Poker players seated at the same table as Phil Hellmuth during the 45th annual World Series of Poker this summer who are expecting the “Poker Brat” persona to emerge may find a kinder, gentler Hellmuth than the one players have come to know in previous years.
Hellmuth recently revealed to PokerStars that he is not the same person that he was during his younger days, having mellowed a bit as he approaches his 50th birthday. The 13-time WSOP champion let it be known that he doesn’t like to “buy-in” to the greatness bestowed on him by the poker media and others who envy his success on the WSOP stage.
I think sometimes you have to just say, ‘Hey, I’ve been blessed, I’ve been given a lot in life,'” said a grateful Hellmuth. “I feel like …. uhh …. yeah, I think I’ve changed.”
Hellmuth admits that he struggles with ego issues when others constantly remind him of his elevated stature in the game due to being the top all-time WSOP bracelet winner. The wisdom of age has allowed him to keep that ego in check in comparison to his behavior of 15 or 25 years ago.
I have a little more patience now,” the Poker Brat said. “You have to be able to play your best poker, recognize all your blessings, without being cocky. It’s a natural thing to have your ego flare a little bit.”
The WSOP kicks off at the Rio in Las Vegas tomorrow with the first of 65 events. Hellmuth will be vying for gold bracelet no. 14, but has matured enough to realize to savor his past victories without getting caught up in the accolades and admiration of others.
It’s important to digest all those wins and just kind of stay on track,” said the 49-year-old. “But I don’t think many people do that well.”
Hellmuth’s last WSOP title was won in 2012 at the WSOP Europe in Cannes when he took down the $10,000 Main Event for $1,333,841. He is the only player in history to have won WSOP and WSOPE Main Events.
Check out a video of the humble Hellmuth as he prepares to continue his WSOP bracelet chase.