It was a sweet sixteen for Phil Hellmuth at the 2021 World Series of Poker. The all-time WSOP bracelet leader added to his lead on Sunday, Oct. 17, topping a field of 2772 entries to take down the $1,500 buy-in no-limit hold’em deuce-to-seven lowball event. The victory saw Hellmuth earn his record-furthering sixteenth title at the series, along with the first-place prize of $84,851.
Just moments after he took down his sixteenth bracelet, Hellmuth told Card Player that he believes he will another eight bracelets in his career. The 57-year-old Poker Hall of Fame member now has a six-bracelet lead over the nearest competition with this latest victory. Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, and Phil Ivey all have ten bracelets to their name.
“I’ve always said that I’m gonna win 24 bracelets. Then, Ivey said he might win 30. So I readjusted,” said Hellmuth “I just have this weird sense that maybe I’ll win at least 24 bracelets, but they’re not that easy to win in the mixed games.”
Hellmuth’s first eleven bracelets all were all won in hold’em events, including his win in the 1989 WSOP main event. His first non-hold’em victory came in the 2012 $2,500 buy-in razz event. He earned a second razz bracelet in 2015. This latest win was his third bracelet in a non-hold’em event.
“There is a lot of skill in these tournaments,” said Hellmuth. “It’s harder to win the mixed games. If I can win four or five mixed bracelets, I think it’s going to say a lot about my legacy. I think I am playing a bunch of games at a world-class level now. n Omaha eight-or-better, I think I’m going to win bracelets. In seven-card stud, I’m 99 percent and I think I could still get a little bit better. Razz, obviously, I have the best record in razz in history.”
Hellmuth has had an incredible start to this year’s series, cashing in five events and making four final tables through the first third of the series. Three of the final-table finishes have come in championship events, including the $25,000 H.O.R.S.E., the $10,000 Omaha eight-or-better, and the $10,000 seven card stud championship. As a result of his early success, Hellmuth has established himself as a top contender for this year’s WSOP Player of the Year title. When asked if he would chase the award, Hellmuth noted that he has finished as the runner-up three times, and went into great detail about how he narrowly lost out each time in the final days of the series.
“Just the fact that I’m still thinking about it tells you how much [it would mean],” admitted Hellmuth.
Hellmuth also told the gathered press just how much a win in this particular game meant to him.
“I’ve wanted a deuce-to-seven bracelet ever since the 1980s because it was the coolest bracelet to win,” said Hellmuth. “It was the one tournament that Chip [Reese] and Doyle [Brunson] showed up for. All of the big-name poker players, Billy Baxter and all the champions, showed up for that one tournament. It was a $10,000 with rebuys, so they would be in for $50,000. I wanted that bracelet so badly.”
Hellmuth came into the final day of this tournament in second chip position with ten players remaining. He survived to the official final table as one of the leaders. After Jason Lipiner (7th – $10,023) and 2019 WSOP main event runner-up Dario Sammartino (6th – $13,463) hit the rail, Hellmuth had become the short stack. He soon mounted a comeback, winning two key pots with 9-8 lows to to surge back up the leaderboard.
Joshua Faris was the next to fall, with his 10-9-7-4-3 running into the 10-8-6-4-3 of two-time bracelet winner Christopher Vitch. Faris earned $18,421 for his fifth-place showing, while Hellmuth moved one step closer to the title.
Three-time bracelet winner Rep Porter came into the final day as the outright chip leader. He lost a big pot against Jake Schwartz during four-handed action that saw him plummet down the standings. Porter called all-in facing a shove from Schwartz, who had overtaken the lead. Schwartz drew two with 10-7-4 and Porter took one with his Q-10-8-5. Schwartz drew up 2-A to improve to a 10-7, leaving Porter drawing dead. He earned $25,661 for his latest deep run at the series.
Just minutes later Vitch shoved from the small blind and Hellmuth called out of the big blind. Both players drew one card. Hellmuth made a 9-8-7-3-2, which bested the 10-7-6-4-2 of Vitch (3rd – $36,387).
With that, Hellmuth set up a heads-up showdown with Schwartz, who held 3,900,000 to his 3,100,000. Schwartz was able to stretch his advantage to more than a 2:1 lead before Hellmuth mounted a comeback, starting by shoving all-in over the top of a chunky post-draw bet from Schwartz to take down a huge pot without showdown. Hellmuth was able to steadily increase his lead, sitting with more than a 5:1 advantage by the time the two players were sent on dinner break.
It took just a few minutes after action resumed for Hellmuth to close out the win. In the final hand, Hellmuth shoved from the button and Schwartz called off his stack in the big blind. Schwartz drew one and Hellmuth aked for two. Schwartz showed 10-4-3-2 and was facing a 9-8-2 draw. The pair agreed to let Hellmuth sweat his cards first. He picked up a 5 and then a 7, improving to a winning 9-8-7-5-2 low to leave Schwartz drawing dead. Schwartz ended up with a pair of fours and was eliminated as the runner-up, earning $52,502.
Here is a look at the payouts and POY points awarded at the final table:
Here is a look at Hellmuth’s 16 WSOP bracelet wins:
WSOP $10,000 No Limit Hold’em World Championship
WSOP $5,000 Limit Hold’em
WSOP $1,500 No Limit Hold’em
WSOP $2,500 No Limit Hold’em
WSOP $5,000 Limit Hold’em
WSOP $3,000 Pot Limit Hold’em
WSOP $2,000 No Limit Hold’em
WSOP $2,500 Limit Hold’em
WSOP $3,000 No Limit Hold’em
WSOP $1,000 No Limit Hold’em with rebuys
WSOP $1,500 No Limit Hold’em
WSOP $2,500 Seven-Card Razz
WSOP Europe €10,450 No Limit Hold’em Main Event
WSOP $10,000 Seven-Card Razz
WSOP $5,000 No Limit Hold’em
WSOP $1,500 No Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw