Adam Levy Triggers Classic Phil Hellmuth Meltdown at the 2008 WSOP

There are thousands of hours of archived poker footage dating back over the last decade and beyond. Among these thousands of hours there are moments that truly stand out – some for their historic value, and others for their display of pure, unfiltered human emotion. With ‘Moments in Time’, BLUFF takes some of the most memorable videos that poker has to offer and squeezes out some extra laughs by breaking it all down, frame-by-frame.

This week’s video is an absolute classic – so much so that we had to break it down into two parts. It’s one of Phil Hellmuth’s legendary rants, brought on by a hand against then-relatively unknown pro Adam Levy at the 2008 World Series of Poker.

0:03 Hellmuth’s wearing a variation of his typical all-black get up – hockey jersey, PH hat, leather jacket and, what’s that? An All In Energy drink patch? For those who attended the WSOP in 2008, you couldn’t miss the All In logo splashed all over the place at the Rio. Johnny Chan had a massive role as the face of the brand, they ran a $500,000 freeroll at the Rio and there’s was the only energy drink available at the tables.


They were all but booted out the door as a sponsor at the 2009 WSOP, their Facebook page currently has 20 likes and no content, their former website hosts a spammy tech blog, and their Twitter account has been collecting cobwebs since July 2010. It all seems worth it, though, when we got this piece of hip hop history out of the deal.

0:08 “Hellmuth looks down at an eight… he has pocket eights,” observes Lon McEachern.


0:10 “Oh no, I’m gonna do something here. This hand wasn’t very good for me yesterday, though.” Hellmuth makes his standard 3X raise to 15,000.

0:21 “Maybe today… today’s a different day”


0:23 “Today, like yesterday, Phil’s face is on 12 million beer cans,” adds Norman Chad.


0:25 Our first glimpse of Adam Levy, Hellmuth’s adversary on this day.


0:28 And it’s Q T for Levy. Remember that hand, you’re going to hear about it a lot later on.


0:34 Hellmuth puts on his gameface.


0:37 “He skipped last year’s World Series so he could be a camp counselor in Georgia,” notes Norman Chad. A nice Jewish boy wouldn’t pick on Phil Hellmuth, right?

0:42 Here’s our flop.


0:47 Hellmuth elects to lead out, and inadvertently flips off Levy in the process.


0:52 Hellmuth retreats immediately to his standard guarded position.


0:55 Levy returns the finger.


1:02 Uh oh.


1:07 Hellmuth can barely contain himself as he… uh… well I’m not really sure what he’s doing to his face, but he checks.


1:17 Levy bets 37,000, which Hellmuth quickly calls.

1:27 Hellmuth fails to fill up as the river is the most stereotypical blank in the deck.


1:33 Hellmuth leads out this time, for 60,000 into a pot of 156,000. This doesn’t end well, it’s just a matter of how many chips Hellmuth’s going to lose.

1:43 I think Levy might be ready to raise. Ask me how I know.


1:47 “I’m not tricky enough to play Queen-Ten this good, am I?” Oh Phil.


1:51 About that…


1:55 “Raise.” That’s a lot of orange chips.


2:01 Phil Hellmuth is not amused.


2:10 Hellmuth elects to play it safe and just calls the raise of 95,000.

2:13 “Queen… Queen-Ten” declares Levy, showing his straight.

2:15 “He called a raise with a… F***************************!”


2:18 “He called a raise with Queen-Ten, honey.” Just another instance of Hellmuth bemoaning his poor fortune to his wife.


2:24 Hellmuth, in this moment, displays the perfect combination of his anger, his sadness, and an utter incomprehension of how someone could call a single preflop raise with Queen-F******ing-Ten.


2:28 “F***ing internet player. Called a f***ing raise with Q T. F***ing idiot player.” Wait, where is Phil going?


2:41 Levy can barely contain his joy as McEachern notes, “This was bound to happen sooner or later.”


2:43 Chad jokingly replies as if Hellmuth’s talking to him.

  • PH: “How do these players… how are they still in this tournament?”
  • NC: “They let them in every day.”
  • PH: “I had a set!”
  • NC: “I know you had a set, puddin.”

2:49 Hellmuth leaves the stage and we can only see him in silhouette, but a terrified floor man just stands there, unsure of how to react to an unexpected visit from the Poker Brat.


2:53 “It’s just unbelievable, this kid probably won’t last another hour.” The crowd goes wild, and Hellmuth shows no signs of stopping.


2:58 “I promise, watch… how do these players even last this long? I mean, it’s just so sick – they have no concept of poker.”


3:08 Levy’s had enough, so he pokes the beast. “It was an aggressive call”


3:11 “Aggressive call? F***ing idiot,” replies Hellmuth, taking the bait. “Ala Vanessa Rousso,” adds Levy.


3:17 Aaaand it’s time to go off the rails. “Nice dealing there, mighty fine buddy, mighty fine. You know I haven’t won a pot one time (“Mhmm” replies the dealer, knowingly) and they’re just raising and reraising me all day. Then you give me a set…”

3:31 “I just sat down, bro.”


3:33 “Unbelievable, idiot players call raises with Queen-Ten, they don’t even know how to spell poker!” This kid has all the chips and he probably won’t even make the final 200.” Levy would ultimately finish 48th in the 2008 WSOP Main Event.


3:44 “Can you call a clock on tirades?” McEachern wonders aloud.

3:46 “You showed a raise with Jack-four, you think the guy’s not going to call you?” offers another player, clearly fed up. “Buddy, you moved in with King-ten, so please don’t discuss poker with me,” recalls Hellmuth flawlessly and dismissively.

3:57 “A Poker Brat rant for the ages,” concludes McEachern.


3:59 As it cuts to an exterior of the Rio we can finally take a breath. The final tally for Hellmuth: 7 “calls”, 7 “raises”, 6 “Queen-Ten’s”, 5 F-Bomb’s and 1 “honey” inside 80 seconds. We’re a little more than halfway through, though, as Hellmuth isn’t quite done laying down the verbal smackdown.


Come back next week when Hellmuth moves away from the featured table but can’t escape another oncoming tirade.

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Tim Fiorvanti

Tim Fiorvanti graduated from St. John's University with a B.S. in Journalism in 2008. After several years in the industry, he started working for BLUFF in the summer of 2010. He worked his way up at BLUFF and joined full time as a Senior Writer in April of 2012. Fiorvanti now serves as the Managing Editor of BLUFF. He's a tortured Mets and Jets fan, along with several other frustrating allegiances, but he's also a two-time defending BLUFF Fantasy Football Champion.
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