Hellmuth Just Got Crushed at His Home Game

3 years ago
Phil Hellmuth Crushed at His Home Game
08:56
24 May

Losing at your home game might leave you open to ridicule from friends, especially if you’ve played terribly, but it rarely leaves you too much out of pocket. For Phil Hellmuth, however, the home-game stakes are much higher - somewhere in the region of $140,000 higher in fact!

The 14-times WSOP bracelet winner might be able to best the world’s top players in big events, but put him up against his friends and apparently he struggles to stay afloat!


“Playing my neighborhood game: currently down $109,000, my personal record. Rough night, so far...” he tweeted last week, in the past having admitted to $32K and $60K losses in single sessions.

Playing my neighborhood game: currently down $109,000, my personal record. Rough night, so far...

— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) 18 May 2016

He continued:

Lost $60,000 in the game recently and played horrible poker. Tonight down $109,000 so far, but haven't been out of control

— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) 18 May 2016

But his current slump amongst friends wasn’t finished, however, as his second tweet arrived:

Worst night I've ever had in Bay Area cash game: lost $140K. So upset that I can't sleep, so headed to 24 Fitness to workout: it's 2:30 AM!

— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) 18 May 2016

It takes a special kind of game and opposition to lose that much money, of course, so just who is Phil chucking his pocket change to?


Well the Bay Area Game he attends is something of a legend in high-stakes poker, with some of Silicon Valley’s most prominent success stories playing, as well as the occasional star of the sporting world.

Phil himself got into the game because of his personal friendship with former Facebook VP Chamath Palihapitiya, and with the usual stakes being $100/200 blinds for NLHE, it’s easy to see how $140,000 can go west rather quickly if you’re off your game or running bad.

Zynga founder Mark Pincus, Yammer Founder David Sacks and Golden State Warrior David Lee all regularly sit down with Hellmuth and Palihapitiya, while Jason Calacanis – the ‘entrepreneur, angel investor, writer, father and talk show host’ – is another high-profile big money participant.

If he’s taking money from big Phil then he has obviously upped his game from his humble poker beginnings.


Back in 2012 he told Pokerlistings, "I started playing poker in New York City, which basically translated into buying in for $40 and buying a lot of scotch. It was basically just coin-flipping. Then I moved to L.A. and everyone was still playing cards but it was a $500 buy-in. I lost like $10,000 the first year. I was absolutely addicted at that point. People took poker seriously and I’m a very competitive guy so I got into it pretty quickly.”

Since then he has played the WSOP Main Event and obviously has a mean home game for practice and advice.

"They're so sharp,” Phil Hellmuth stated back in 2014. “I've played with these guys in the private game for three years and after three years I'm basically losing money and I was like, 'What in the world is going on here?' because I've been crushing everyone in Hold'em my whole life.”

Two years on and big Phil obviously hasn’t worked out the answer –it’s simply that he is the big fish at the table for once.

As Bella Reddy tweeted in response to Phil’s homegame sob-story, “not to be mean but never play cash games ur horrible. Stick to tourney poker only”, and perhaps the lady has a point!


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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more

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