CasinoCityTimes.com

Gurus
News
Newsletter
Author Home Author Archives Author Books Send to a Friend Search Articles Subscribe
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Related Links
Recent Articles
Best of Dan Podheiser

Gaming Guru

author's picture
 

Top 10 moments from Phil Hellmuth's Reddit AMA

18 September 2015

The world changed forever on Thursday, Sept. 17 at 11 p.m. EST, when the Internet was put under the spell of "White Magic."

Phil Hellmuth's highly anticipated Reddit AMA ("ask me anything") was everything the poker community could have hoped for. The 14-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner was open and candid throughout the process, providing insight into the life of the "Poker Brat" that many fans had never had before.

Hellmuth is certainly one of the most interesting characters in the poker world, known for both his incredible resume and his brash, idiosyncratic nature (sure, that's what we'll call it) at the table. But by most accounts, he's a genuinely good-hearted person who means well, even if his persona doesn't come off that way on television.

The AMA, which will last through Sunday, Sept. 20, was an absolute delight to read. Here are the top 10 moments from Thursday night's Q&A session. (Hellmuth answered most of the questions Thursday night and stopped by periodically throughout the weekend to answer more – this column only highlights the top moments from the first night).

10. Responding to name-dropping criticism with a name drop

This is brilliant and pure Hellmuth. After someone criticizes his "constant name dropping on Twitter" as "annoying," Hellmuth defends himself, saying, "When you're lucky enough you hang out w great people, are you NOT supposed to talk about it?"

Hellmuth then provides an example to illustrate how often he hangs out with "cool people," letting everyone know he is going to be an MC for President Bill Clinton's charity poker tournament over the weekend. Amazing.

9. Ignoring a question to plug himself

Hellmuth is asked a question of which many poker fans would likely find his answer particularly interesting: "Who in your opinion are the 5 best no limit hold em tournament players right now?" The Reddit user then asks Hellmuth an irrelevant follow-up question about which three golf courses every golfer should play.

Hellmuth completely ignores the first question, and instead of directly answering the second, less interesting question, he uses this as an opportunity to plug his upcoming interview with Golf Digest. He then mentions three great courses he's recently played, but doesn't actually answer the second question, either.

8. Norm MacDonald is indeed Canadian

I don't know why I found this to be so funny, but in describing his relationship with actor/comedian/recreational poker player Norm MacDonald, Hellmuth casually and ominously mentions at the end that MacDonald is from Canada.

"Norm and I just seem to have hit it off well from day one, although we don't see each other very often. I live in Bay Area, he lives in LA, and were both busy. Nice guy! Canadian..."

There are so many thoughts running through my head about what went through Hellmuth's mind before he typed that last bit. Maybe he was just informing the readers that MacDonald is Canadian as an aside? But why the ellipsis? It's almost as if he's insinuating that MacDonald is Canadian, and therefore we should all know something about him that doesn't even need to be said.

I'm Dan. I work at Casino City, enjoy playing basketball, love my dog and drink a lot of beer. I'm also from New Jersey . . .

7. Mike Matusow update

Someone asks where Mike Matusow has been, which is a good question – where has he been? I can personally attest to seeing "Mike the Mouth" play during Day 1A of the WSOP Main Event this summer, but other than that, I hadn't heard anything about him for at least a few years.

According to Hellmuth, Matusow survived a life-threatening surgery on his back recently, but is still playing high-stakes poker, mostly in San Diego. You have to wonder if he's playing on his own dime, though.

6. How Phil got his start

I knew Hellmuth was from Wisconsin and got his start playing games in his home state, but what I didn't know was that he played in a game with two of his professors from the University of Wisconsin, in addition to psychiatrists, doctors and lawyers, all at the age of 20.

That's kind of like how I got my start in poker, except instead of playing against esteemed professionals, I played with neighborhood bums in underground games around Philadelphia and South Jersey.

5. Kevmath's Ultimate Bet questions

Poker information legend Kevin Mathers asked Hellmuth some tough questions about his time with Ultimate Bet and his role in the site's major scandals, which saw many players' bankrolls stolen by the site.

