Phil Hellmuth made poker history by winning the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event to capture bracelet no. 13 and become the only player to ever win the main event in both the European and Las Vegas legs of the WSOP.
Poker’s all-time bracelet winner added another to his collection when his Ah-10d bested the As-4c of runner-up Sergii Baranov in the final hand of the tournament and made the “Poker Brat” €1,022,376 ($1,331,031) richer in the process. Hellmuth’s championship in Europe was his second WSOP victory in 2012 after winning the $2,500 razz tourney over the summer in Las Vegas—the poker legend’s first ever non-Texas Hold’em WSOP title.
“I’m humbled by this,” Hellmuth said while accepting his bracelet. “I’m still trying to figure out if this is real or not. This was the best poker I have ever played in my life, I know that for certain. I played as good as I could possibly play and caught a few breaks, and here I am. I’m very thankful.”
This is turning out to be a very successful year for Hellmuth, as he landed at two other final tables in WSOP events, including fourth place in the Big One For One Drop $1 million buy-in that was good for a payday of over $2.6 million. His victory in Cannes, France has catapulted Hellmuth into the lead for WSOP Player of the Year and he will add that trophy to his mantel unless Greg Merson—a final tablist at the 2012 WSOP Main Event scheduled for later this month—manages to take down the championship.
The Poker Brat bested a field of 420 players for the European WSOP title, including tough competition such as fellow final tablists Joseph Cheong and Jason Mercier, who finished fourth and eighth, respectively. Hellmuth sat down at the final table with the chip lead and played a loose and aggressive style, making a few uncharacteristic big calls that could have derailed his quest for bracelet no. 13 if his assumptions were wrong.
“I was shocked, impressed and completely confused by Phil Hellmuth today,” said Antonio Esfandiari, the only other two-time bracelet winner in 2012, who took home more than $18 million in the Big One For One Drop and subsequently became poker’s all-time tournament money winner.
Hellmuth has cashed in 95 WSOP tournaments and has now won more than $17 million throughout his career.