Phil Hellmuth Always Puts on a Show

"I thought I looked really cool when I was in control, and I looked really idiotic when I crashed. Kinda like when I'm playing poker."

While there’s a lot of debate in the poker world about Phil Hellmuth's ranking among the top players, no one argues he isn’t an entertaining player. On or off the felt, Hellmuth is the kind of player that draws attention wherever he goes, not least because he actively seeks it in many cases.

Beyond owning the most World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets any human has ever won, Hellmuth is mostly known for the theater he brings to the poker rooms he plays in. From the beginning of his career, he’s been known as someone who doesn’t suffer a bad beat well, and his epic blowouts became legendary in the poker world.

Hellmuth’s unique combination of skill, luck, and ego came to a head in the mid-2000s when he started his tradition of bigger and bigger entrances to the WSOP Main Event. In 2005 and 2006, he arrived late for the game at the Rio in a limo, but things ramped up in 2007.

Phil Hellmuth planned to arrive in 2007 in this stock car, until this happened the day before.He’d have been forgiven for giving up his entrances after crashing a stock car in the parking lot the day before he was supposed to arrive in it, but he still showed up that year in a racing suit. “I thought I looked really cool when I was in control, and I looked really idiotic when I crashed,” Hellmuth said with a smile while chatting about the experience. “Kinda like when I’m playing poker.”

It was a moment of self-awareness, but from there, it just got weirder. Over the following years, he had turns as a Roman emperor and MMA fighter, among others, to start his Main Event experience, complete with a posse of beautiful women in costume joining him.

The debate about Phil’s play may continue forever, but wherever history lands on his position as a player, it seems clear he will be remembered as perhaps the most entertaining player of his era, and his grand, absurd entrances to the WSOP Main Event are a big part of the reason why. Catch a recap of some of his more absurd entrances in this video from Poker GO.

published 3 months ago • by permalink

Half Price Sunday Sale Pays Off for PokerStars USA

Half Price Sunday draws huge crowds across all US PokerStars markets

People love a bargain, and poker players love big value. This past weekend’s Half Price Sunday at PokerStars scratched those itches with bargain buy-ins attached to big guarantees.

Overall across New Jersey, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, there was $162,000 guaranteed in three feature events per market priced at half their usual value. Almost 4,800 entries across the three states meant there was actually more than $187,000 in prizes handed out.

New Jersey was a big standout for beating guarantees. The games in that state were more than 37% over the guarantees for the Half Price Sunday, with $36,384 collected against $26,500 guaranteed.

The games in PA didn’t best guarantees by nearly that much, but it saw the biggest Half Price prize pool of the weekend. The Half Price Sunday Special in PA piled up almost $80,000 for the biggest prize pool by far.

Get all the details from the pokerfuse rundown.

USA Half Price Sunday Summary

State Michigan New Jersey Pennsylvania Overall
Entries 1583 628 2571 4782
Buy-In $90.00 $162.50 $90.00 $342.50
Guarantee $48,000 $26,500 $87,500 $162,000
Prize Pool $57,065 $36,384 $94,360 $187,808
% Over Gtd 18.88% 37.30% 7.84% 15.93%
Gtd/Buy-In $533.33 $163.08 $972.22 $472.99
Prizes/Buy-In $634.05 $223.90 $1,048.44 $548.35
published 3 months ago • by permalink

Comedian Kevin Hart Gets Serious on Jeff Gross’ Podcast

"Regardless of race, gender, anything, it's a dope thing you can do with eight other people at a table."

Comedian, movie star, and poker fanatic Kevin Hart dropped in on fellow partypoker ambassador Jeff Gross' podcast recently to chat about poker and life. For a man renowned for his comedy timing and “always-on” personality, Hart gives a remarkably thoughtful and serious interview.

In this compilation of clips from a longer interview Hart mentions how the Covid lockdown gave him a great chance to spend more time with family, and he realized that he hadn’t always put family first. “I was married to my career, dating my family. That has to be the reverse.”

