Olivier Busquet Disses Phil Hellmuth

4 years ago
Phil Hellmuth Olivier Busquet
10:33
16 Jun

A controversy erupted on social media when Olivier Busquet questioned the appropriateness of Phil Hellmuth extending a word of thanks to the Aria when accepting WSOP bracelet no. 14.

Hellmuth won his 14th WSOP title at Event # 17 about a week ago, the $10,000 Razz Championship, besting a field of 103 and taking home $271,105. Of his 14 WSOP victories, it was the Poker Brat's second bracelet in a non-hold'em event.

In accepting his new bracelet over the weekend, which he plans to donate to the family of a recently deceased friend, Hellmuth thanked Aria for being his sponsor "and taking really good care of me."

That prompted Busquet to speak out on Twitter, calling it "inappropriate and disrespectful" that Hellmuth would "use that moment/opportunity to make a shrewd business decision." As you might expect, a number of players tweeted responses, backing Hellmuth and telling Busquet that the Poker Brat did absolutely nothing wrong.

Poker, and just about every other sport, as well as the entertainment industry that includes music and film, is all about sponsorships and giving thanks to those who helped in making an award or achievement possible.

The controversy then gained some traction over on 2 + 2 where the vast majority of posters said that Busquet was out of line, to put it mildly. Many were of the opinion that Busquet was a fine one to talk regarding shameless promotion, considering that he and his buddy Dan Colman used the final table at the EPT Barcelona Super High Roller last summer to support Palestine in its conflict with Israel. Busquet and Colman proudly wore T-shirts that read "Save Gaza" and "Free Palestine."

Photo: Neil Stoddart, PokerStars Blog

So Busquet thinks its OK to use the big stage to make a political statement, but not to simply thank a sponsor? There are untold number of poker players who would jump through hoops for sponsorship deals, as there simply are not enough to go around. Poker needs more sponsors!

Speaking of Colman, you'll remember that he chose not to give any thanks upon capturing the Big One for One Drop for $15.3 million last year. He shunned the press after winning the title, and later stated that "I don’t owe poker a single thing."

Just a few months later, Colman called Hellmuth "spineless" and "pathetic," put off by the way - in his mind - that Hellmuth is "willing to take any sponsorship regardless of the company's integrity. Hey, anything for a payday!"

That wasn't the end of Colman's tirade, as he also called it "embarrassing that we have to share our profession with whores like this guy."

Colman later apologized for those remarks, but it has now become clear how he and his buddy Busquet feel about sponsorships in general, and Hellmuth in particular. Their bashing of the Poker Brat continues, wrongly I might add, as Hellmuth - love him or hate him - is one of poker's best ambassadors. Phil is doing his ultimate best to promote the game of poker, while Colman and Busquet appear to be wanting to tear it down.


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Charles is a Chicago native and long time poker player who dusted off his journalism degree and began writing about poker following the events of Black Friday in 2011. He has written for a number of leading poker websites, offering his insights and expertise on subjects ranging from online poker leg...Read more

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