Phil Helmuth is once again promoting himself while also trying to make the game seem more fun and inviting to the masses. ESPN has contracted Phil to do a segment on its broadcasts about “white magic.” This goes directly against the kind of image that ESPN has been trying to cultivate that they are more in tune with the more mature poker market and that trying to work with what the internet kids are talking about is the future of poker and what needs to be focused on.
In this video Phil Helmuth explains what “white magic” is and how that will pertain to his segment on ESPN. It really boils down to using his abilities to read people to make what might seem like bad plays to math wizards as he puts it. He uses this “white magic” to justify some of the crazy plays he has been criticized on. Most of us are pretty familiar with the types of folds me makes and how bad they look when crunching the numbers on them.
This segment is sure to have the community deeply divided about its usefulness and if it’s something that really should be encouraged in the poker community. You have the players who think that math is the only way to go and trying to tell people that they can have amazing reading skills just sets poker back. There are also people who think this is just Phil Helmtuh trying to put too much attention on himself once again.
The inverse of those arguments, and ones that I tend to agree with more, is that anything that makes the game more fun and accessible to everyone is something that should be promoted. While many people in the community may not like how Phil acts and think he is immature is moot because of how the general public views him. He doesn’t have many or any scandals in his past, he loves the fans and will do what he has to do make them happy and he isn’t afraid to talk up the game and say things that might not be right. He is one of the best things for the game for just those simple reasons. This latest segment will probably be mocked by a lot of people deeply entrenched in the community, but I would be shocked if it doesn’t resonate with the general poker watching public, and that is what really matter.
Phil is once again going out on that limb to build the game up through having fun. He has cut out the act of acting mean to bad players and has generally matured to a point that he has become a great face for poker. He may not teach the nitty gritty math, but that’s not important when you consider the people he brings into the game with his antics and gimmicks, such as “white magic.”