Wednesday, September 22, 2004


It's confession time. I actually LIKE Phil Helmouth. I know he's the "poker brat" and he has a huge ego and he swears a lot. He "misbehaves" when he gets beat.

But there's a lot to like about Phil. He's a damn good poker player. He makes great laydowns that nobody gives him credit for. He's the youngest player ever to win a WSOP main event, he is one of only two people to have 9 WSOP bracelets. (The other one is Doyle "Texas Dolly" Brunson, who won his when there was only a couple of dozen people involved. No disprespect to Dolly, but that's the fact.) He is a tournament specialist. In fact, he's one of the first tournament specialists. Most players make their living at the ring games and play in the tournaments just as a side thing. Players like Chip Reese and Ted Forrest didn't used to play tournaments at all, until they realized they might get their faces on TV.

But these aren't the reasons I like Phil. I like Phil because he says what he's thinking. I learned a lot about poker by watching Phil talk about what he was thinking, or what his opponents are thinking. I got his book, and he basically teaches how to be a tight aggressive player. Play tight until you get the right opportunity, then go hard and fast. He puts priority on premium hands and playing your opponents.

I prefer Phil over players like Erik Seidel, who hate for you to see how he plays. He tries to cover up hole card cameras so people can't tell how he plays. I prefer a player I can learn something from, not one that thinks he's got some kind of secret he has to protect.

The other thing I like about Phil is that he's genuine. He's a genuine flake, but he's genuine.

1 comment:

Heafy said...

Nice post, good to hear another view on Phil.