The 2013 WSOP Main Event would be incomplete without Phil Hellmuth. The 13-time bracelet winner and 1989 World Champion has not matched his 2011 and 2012 performances at the World Series of Poker, but that’s understandable. Hellmuth finished second in the WSOP Player of the Year race the last two years, winning bracelet number 12 in Vegas in the summer of 2012 and getting number 13 in style by taking the WSOP Europe title.
The most prolific player in poker went away from flashy over-the-top entrances over the last couple of years, but his presence alone makes a tremendous splash. After registering at the very last possible second on Day 1C of the 2013 Main Event, Hellmuth didn’t play his stack until 30 minutes into Level 3. He got down to 15,000, but went on a massive heater in the last level-and-a-half to run it up to over 90,000 by the time the bags came out. BLUFF followed Hellmuth from his first hand of the day through the last. Below is a full account of Phil Hellmuth’s Day 1C.
12:10 – Cards are in the air on Day 1C of the 2013 WSOP Main Event. Hellmuth is nowhere to be found. Late registration is open for two full levels, plus the second break, and Hellmuth is likely to take every last second.
2:10 – First break. Still no sign of Hellmuth
4:30 – Second break begins. Hellmuth still hasn’t arrived.
4:50 – As the second break comes to a close and the end of registration approaches, Ty Stewart, the Executive Director of the WSOP, registers Hellmuth at the Seven Stars/Diamond registration line.
4:53 – Hellmuth draws Table 88, Seat 4 in the red section of the Brasilia room. Shaun Deeb is the most notable player at the table, in Seat 7. “Whose stack is that?” Deeb asks. “Hellmuth,” replies the floor man who brings over the chips in a rack. “Nice!”
5:21 – More than 20 minutes into Level 3, Hellmuth is still not in his seat.
5:33 – Hellmuth enters the room through a side door and quickly makes his way into his chair, stopping to give Deeb a fist bump along the way. Hellmuth has a big smile on his face.
5:36 – The conversation quickly turns to Chinese Poker, Gus Hansen and a $3,000-a-point game.
5:40 – Hellmuth opens to 900 in the cutoff, Emilio Tulipano calls on the button and Robert Lofaso calls in the small blind. It’s checked to Hellmuth, who bets 2,700. Tulipano raises to 7,000, Lofaso folds and Hellmuth quickly turns over K J, sending it into the muck. “You have way the best hand there,” says Deeb with a laugh.
5:46 – Hellmuth raises to 900 and Deeb calls in the cutoff. “This is a professional pot,” says Hellmuth. “I’m going to stare you down,” replies Deeb. The flop is 9 6 4, Hellmuth bets 1,100 and Deeb calls. The turn is the T, Hellmuth checks, Deeb bets 2,025 and Hellmuth calls. They both check the 2 river and Hellmuth tables J J to take the pot.
“I thought I was value betting,” remarks Deeb.
6:09 – Hellmuth is first to act and quickly cuts out a raise of 900 from his stack. He pauses for 15 seconds. “Clock,” says Deeb with a laugh. “One second,” replies Hellmuth. He limps. “I knew he was going to limp, but I didn’t want to influence the action,” says Deeb. “I would’ve bet any amount of money.” Lofaso limps, the hijack limps and Khiem Nguyen raises to 1,350. Only Hellmuth calls.
The A K T flop and J river are checked by both players, and Hellmuth checks a final time on the A river. Nguyen bets 4,000 and Hellmuth quickly folds.
6:22 – Hellmuth three-bets to 2,300 over an open from the cutoff and everyone folds.
6:34 – Hellmuth leaves his chair and the Brasilia Room entirely.
6:42 – He returns with a wrap from the poker kitchen. There are just under 20 minutes remaining until the dinner break.
6:52 – Hellmuth shows down Q 6 on an A 7 4 Q K board and takes down a small pot.
6:56 – Hellmuth disposes of his half-eaten wrap.
7:00 – Nguyen opens to 700, Hellmuth three-bets to 1,800 in the cutoff and Nguyen calls. The flop is 9 6 4 and both players check. The turn is the A, Hellmuth bets 1,700 and Nguyen folds. “I had you,” says Hellmuth, tabling T T. “No bluff.”
7:02 – After playing the last 90 minutes before the dinner break, Hellmuth has gotten back all of the chips that got blinded off and then some, with 31,950 to end Level 3.
8:32 – Play resumes with 150/300 blinds and a 25 ante.
9:00 – Hellmuth raises to 900 and takes the blinds and antes
9:12 – “I’ve been waiting for somebody to give me their money,” says Hellmuth. “That guy’s gone already,” replies Deeb.
9:17 – “Busting you from the Main Event is on every poker player’s bucket list,” notes Deeb.
9:29 – Hellmuth three-bets to 2,200 and takes down the pot.
9:31 – With 3,200 in the pot on a board of K 9 3, SEAT 1 checks, Hellmuth bets 5,000 and Jean-Philippe Matte calls. The river is the K, SEAT 1 checks and Hellmuth checks behind. “I hit,” says Matte, tabling A K. Hellmuth stares at his hand for 10 seconds, then mucks.
“I had him on the turn,” claims Hellmuth. “He had me on the flop.”
9:46 – Hellmuth raises to 850 and takes down the pot. He shows down his favorite hand, the 9 9.
10:10 – Hellmuth opens to 900 and Robert Lofaso calls middle position. They go heads-up to a Q J 9 flop, Hellmuth bets 1,100 and Lofaso calls. The turn is the K, Hellmuth checks, Lofaso bets 2,000 and Hellmuth calls. The river is the 8, Hellmuth checks, Lofaso bets 4,000 and Hellmuth mucks J J face up. Lofaso shows A 9.
