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Phil Hellmuth Puts on Vintage Performance at WPT Borgata Winter Open

Phil Hellmuth

Phil Hellmuth picked up his first major win of 2019 by taking down a special heads-up event at the WPT Winter Open Festival at Borgata in Atlantic City this week.

Hellmuth outlasted 64 players to take down $37,248 in Borgata Event 16 $1,590 Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em. The event attracted some poker elite competition including the likes of Olivier Busquet, Joe McKeehen, Anthony Zinno, Alex Queen and Athanasios Polychronopoulos.

The 15-time WSOP bracelet winner got the best of New York-based grinder Joseph Cappello in the final heads-up match of the tournament.

Hellmuth wasn’t finished in Atlantic City, however. The iconic poker pro immediately registered for the WPT Borgata Main Event and made a deep run that saw him finish in 102nd place for $7,176 yesterday.

First Cash for Hellmuth Since 2018 WSOP

Although Phil Hellmuth remains one of the most famous poker pros in the world, he hasn’t exactly been the most prolific player over the last few years.

Hellmuth always performs well at the WSOP in Las Vegas but he’s been mostly absent from the other major tours such as the WPT and EPT. He’s also spent a great deal of time promoting his book #Positivity.

The heads-up tournament represented Hellmuth’s first cash of 2019 and his first victory since last summer.

Hellmuth put in a solid performance at the WSOP this summer that included eight cashes. One of those cashes was his record-setting 15th WSOP bracelet victory when he took down $485,082 in the $5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em event with 30-minute levels.

The poker world may see a little more of the Poker Brat over the next year, however, as Hellmuth has said he plans to refocus on the game in 2019.

While Hellmuth hasn’t had the same success as some of his peers in high-roller tournaments, he still has an innate ability to cut his way through massive fields of players.

Here’s a look at Hellmuth’s total tournament earnings over the last decade according to HighStakesDB:

YearEarnings
2018$684,190
2017$1,133,311
2016$1,669,246
2015$1,028,128
2014$303,604
2013$485,138
2012$4,394,823
2011$1,652,521
2010$427,656
2009$177,243

Hellmuth Still Missing WPT Title

One of the more interesting stats about Phil Hellmuth is that although he has 15 WSOP bracelets, he has never won a World Poker Tour title.

It’s not as if he hasn’t been close either as he’s made the final table of five different WPT events but never managed to close one out.

Hellmuth’s closest call on the WPT came in the 2017 Legends of Poker event where he finished runner-up to local grinder Artur Papazyan. Hellmuth earned $364,370 for his efforts but ultimately fell short of the coveted WPT title. He said earlier this year that he’s going to put a much bigger effort into winning a WPT title and would like to take down at least four of them before his career is complete.

Despite his close calls on the WPT, Hellmuth remains one of the biggest all-time winners in poker with $22.8 million in lifetime live tournament earnings.

The Poker Brat busted from this year’s WPT Borgata Main Event when he flopped top pair with J-9 but had his opponent hit a set of treys. Hellmuth said he should have gotten away from the hand but was tilted from a previous hand where his pocket queens ended up getting cracked by a rivered straight.

At the time this article was published, there were still 27 players remaining in the 2019 WPT Borgata Winter Open. The event attracted a total of 1,415 entries and will award a $728,430 first-place prize.