Just say “Poker Brat” to anyone even remotely familiar with poker and they will immediately know who you’re talking about: the legendary Phil Hellmuth.
Hellmuth is notorious for smack talking and being a sore loser, hence his derogatory nickname.
In this article we will cover:
- Phil Hellmuth’s rise to become one of the most talented and prolific poker players today
- The Poker Brat’s success away from the felt
- 12 moments that exemplify the Poker Brat’s brattiness
You certainly won’t want to miss the tirade for the ages from the 2008 World Series of Poker (WSOP) at #1.
The fame and fortune that led to the Poker Brat
This prolific American pro has won a record 14 WSOP bracelets. This includes the 1989 Main Event, when he became the youngest WSOP champion (24 years of age) after a victory over Johnny Chan heads-up: a record that would stand for 20 years.
He currently ranks eighth on the all-time poker money list with his current live tournament winnings exceeding $21.75 million.
While 12 of his bracelets are for Hold’Em, Hellmuth has had success in other games. In fact, nearly half of his final table appearances have been in games such as Omaha (both Pot Limit and Hi-Lo), Seven Card Stud Hi-Lo, 2-7 Lowball, Razz, and mixed games like H.O.R.S.E.
Despite being a tremendous player, Hellmuth’s Poker Brat nickname is certainly well-deserved. For one, he is known to throw tantrums after bad beats and/or when reprimanded for some alleged misdeed. Additionally, he frequently takes his seat at tournaments long after they start. He has also been known for verbally assaulting other players by calling them “stupid” and “idiot” based on their play. And let’s not forget the spewing profanity.
Away from the table
Not unlike most other poker pros, Hellmuth has written a book. Actually, he has penned several:
- Poker Brat: Phil Hellmuth’s Autobiography
- Play Poker Like the Pros
- Phil Hellmuth Presents Read ‘Em and Reap: A Career FBI Agent’s Guide to Decoding Poker Tells
- Bad Beats and Lucky Draws
- Phil Hellmuth’s Texas Hold ‘Em.
Hellmuth has also made a number of instructional poker videos, written articles for Card Player Magazine, created the mobile app Hellmuth’s High-Stakes Hold’Em, and launched his own clothing line, Poker Brat Clothing Co., that features the famous and highly coveted 2016 Phil Hellmuth Aria hat.
Finally, this outrageously ubiquitous pro has been a poker coach and commentator on numerous shows including Bravo’s Celebrity Poker Showdown and Fox Sports Network’s Best Damn Poker Show.
The Poker Brat’s 12 brattiest moments
In order to fully appreciate Hellmuth’s “Poker Brat” moniker, one must witness his tirades, tantrums, and tiffs. Lucky for us, the evidence is everywhere.
Believe me, there were so many from which to choose, but as I have a word count limit. So, after several hours poring over videos, here are my top 12.
12. Ego, me?!
In this National Heads-Up Poker Championship hand against Annette Obrestad, the Poker Brat lets his ego get the better of him after a rather lengthy soliloquy.
11. Poker Brat, The Mouth, and Paul Featherstone
On this episode of Poker after Dark, Hellmuth makes a bad call, but what’s worse than Hellmuth losing this hand is Mike Matusow telling him it was a bad call.
10. He started young
They don’t call Robert Cohen “Le Dangeroux” for nothing. In this blast from the past (Phil Hellmuth looks like he’s just out of diapers), a “misunderstanding” results in a Poker Brat loss and, as would be expected, the gentleman doth protest. Warning: this clip is a bit long, but wait for it.
In this humorous bratty moment, Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari gets the Poker Brat to lay down the best hand and, of course, Hellmuth is forced to whine incessantly about “getting robbed.”
8. Poker Brat versus Kid Poker
Yet again, Hellmuth makes a bad call with mediocre cards yet blames Daniel Negreanu for raising with a better hand. Let the profanities fly in this clip.
7. You’re going home, son
In this National Heads-Up Championship hand, Tom Dwan elimiates Hellmuth. In true Poker Brat form, Hellmuth throws one of his famous tantrums.
6. Hellmuth and Howard
5. All in the family
Keeping it in the Lederer family, take a look at this Poker after Dark hand with Annie Duke that inevitably ends in a tantrum wherein the Poker Brat’s behavior just makes the other players push his buttons even more. The result is not pretty, but it is quite entertaining.
4. Holy moly, Cristian Dragomir
What do you get when you call a pre-flop Phil Hellmuth raise with only a 10, 4? In Dragomir’s defense, his hand was, at least, suited. Anyway, let us travel back in time to the 2008 WSOP and this classic Poker Brat tantrum and name-calling extravaganza.
3. Schooled by the professor
What do you get when you cross pocket 10’s with a suited 10, 7? When the Poker Brat is involved, a temper tantrum in this Poker after Dark hand.
2. They’re bullying me!
When he gets felted not once, not twice, but thrice by David Benyamine, Mike Matusow, and Phil Ivey, in true Poker Brat form, Hellmuth quits the game and storms off. Check it out here.
1. And the winner is…
Let us return once again to the 2008 WSOP and this gem against Adam Levy that you’ll want to watch over and over. Here, we have a Poker Brat rant for the ages. I especially love Norman Chad’s commentary.
Even though Phil Hellmuth may, indeed, be a brat at the table and subject to volatile outbursts, there is no denying he is one of the best poker players out there. What makes his behavior all the more interesting is that he is married to a psychiatrist who Norman Chad calls “a saint and an angel” for putting up with Hellmuth for more than 20 years.
Which of these brattiest Poker Brat moments is your favorite?
Let me know in the comments below!
Until next time.
Read more from Upswing Poker:
- Ultimate Bet and Absolute Poker: What Happened?
- Mid-States Poker Tour Tournaments | MSPT Schedule
- 7 Hands That Sum Up Mike Matusow Perfectly
Natalie Faulk is a Las Vegas-based freelance writer/blogger and the author of several books. She is an avid low-stakes (for now) poker player and huge Vegas Golden Knights fan.