“Stone cold bluff,” remarks Hellmuth. “So bad, doesn’t make sense. You see how quickly I called on the turn? Didn’t want him to know I was that strong.”
10:14 – Hellmuth limps in the small blind and Adam Maxime checks his option in the big blind. The flop is T 9 5, Hellmuth checks, Maxime bets 1,000 and Hellmuth calls. “Check dark,” says Hellmuth, giving up his option as the K falls on the turn. Maxime bets 3,000, Hellmuth raisees to 8,000, Maxime goes all in and Hellmuth does his trademark all in, pushing his last 14,150 chips wildly into the pot. Hellmuth has Q J for the nut straight while Maxime’s flopped two-pair T 5 needs some help. The river is the 8 and Hellmuth doubles to 31,050.
10:22 – Hellmuth loses a small pot to Deeb, who flopped two pair.
10:24 – On the next hand, Hellmuth raises to 1,000 in the hijack, Lofaso calls on the button and Joshua Levkov calls in the big blind. The flop is Q 4 3, Hellmuth bets 2,300, Lofaso calls and Levkov raises to 7,000. Both players fold.
“I’m going to get you,” says Hellmuth, “That’s why I folded.”
10:27 – Playing his third consecutive hand, Hellmuth opens to 1,000 and Deeb three-bets to 2,800.
“How deep are you?” asks Hellmuth. “15 thousand,” replies Deeb. “15 more?” “Total.” Hellmuth raises to 21,000, and after some hesitation Deeb calls off his stack with A K. Hellmuth has him in bad shape with K K and it runs out 9 6 2 6 8, eliminating Deeb.
“Nice hand, Phil,” says Deeb. “Wasn’t hoping to get you,” replies Hellmuth.
10:34 – With 8,200 in the pot on a board of J 4 2 K 3, Hellmuth bets 6,300 and Lofaso goes into the tank. It’s the last hand of Level 4 and the break begins. Lofaso eventually calls and Hellmuth shows K Q. Lofaso mucks, and in the space of 20 minutes Hellmuth has more than tripled his stack, taking 56,625 into the final level of the day.
10:54 – Level 5 begins. The blinds are up to 200/400 with a 50 chip ante.
10:56 – On the first hand back, Maxime raises to 800 under the gun and Hellmuth calls in the big blind. The flop is 7 6 4, Hellmuth checks, Maxime bets 1,100, Hellmuth raises all in and Maxime calls off for 4,875 with A A. Hellmuth is behind but live with 3 4, but doesn’t catch up on the 2 turn or K river.
10:59 – Nguyen opens to 900 and Hellmuth calls on the button. The flop is Q 4 3, Nguyen bets 1,300, Hellmuth raises to 3,500 and Nguyen three-bets to 6,300. Hellmuth shakes his head and mucks.
11:03 – On the next hand Levkov opens to 900 and Hellmuth calls in the cutoff. The flop is J 9 2, Levkov bets 1,100 and Hellmuth calls. The turn is the K, Levkov checks, Hellmuth bets 1,800 and Levkov calls. The river is the 4, Levkov checks, Hellmuth bets 9,000 and Levkov calls. “Nuts,” says Hellmuth, turning over Q T for the straight.
11:28 – Hellmuth slows down and plays few pots, taking the blinds and antes a few times.
11:49 – Matte raises to 900 in middle position and Helluth three-bets big, to 4,000. Matte calls. “Didn’t think you’d fold,” says Hellmuth with a smile. The flop is J T 8 and it goes check, check. The turn is the A, Matte checks, Hellmuth bets 5,500 and Matte calls. The river is the K, putting a four-card straight and possible flush on board. Matte bets 10,000.
“How much money would you have given me?” asks Hellmuth. “I flopped a set of jacks.” He mucks.
Matte shows A K. “He’s in giveaway mode right now,” continues Hellmuth.
11:58 – There’s 2,000 in the pot going to the flop, which comes down 6 6 3. Matte checks, Hellmuth bets 1,800 and Matte calls. They both check the 7 turn, and Matte leads out for 9,000 at the 7 river. Hellmuth open-folds A J. “I know this guy is going to give me chips,” says Hellmuth. Matte shows the 2 as he scoops the pot.
12:13 – Jose Gomez opes to 1,000, Hellmuth three-bets to 4,000 and Gomez folds. Hellmuth shows K K.
12:18 – Hellmuth flops a monster with K T against Bryan Paris’ Q T on an A T T flop and takes down an 18,000 chip pot, but doesn’t get the last of Paris’ chips.
12:24 – Gomez, Lofaso and Hellmuth go three ways to a flop of A A 7. Lofaso checks, Gomez bets 1,300, Hellmuth calls and Lofaso checks. The turn is the 6, Gomez bets 1,600 and Hellmuth calls. The river is the 5 and Gomez check-calls a bet of 2,300 from Hellmuth, who shows A 8.
12:32 – Hellmuth three-bets in the big blind and takes it.
12:35 – Antonio Payne opens to 1,200 and Hellmuth calls in the small blind. The flop is A T 5 and Hellmuth check-calls a bet of 1,500. The turn is the 6 and it goes check, check. The river is the 7, Hellmuth leads out for 1,500 and Payne considers his options. He eventually raises to 4,500 and Hellmuth snap-calls, showing Q Q. “Nice call,” says Payne, who mucks.
12:40 – Hellmuth takes down a three-way pot on a T 7 2 board and flashes A A.
12:46 – Hellmuth wins the second and third hands of four played after the clock is paused with 10 minutes to go in the day. He’s taken full advantage of his situation at the end of the day and he bags up 92,850, putting him among the bigger stacks to end Day 1C.
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