phil hellmuth blows up vs alan keating

Phil Hellmuth BLOWS UP After Semi-Bluff (Analysis)

There’s no doubt that Phil Hellmuth has had a very successful poker career. He tops the all-time WSOP bracelet list with fifteen, a whopping five more than those tied for second (Doyle Brunson, Phil Ivey, and Johnny Chan).

However the “Poker Brat” is perhaps better known for his blow-ups and tirades when he loses a pot. Not to spoil the action, but, this hand is no exception.

That doesn’t mean we can’t improve our poker strategy from analyzing the hand, so let’s dive in!


The hand starts with $100/$200 blinds and an UTG straddle to $400 from Alan Keating.

Action folds to Jennifer Tilly on the button who raises to $1,200 with 6♠ 4♠. Phil Hellmuth is next to act in the SB and calls with A♣ 5♣. The BB folds and Keating decides to squeeze to $4,000 with K 2. Tilly and Hellmuth both call.

Tilly and Keating are both extremely deep, sitting on stacks of $288,000 and $228,000 respectively. Phil Hellmuth has $64,000 behind.


The flop comes 4♣ 5 J and the pot is $12,400. Hellmuth checks in the dark, Keating c-bets $7,000, and both Tilly and Hellmuth make the call.

Phil Helmuth staring down Jennifer Tilly looking for a tell.


The turn is the K♣ making the board 4♣ 5 J K♣ and the pot is $33,400. Hellmuth checks, Alan Keating bets $18,000, Tilly folds, and Hellmuth moves all in for $57,000. Keating makes the call.


They decide to run it twice. The first river is K locking up half the pot for Keating.

After losing half the pot Hellmuth still has hope, and gives Alan a sorta-compliment saying he made a good call.

It’s all good he made a good call, I have a set half the time. Tomorrow when he makes the call he’ll be drawing dead, and he will call.

The second river is the 8, so Keating scoops it all. Hellmuth’s reaction:

F*cking, I know he’s on tilt from the hand before, he makes it 4k before the flop with K2, then he his a miracle king on the turn, he’s so f*cking predictable. I know every hand what Alan has, and he still wins both!

Final Thoughts

There’s some chatter these days about how the poker economy is drying up. With solvers become more accessible and ubiquitous, some worry that no-limit holdem is on its last leg.

It’s good to see hands like this and realize that live poker will be with us for a very, very long time. Even at the highest stakes, with millions of dollars on the tables, mistakes are made almost every hand. When your opponents make mistakes, there’s an opportunity for you to win.

To read more, check out “Tom Dwan’s Aces Up vs a Chinese Billionaire (Analysis).

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Ernest Gorham

Ernest Gorham

California bred writer and poker player you can now find frequenting the London MTT scene.

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