Hellmuth's response was extensive but didn't exactly answer the questions. And he said that players who were affected by the super-user scandal were paid back, though many are still owed money after the site shut down in the wake of Black Friday. Hellmuth's response was "downvoted" so many times that it doesn't even show up in the AMA anymore.

I think it's reasonable to assume that Hellmuth was an innocent party throughout the Ultimate Bet scandal, but made some unwise choices by continuing to promote the site and collect a paycheck from them despite their obvious wrongdoings. And though it could be construed as somewhat insulting to players that he would say that everyone was paid back, I personally think he's just naïve about the whole situation.

4. Not as sharp as Sherlock Holmes

Hellmuth says he "sees things in everyday life that others do not," but acknowledges that he's not as sharp as the characters on "The Mentalist" or "Sherlock Holmes."

First of all, it's hilarious to me that Hellmuth watches these trashy CBS shows. Secondly, his making those references makes me believe that he often thinks to himself, "Man, if only I were as smart as that guy from 'The Mentalist.'"

This is the kind of stuff you will only get in a Reddit AMA with Phil Hellmuth. I told you that you wouldn't be disappointed.

3. I can't believe he answered this question

Yeah, I'm not going to go into any detail here. Just click the link and enjoy. Possibly NSFW (if your boss has eyes like a hawk).

2. The Sam Grizzle story

If you don't remember, one of the highlights of ESPN's 2003 WSOP Main Event broadcast was the constant battle between Hellmuth and Sam Grizzle. If there's ever a name that accurately describes the persona of a poker player, it's "Sam Grizzle." He is literally one of the grizzliest, slimiest old degenerates in the game.



Anyway, at one point Norman Chad mentions that the tension between Hellmuth and Grizzle stemmed from a fight the two had gotten in at some point years before. I had never heard the details of that fight, but Hellmuth conveyed them in the AMA:

"Sam Grizzle!?! Sam has always been one of the funniest guys in the poker world: huge personality! One day he asked me to save him a seat in a game while he went to eat. After 90 minutes, I made the casino stop taking his $9 every 30 minutes, cause so much time had passed, AND then he shows up and the game is full, DOH! So he wants to fight me...I say, well you better do it this week while my back is out, and suddenly I'm in my first and only fist fight ive ever had in the poker world! We both land punches, but next day not a mark on either of us (BEST FIGHT EVER cause no one was hurt)."

1. He's still an "avid boatsman"

Hellmuth or not, this photo is amazing.

Hellmuth or not, this photo is amazing.

I'll just leave this here.

NOTE: This photo is not actually of Phil Hellmuth, but it quickly became a meme in the poker world four years ago, thanks to a lengthy (and very entertaining) thread on twoplustwo.
Top 10 moments from Phil Hellmuth's Reddit AMA is republished from Online.CasinoCity.com.
Dan Podheiser

Dan Podheiser has covered the gambling industry since 2013, but he has been an avid poker player for more than a decade, starting when he was just 14 years old. When he turned 18, he played online poker regularly on U.S.-friendly sites until Black Friday in April 2011.

Since graduating from Emerson College with a degree in journalism in 2010, Dan has worked as the sports editor for a chain of newspapers in Northwest Connecticut and served a year as an Americorps*VISTA, writing and researching grant proposals for a Boston-based charity.

Originally from South Jersey, where he still visits occasionally to see his family (and play on the state's regulated online poker sites), Dan lives in Brighton, Mass. with his wife and dog.
Dan Podheiser
Dan Podheiser has covered the gambling industry since 2013, but he has been an avid poker player for more than a decade, starting when he was just 14 years old. When he turned 18, he played online poker regularly on U.S.-friendly sites until Black Friday in April 2011.

Since graduating from Emerson College with a degree in journalism in 2010, Dan has worked as the sports editor for a chain of newspapers in Northwest Connecticut and served a year as an Americorps*VISTA, writing and researching grant proposals for a Boston-based charity.

Originally from South Jersey, where he still visits occasionally to see his family (and play on the state's regulated online poker sites), Dan lives in Brighton, Mass. with his wife and dog.