Anybody who thought that Phil Hellmuth isn’t the poker player he once was has to be eating a whole lot crow right now. One of the game’s greatest players went five years between his 11th and 12th WSOP bracelets, only winning the latter a few months ago at the 2012 WSOP in Las Vegas. Well, it didn’t take Hellmuth that long to win bracelet no. 13 after taking down the just-concluded 2012 WSOP Europe Main Event, winning €1,022,376 in the process.
With his WSOPE Main Event title, Hellmuth becomes the first and only poker player to win the WSOP Main Event and the WSOPE Main Event. Yet another feather in the cap for the Hall of Famer.
It certainly wasn’t easy for the Poker Brat, who had to outlast 420 players en route to winning the Main Event. By Day 5, the field was down to the final table where Hellmith entered as the chip leader with 3,434,000 in chips, followed closely by Sergii Baranov with 3,339,000 in chips. The two chip leaders took turns eliminating the rest of the field with Baranov taking down short-stacked Jason Mercier, followed by Hellmuth doing the same to Stephane Girault. The duo took a break from busting the competition, allowing Joseph Cheong to bust out Paul Tedeschi in fifth place. Cheong’s triumph was short-lived, though, as Baranov went back to work, eliminating Cheong and setting a three-way battle royale between himself, Hellmuth, and Stephane Albertini.
The remaining trio lasted almost two hours on the table, trading chips and barbs along the way. But all that changed when Hellmuth scored an improbable back-door to eliminate Albertini from the tournament and give himself a commanding chip lead over Baranov. Sensing his 13th WSOP bracelet was on its way, Hellmuth turned up the aggression on Baranov, raising a majority of Baranov’s bets and enticing him to call. That call happened when Baranov moved all-in on an As4c hand only to be called by Hellmuth and his Ah10d hand.
With the board showing Jd9h5h- Ad-3c, Hellmuth had his 13th WSOP bracelet and equally important, the lead in the WSOP Player of the Year race. The only person that can overtake Hellmuth at this point is Greg Merson, who has to win the WSOP Main Event later this month to do so.