We’re down to the Elite Eight in our contest to crown the most memorable televised poker hand in history. It is clear that our fans love Phil Hellmuth as he has made it in three video featured in the Elite Eight. Phil Ivey, Jean-Robert Bellande, Michael Mizrachi and Tom Dwan are also in contention for the final four.
Check out our Elite Eight matches below and how each video has performed thus far. Finally, cast your vote for who you think should be in our Final Four.
Everybody Loves Hellmuth
You voters surely love your Phil Hellmuth. Both videos in this Elite Eight match feature the 14-time WSOP bracelet winner. Overall, Hellmuth is in three Elite Eight videos. As producers have known for years, Hellmuth = ratings.
The first video is the confrontation between the “King of Suckouts” Earnest Wiggins and Hellmuth. This video beat a pair of solid contenders to make the Elite Eight. First, the King of Suckouts had to beat the King of Slowrolls, the late Jack Ury. The first round match was a close one, squeaking through with 54% of the vote.
The Sweet 16 match against Filippo Candio’s “Suckgasm” was a lopsided affair. Wiggins suckouts drew 75% of the vote against Candio and put Wiggins and Hellmuth in the final eight.
Our other video featuring Hellmuth is his confrontation against Mike Matusow on High Stakes Poker. In the opening round, it beat out “Dan Colman’s Interesting Fact” in a landslip. Hellmuth’s bluff took 79% of the vote.
The Sweet 16 match was one of our closest in this contest. Carter Gill’s epic Poker Face video easily moved on to Round 2 but Hellmuth putting Mike Matusow on tilt proved too popular. Hellmuth’s bluff got through on the slimmest of margins, earning 52% of the vote.
The question now remains which Hellmuth video deserves to move on to the final four. Will it be the King of Suckouts or Hellmuth’s Bluff? To recap, the King of Suckouts features a scene from the PokerStars Big Game back in 2010 between Hellmuth and Wiggins.
Wiggins got all his money into the middle with pocket kings against Hellmuth’s set of nines. Hellmuth offered to run it multiple times and eventually the two agreed to run it four times. Most would expect Wiggins to win one of the four runouts and if he got really lucky, maybe two. Nobody, especially Hellmuth, expected Wiggins to win three out of four to take 3/4 of the pot and leave Hellmuth steaming.
In our other video, Phil Hellmuth runs a rare televised bluff against Mike Matusow on High Stakes Poker. The 7-2 game is on and Hellmuth gets 7-2 against Mike Matusow’s pocket kings. The pivotal moment came on the river when Hellmuth makes a big bet with total air. Matusow is convinced that Hellmuth wouldn’t big bet bluff there and folds. What ensues next is comic gold as Matusow goes on tilt at Hellmuth’s expense.
Phil Hellmuth is guaranteed to move to the Final Four, but which video will he be featured in? It’s up to you to decide whether it is the King of Suckouts or Hellmuth’s Bluff. Vote Now!
All the World’s a Bluff
The game of NL Texas Hold’em is a game where a player must be skilled at bluffing if they hope to stay successful over the long term. In this Elite Eight match, we get a pair of bluffs from two of the game’s finest – Tom “durrrr” Dwan and Phil Ivey.
The first video comes from High Stakes Poker and features a big bluff from Tom Dwan versus Barry Greenstein and Peter Eastgate. This video had an interesting road through the Impressive bracket. In the first round, it faced off against Vanessa Selbst’s impressive call during a PCA High Roller. Dwan ran away with the win in the first round, earning 72 percent of the vote.
In the Sweet 16, he had a stiffer challenge in the monster laydown from Roberto Romanello during the 2008 Main Event. Fans liked Dwan’s bluff just a bit more than Romanello’s laydown as Dwan eeked through with 53% of the vote. Tom Dwan’s popularity coupled with the fact that he made his play against two of the game’s finest players attributed to this video moving to the Elite Eight.
Phil Ivey made the Elite Eight, but it wasn’t easy. First, he had to survive a tough challenge from Isaac Haxton in the opening round. Haxton performed a similar bluff as Ivey during the 2007 PCA Main Event but it was Ivey that moved through the first round. Ivey and his wicked stare earned 54% of the vote.
During the Sweet 16, Ivey faced off against “The Greatest Canadian Hero Call” of Henry Van Tran during the 2012 Main Event. While the hero call was impressive, it didn’t quite live up to Ivey shoving all-in with air against someone holding worse air. Ivey won with 58% of the vote.
This Elite Eight match should be a close match between two of the games most popular players. In the first video, we have Tom Dwan and his impressive bluff against Barry Greenstein and former Main Event Champion Peter Eastgate.
The pot started as a family affair with several players seeing the flop. At one point, Greenstein had aces-up and Eastgate a set of deuces. Amazingly, Dwan was able to push both players off their hands. That’s why he’s Tom Dwan and the rest of us watch from the rail.
