Phil Hellmuth steamrolled his way to victory in Event 5 of PokerGO Tour’s 2023 U.S. Poker Open Wednesday, cutting through a final table that included Cherish Andrews, Darren Elias, Jesse Lonis, and eventual runner-up Jeremy Ausmus.
Hellmuth took home $211,200 for the victory, another milestone in a career full of dozens of records that may never be broken. A career with 16 WSOP bracelets, more than 60 final tables and over 180 cashes but, until this tournament victory, no titles on the PokerGO Tour.
He ended with a flourish on the final hand against Ausmus, as he flopped a flush with and got Ausmus all in with on a board. Ausmus was looking for a club, but got the wrong one on the turn as the [3c] made Helmuth a straight flush and locked up the victory.
A couple of hours after the tournament wrapped, on break from a $15,000 Pot Limit Omaha event Hellmuth jumped into after a short breather, he was candid about how he was feeling in the immediate aftermath.
“Really tired,” Hellmuth said. “You know, I couldn’t decide what to do in between. Do I nap? Or do I play through? Last night, I played through, and we played till 1:30 a.m. I was so tired, I fell asleep at 2:30, and I never fall asleep before 6 or 7 a.m. So [after the quick final table], I thought, ‘Well, if I take a 20-minute, 30-minute nap before the PLO, I might not be able to fall asleep quickly if I make it till 1:30 in the morning again. Right now, I’m wishing I had that nap, but this 20-minute break outside should help me.”
In the afterglow of his victory, Hellmuth was quick to point out how, while a title had technically eluded him, his PGT resume and results of late speak for themselves.
“If you look it up, probably the last 65 tournaments I played, I have 15 top-nines including the biggest events – I’m only talking about the World Series of Poker, and the PokerGO studio here,” Hellmuth said. “Last year, I had three final tables in four days [at the USPO]. And I had a chance to win the all-around Player of the Series going into the $50k, and I finished 10th when I needed to third to lock it up. I didn’t do it. I got tired, which seems to be a common theme for me.”
In talking to Hellmuth, it’s easy to get the sense that he cherishes the opportunities he gets to mix it up with the crowd that a PokerGO Tour event brings to the table. That, despite or in spite of the widely varying reputation he has from player to player in that room.
“The great players know how great I am.”
“The great players know how great I am,” Hellmuth said. “But I think there’s a lot of the medium to high limit high rollers who are like, ‘Oh, Phil’s no good,’ even though I’m always getting there. I mean, how many tournaments have I played at the studio in the last year? That’s 20 tournaments, maybe, maybe less, and I’ve had four cashes, with a first and two seconds.”
After a tenth-place finish earlier on in the 2023 USPO, Hellmuth has put himself right back in the running for Player of the Series for a second straight year. And with the 2023 WSOP right around the corner, it could be one of the last chances he gets to be at the table playing poker before that time. It’s the life that Hellmuth leads these days, and he’s only too happy to rattle off everything else that’s about to be on his plate.
“I have a big trip planned. First, it’s Tokyo, then Seoul. Then I’m going to Houston to open my poker room down there. And then I’m going to film with John Travolta on a movie set in Biloxi. Then I host the then I go to my World Poker Tour job in LA, so it’s a lot of jumping around. Then on the 27th of April, I host a party, and on the 28th I’m supposed to film with [Alexandra] Botez and some famous singer.
“It’s a very full schedule. But I’m very happy to just be focused on tournaments for this little segment of time. I don’t get to play enough events.”