Phil Hellmuth Turned Down a Poker Game with Michael Jordan

2 weeks ago
Phil Hellmuth Turned Down a Poker Game with Michael Jordan
11 Sep

Phil Hellmuth has revealed that he once turned down the chance to play poker with basketball legend Michael Jordan. The 17-times WSOP bracelet winner said it was simply the right place but at the wrong time but now he regrets not making it happen.

Wrong time, right place

Hellmuth said that he has hung out with Jordan many times in the past but never had the chance to get a game going. The one time Jordan did suggest a challenge match, Hellmuth declined due to not having the funds handy. Looking back, he thinks it was a bit silly not contacting his friends for a stake.

“MJ and I have hung out at a lot of different places, but we’ve never played poker. He challenged me once and I didn’t have a lot of money in town... I was stupid, I should’ve just called my friends.”

Hellmuth also didn’t fancy grinding away until seven in the morning and not being able to get away, probably for fear of being labeled a runner.

NL Badugi is Jordan’s game of choice, which with his bankroll and aggressive style of play can quickly create wild swings.

“He will grind you down, but I’m a little stronger. I’m not some 23-year-old playing his first session with MJ. I would give him an hour notice of course, which is reasonable and he would accept that. Then I would leave.”

Michael Jordan would bet on two flies racing up a wall

Michael Jordan was notorious for his gambling exploits during his playing career. At one point he was charged with betting on NBA games but cleared following an investigation. That said, even if he wasn’t betting on his own sport, he was gambling with pretty much everything else.

In 2007, he wagered $5,000,000 in one night playing craps in Las Vegas alongside NFL star Adam Jones. His golfing bets were also notorious, with Jordan racking up a $1,200,000 debt with writer Richard Esquinas, later coming under fire for threatening the man amidst rumours that he couldn’t pay what was owed.

Jordan’s all-night poker games are another story of legend. Former teammate Charles Barkley once told how Jordan would make outrageous bets to try and buy pots all of the time, knowing that he had more money than any of the other players.

In his defence, Jordan did clarify one time that he doesn’t have a gambling problem; he has a competition problem. In other words, this is a man who hates losing and simply has to win at all costs.

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Mark from London in the UK is a professional cash game player, and part time journalist. A massive chess fan and perpetual traveller.Read more


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