Phil Hellmuth Defies Odds, Becomes King of The Hill Champion

King of The Hill

White Magic prevails in epic heads-up poker comeback.
Winning call-down eludes Jungleman as Poker Brat claims Poker Night glory.

The world’s all-time leading WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth added yet another accolade to his impressive three-decade poker career Wednesday, defeating ‘Jungleman’ Dan Cates heads-up to become the first-ever Poker Night King of The Hill champion in one of the most memorable televised poker battles in recent history.

The free, six-hour live cast featured its share of big-money strategy, entertaining table banter and accidental four-card flops… but in the end, Hellmuth left Rivers Casino Schenectady with the KOTH title belt, $200,000 USD and newfound respect from thousands of fans who tuned-in to watch the showcase event.

Epic Heads-Up Poker Comeback

The Best-of-3 Finals match witnessed one of the greatest comebacks in televised poker history.

With Hellmuth and Cates tied at one match apiece, the 14-time WSOP bracelet winner affectionately known as the Poker Brat was down to his final $5,800 and seemingly destined for a valiant second-place finish.

Phil Hellmuth down to his final $5,800 (MATCH #3 – $600/$1,200 Blinds)

After surviving a standard “All-in Preflop” situation and clawing his way back to a $35,000 stack, the most memorable hand of the inaugural King of The Hill poker competition occurred.

Dan Cates: $165,100 | Phil Hellmuth: $34,900 | Blinds: $800/$1,600
Dan Cates: Tc-5c | Phil Hellmuth: Qs-Jd | Preflop: Cates Raises to $3,200 – Hellmuth Calls
FLOP: [Td-2c-3d] – Hellmuth Checks – Cates Bets $2,200 – Hellmuth Calls
TURN: Td-2c-3d-[Ts] – Hellmuth Checks – Cates Bets $7,600 – Hellmuth Raises to $19,600 – Cates Calls
RIVER: Td-2c-3d-Ts-[9d] – Hellmuth Bets $9,900 (All-in) – Cates Folds!!!

Upon folding and learning that his opponent had bluffed him off the winning hand, Cates muttered to Phil, “I should’ve listened to the math. I listened to the White Magic (live-read). I’m not a sorcerer, okay?”

“Wait? What? I’m sorry… what just happened?,” reacted Upswing Poker pro Doug Polk from the commentary booth. “Words cannot express the feelings of both of our players here at King of The Hill.”

Approximately 90 minutes later, Phil Hellmuth would become the first-ever King of The Hill champion.

Poker Brat Humble in Victory

Phil Hellmuth hoists King of The Hill title belt

After successfully navigating his way through two of the most highly-regarded heads-up No Limit Hold’em specialists in the world in as many days, $21 million live poker tournament cash prize winner Hellmuth was extremely humble and gracious in victory.

“I just never give up in those spots,” an elated Hellmuth reminded Polk during his winner’s interview. “To be able to make that comeback was very lucky.”

Congratulations to Phil on winning the first-ever Poker Night King of The Hill championship and claiming $200,000 in prize money.

Live poker action continues from Rivers Casino Schenectady this afternoon with $25/$50 No Limit Hold’em cash games on the official @PokerNightTV Twitch channel.

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About the Author

David Huber

David Huber (known as "dhubermex" online) has been involved in the poker industry for more than a decade. He currently assists several poker and gaming entities as a researcher, writer, and consultant. Former Editor-in-Chief & Head Moderator of online tournament rankings site PocketFives (2006-2011).



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