Of course, there are few players of the caliber of Phil Ivey. During the 2005 Monte Carlo Millions, he gets into a big confrontation heads-up against Paul Jackson. Jackson starts raising with air and Ivey starts playing back against him also holding absolute air. Ultimately, Jackson has to face the stare and an all-in bet for his tournament life. It is the ultimate game of chicken and Jackson blinks.
So who moves on to the Final Four? Dwan or Ivey? Who is the better bluffer? Vote here to decide!
These Guys Were Rivered Off the Island
Doyle Brunson says that the worst day of the year is being knocked out the WSOP Main Event. Jean–Robert Bellande and Motoyuki Mabuchi both took brutal beats to end their respective Main Events in 2008 and they both made the Elite Eight in this contest.
There are some, myself included, that think that Jean-Robert Bellande’s elimination wasn’t really “Shocking” enough to be put into the Shocking bracket. Despite our objections, he’s been a “survivor” (pun intended) and is in the Elite 8.
Bellande had to survive against one of poker’s pivotal moments in the opening round. He faced off against Chris Moneymaker’s suckout against Phil Ivey in the 2003 Main Event. While Moneymaker’s suckout helped set the stage for his ultimate win, its shock value has clearly worn off over the years. Bellande moved through with 53% of the vote.
In the Sweet 16, Bellande did something he rarely does in real life – beat Phil Ivey. Ivey’s mucked flush during the 2009 Main Event was surprising but apparently not shocking enough to move Ivey to the Elite 8 in this bracket. Bellande advanced with 58% of the vote.
The question now remains which knockout will go on to the final four. Jean-Robert Bellande was all-in with A-Q during the 2008 Main Event and called by 10c-9s of Sarkis Akopyan. Even after flopping an ace, Bellande wasn’t comfortable. He proved clairvoyant as the turn and river gave Akopyan runner-runner straight and knocked Bellande out the Main Event.
At least Bellande cashed that year. Poor Motoyuki Mabuchi suffered the worst possible beat to be knocked out during one of the early days of the Main Event. After flopping trip aces, he caught quads on the river. Unfortunately, that river ace also filled out a Royal Flush for Justin Phillips.
Mabuchi thought he was being cute when he said, “Gamble!” and shoved. He then discovered the joke was on him as Phillips called with his Royal Flush and sent Mabuchi packing.
So which river elimination was more brutal, Mabuchi or Bellande? Vote now to determine which will survive to the Final Four!
Mizrachi and Hellmuth Make Main Event Memories
Michael Mizrachi and Phil Hellmuth helped to create two of the most memorable moments in WSOP Main Event history. Mizrachi’s double suckout against Matt Jarvis was one of the most memorable moments in November Nine history. Phil Hellmuth’s win against Johnny Chan began the legacy of the now 14-time bracelet winner and set a record for the youngest ever to win the Main Event at that time.
Mizrachi’s suckout against Jarvis has enjoyed one of the easiest run during this contest. It has ran away with the voting in the first two rounds against two important moments in WSOP history. In the opening round, the Grinder simply crushed Antonio Esfandiari and his win in the 2012 Big One for ONE DROP. It took 84% of the vote, the second highest total thus far in this contest.
In the Sweet 16, Mizrachi faced off against Chris Moneymaker’s 2003 Main Event victory. While Moneymaker changed the course of poker history, his final hand was fairly tame in comparison to Mizrachi’s. That’s why Mizrachi advanced to the Elite Eight with 66% of the vote.
While Mizrachi’s suckout enjoyed an easy trip through the Exciting bracket, it still didn’t quite top that of Phil Hellmuth’s 1989 Main Event win. Hellmuth simply crushed it the first two rounds to make the Elite Eight. In the opening round, his win topped that of Peter Eastgate in the inaugural November Nine in 2008. Hellmuth took an astounding 88% of the vote, the highest of the contest.
In Round 2, Hellmuth faced off against 2012 Main Event Champ and Player of the Year Greg Merson. While Merson’s story was impressive, it didn’t equal Hellmuth’s legacy creating win. Hellmuth advanced with 75% of the vote.
Now we get to find out who will move on to the final four and take the Exciting bracket. First, we have the suck and resuckout of Michael Mizrachi. Matt Jarvis was all-in with pocket nines against A-Q for Mizrachi. A flop of Qs-8d-Qc gave Mizrachi trip queens and left Jarvis drawing to two outs.
Amazingly, the turn fell the 9c and Jarvis had sucked out on Mizrachi to take the lead. Just when it seemed Jarvis would double-up, the river fell the As to give Mizrachi a better full house and eliminate Jarvis.
Our other video is the final confrontation between Johnny Chan and Phil Hellmuth at the 1989 WSOP Main Event. Chan was going for his third straight Main Event title and Hellmuth was trying to become the youngest ever to win the Main Event.
Hellmuth eventually won to set the record for youngest Main Event champion in history to that point. It also began a legacy that has seen him win 14 bracelets and become the greatest WSOP champion ever.
So who will take the Exciting bracelet, Hellmuth or Mizrachi? You can decide! Click below and vote for your favorite!