opponents into a false sense of security, Hellmuth insists that his outbursts have been genuine. Nevertheless, he has a reputation for a short fuse and called “Poker Brat” because of his temper.
The most notable occasion was on the first Poker After Dark when, during a bad hand, Hellmuth asked fellow players to stop talking while it was his turn. When Hellmuth himself started talking, the others asked him to remain silent so they could carry on their conversation. It elicited chuckles from the table and Hellmuth stormed off only to return later. On other occasions, he has resorted to personal insults and been punished during tournaments. In some cases, the punishment has been overturned.
Hellmuth is married with two children, and presently lives in California; his interests and business ventures go beyond playing the game of poker too. Playing on his Poker Brat personality, he has released a range of clothing and apparel under the same name. He has authored books, created instructional videos, commentated on tournaments and written articles for several high-profile poker magazines. There is at least one mobile app under his name too.
He has taken part in many fundraising tournaments and mixed with some famous names in raising the profile of charitable causes – from the world of politics, screen and American sport. He has been largely active in the Poker Cares philanthropy.