On his love for the game of poker, Hart pointed to the inclusivity of the game as a main attraction. “Regardless of race, gender, anything, it’s a dope thing you can do with eight other people at a table,” he said. “So I, for one, think that’s amazing.”

If you’re used to Hart’s brash public persona, always ready with the loud quip, this interview will be a nice change of pace, showing a side of the comedian that isn’t always on display in other public settings.

Check out the clips below for a nice look into the mind Kevin Hart.

published 3 months ago • by permalink

Koon and Imsirovic in Mental Battle on PokerGO

The most recent video from PokerGO on YouTube sees Ali Imsirovic puts Jason Koon in an uncomfortable spot.

The recent PokerGO Cup was the scene of some amazing high-level poker, and the most recent hand posted to YouTube by the poker broadcaster is a great example. In the hand from the end-game of Event #2, Jason Koon is put to the test after a three-bet pre-flop was flat-called by Ali Imsirovic.

It’s the sort of “standard spot” that happens multiple times per game in poker, but Koon and Imsirovic show how much of poker is a pure mental game that has less to do with the cards than it does with the players involved. Koon seems to know exactly where he is, despite some inspiring play from Imsirovic after he flopped top-top with a dominated ace. Can Koon find a way to get rid of from the suited slick?

This is a great example of great poker minds battling at the highest level the premier broadcaster in the poker world, Poker GO. Check out the full hand at the link below, and watch Koon squirm post-flop as he tries to work out what’s going on.

published 3 months ago • by permalink

Stranger Things Star David Harbour Reminisces About Real Rounders

Harbour, who also stars in Marvel's Black Widow, was on First We Feast, and dished out on his time playing underground poker in New York City with the writers of Rounders.

Stranger Things and Black Widow star David Harbour took the wing challenge during a recent interview with online magazine First We Feast. The popular online magazine challenges interviewees to eat increasingly hotter and hotter wings while they answer questions.

While the conversation was wide-ranging, host Sean Evans got right to business quickly around the 5:32 when he asked Harbour about his time playing underground poker in New York as a younger man. During the discussion, Harbour talked about how similar the movie Rounders was to real life, and confirmed why.

“Those guys who wrote that movie, I used to play with,” he said, confirming playing with Rounders writers David Levien and Brian Koppelman in the clubs that later formed the backdrop for what is widely considered the best poker movie of all time. Catch the whole interview at the link below, and find out whether Harbour thinks John Malkovich looks like the real KGB.

published 3 months ago • by permalink

Busquet and Polk Get Into it Over Cheating

Friends and heads-up gurus Doug Polk and Olivier Busquet got into a heated discussion on Twitter, then got together on Polk's podcast to hash it out.

Both Doug Polk and Olivier Busquet are considered among the best heads-up players to ever play the game, and over the years they’ve developed a friendship. That relationship was put to the test on Twitter recently Busquet lashed out at the use of pre-flop charts in the recent match between Polk and Daniel Negreanu.

The two got into it a bit after Polk called him out for going “agro” on Twitter. There was a bit of a frank back and forth on Twitter between the friends before they decided to get together to talk it out on the podcast.

If you are looking for fireworks, you will be disappointed, but if you are looking for a great analysis on the use of charts and various levels of real-time assistance (RTA), you’ll be on the edge of your seat. These two know their poker, and understand all the details, but are able to relate it easily to the average viewer.

In the end, they realize there’s a lot of grey when it comes to the idea of “assistance” in poker, and both admit hard and fast positions on either end of the spectrum are probably going to fail under stress. Check out the whole discussion at the link below and see where you land on discussion.

published 3 months ago • by permalink

PA Residents Get Chances to Win Bracelets from their Couch

With the full launch of WSOP PA last week, the operator announced an eight-bracelet series for August for its newest market.

Last week, WSOP.com opened its first poker room outside the NJ/NV/DE multi-state network that operates as WSOP/888poker US Network, jumping into the fray in Pennsylvania. The room went into soft-launch phase on July 12 as a segregated player pool of just PA residents.

That meant the new PA players weren’t eligible for the huge bracelet series ongoing on the NJ/NV portion of the WSOP/888poker US Network. However, as the site fully opened, the operator announced a PA-specific Gold Bracelet series that puts eight bracelets on offer for Keystone state players.

WSOP 2021 at a Glance

Series Location Start Date End Date Bracelet/Ring Events
WSOP Online Domestic WSOP.com NJ + NV July 1 August 1 33 Bracelets
WSOP Online International GGPoker August 1 September 12 33 Bracelets
WSOP Las Vegas ME Satellites Both August 1 October 1 -
WSOP Online Domestic WSOP.com PA August 8 August 15 8 Bracelets
WSOP Online Domestic WSOP.com MI TBD TBD TBD
WSOP Live 2021 Rio September 30 November 23 88
WSOP Live Main Event Rio November 4 November 17 1 Bracelet
WSOPE 2021 King’s Resort November 19 December 8 15

The eight extra bracelets in PA put the total for 2021 up to 177 bracelets now, as 169 were already planned in the various versions of online and live events. The 2021 bracelet count likely won’t stop there either, as there are plans to open another room in Michigan before the end of the year, and WSOP.com plans to offer bracelet events there as well when it opens

Assuming the Michigan series looks similar to PA, that would put the 2021 total at 185 bracelets, the largest haul for any year to date. The latest series in PA gets underway on August 8 and runs through August 15.

WSOP PA Bracelet Series Schedule Details

Tournament Buy-in Date
WSOP Gold Bracelet #1 No Limit Hold’em Keystone Kick Off Multi Flight Day 1C $500 August 8
WSOP Gold Bracelet #2 No Limit Hold’em PKO $500 August 9
WSOP Gold Bracelet #3 No Limit Hold’em High Roller $3,200 August 10
WSOP Gold Bracelet #4 No Limit Hold’em 6-Max $400 August 11
WSOP Gold Bracelet #5 No Limit Hold’em Lucky 7’s $777 August 12
WSOP Gold Bracelet #6 No Limit Hold’em PKO $400 August 13
WSOP Gold Bracelet #7 No Limit Hold’em MonsterStack $600 August 14
WSOP Gold Bracelet #8 No Limit Hold’em PA Championship Multi Flight Day 1C $1,000 August 15
published 3 months ago • by permalink

Carlos Welch Wins Bracelet, Goes House Shopping for his Mother

Popular player and media personality Carlos Welch joins Dara and David on The Lock-In after epic bracelet win.

PokerNews writer and regular contributor to the Thinking Poker podcast Carlos Welch is on top of the poker world this week after winning his first bracelet in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) 2021 Online series currently running in New Jersey and Nevada. After outlasting the field of 782 entries in the Crazy Eights game for almost $125,000, Welch stopped in on the gentlemen from Unibet with an appearance on The Lock-In.

For a show that is often more of a conversation between friends than a true interview show, this edition of The Lock-In is even more of a case of friends getting together for a laugh. The warmth between the three is clearly on display through the whole episode, with hosts Dara and David speaking very highly of Welch. While they were discussing the glut of current bracelets and the possibility they might be “devalued”, O’Kearney didn’t directly answer the point, but noted that regardless, Welch’s bracelet would never have an asterisk beside it, because of his integrity and character.

Perhaps the most interesting exchange came when the three were discussing Welch’s plans for the winnings. Welch expressed appreciation at the idea that so many in the poker world supported his win, since the money won’t be going back into the poker world. “I’m house shopping for my mom,” he said of his plans for the prize money.

It was a poignant moment that showed why Welch stands out in the poker world. Catch the whole discussion on The Chip Race Youtube channel at the link below.

published 3 months ago • by permalink