Phil Hellmuth had a fairly boring first level on Day 2C of the 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event, building his stack a little bit to 83,000. Level 7, the second level of play Thursday, would be an entirely different story.
Hellmuth tangled with several different players in big pots at Table 79 in the Brasilia Room and he was pushed into an epic rant that included several different individual declarations of war.
Here’s the way the nine players at Hellmuth’s table were seated to start Level 7.
Seat 1: Sean Purdy
Seat 2: Mike Kachan
Seat 3: Emile Petit
Seat 4: Jake Schindler
Seat 5: Eric Wilson
Seat 6: Luciana Manolea
Seat 7: Murray Vazquez
Seat 8: Ara Melikian
Seat 9: Hellmuth
2:22 pm: As the doors to the Brasilia Room reopen towards the tail end of the first break on Day 2C, Hellmuth is one of the first players back in the room and the first to sit back down at his table. He’s enjoying an All American Dave meal during the last five minutes of his break
2:24 pm: Hellmuth pauses briefly to take a selfie with Kim Schinco, and fist bumps her as she walks to her table a little deeper in the Red section of Brasilia
2:26 pm: “With antes of 75 and blinds of 3(00) and 6(00), dealers, please shuffle up and deal!” Hellmuth dons his signature sunglasses, and he’s off an running
2:28 pm: Hellmuth gets up from his seat and goes over to a nearby cocktail waiter. He tips $5 and grabs three waters from the tray.
2:32 pm: 2014 WSOP bracelet-winner Mike Kachan limps in early position, Murray Vazquez goes all in for 2,300 on the button and Hellmuth calls in the big blind. Kachan calls as well and the flop is 6 6 3. Hellmuth checks, Kachan bets 2,500 and Hellmuth folds. Kachan is ahead with J 3 against K Q, but Vazquez hits twice with the Q turn and K river and triples up.
2:38 pm: A big crowd is forming just behind Hellmuth, whose seat is directly on the rail, but it’s been all quiet so far in Level 7.
2:44 pm: Hellmuth raises to 1,700, Jake Schindler calls in the small blind and Eric Wilson calls in the big blind. The flop is 4 2 2, Schindler leads out for 3,500, Wilson folds and Hellmuth calls. The turn is the Q, Schindler checks, Hellmuth bets 8,500 and Schindler folds – giving Hellmuth his first pot of the level.
2:47 pm: Hellmuth raises to 1,700 in early position, Kachan calls in middle position, Emile Petit calls in the hijack, Wilson calls on the button and Vazquez calls in the big blind. The flop is Q 3 3, Hellmuth bets 1,500 and only Kachan calls. The turn is the 9, Hellmuth checks, Kachan bets 2,700 and Hellmuth folds.
“If I had aces, you wouldn’t have liked it,” says Hellmuth. “Aces would have had me beat,” replies Kachan.
2:50 pm: Hellmuth limps under the gun, it folds all the way around to Vazquez in the small blind and he shoves for 5,900. It folds to Hellmuth and he lets out an audible groan before folding.
2:52 pm: Kachan raises to 1,300, Vazquez calls on the button, Ara Melikian calls in the small blind and Hellmuth calls in the big blind. The flop is J 7 3, Melikian checks, Hellmuth bets 2,000 and Kachan raises to 5,100. Vazquez shoves for 6,075, Melikian folds and Hellmuth simply asks, “How much?”
After getting a count, Hellmuth calls. “Guess I can’t raise you out,” says Kachan, who also calls. The turn is the Q, Hellmuth checks and Kachan bets 14,400. “You’re the one I’m going to bust,” says Hellmuth. Kachan turns over 7 7 and he has Vazquez drawing dead going into the river.
As Kachan scoops the pot, Hellmuth continues to jaw with Kachan. “Don’t make promises,” replies Kachan. “I promise,” says Hellmuth, reiterating that he’ll take Kachan out of this tournament. “You’re the one playing every hand,” continues Hellmuth. “As long as you think that, I’m in good shape,” counters Kachan.
“You got me to put in 6,000 drawing dead. Now, can I get you to put in 36,000 the same way?” asks Hellmuth.
2:57 pm: Melikian raises to 1,800 on the button and Hellmuth calls in the small blind. The flop is Q 5 2, Hellmuth bets 1,500, Melikian raises to 4,300 and Hellmuth lets it go.
3:02 pm: Melikian limps in the hijack and Hellmuth suddenly raises to 5,000 from the cutoff. Sean Purdy, who’s on the button, thinks it over for a minute and three-bets to 12,000, immediately sending Melikian out with a shake of his head. As Hellmuth stares him down, Purdy mutters, “First raise of the day.” Hellmuth folds, and it’s clear he’s been pushed over some invisible edge.
Hellmuth points at Kachan. “I declare war on you.” He then points and Purdy. “And I declare war on you, too. First people I’ve declared war on this World Series – good luck.”
“Had ace-queen suited,” continues Helmuth. “War, boys.”
3:03 pm: Hellmuth raises to 2,000. “Some war-sized raises now.” As a few of the players at the table chuckle at Hellmuth’s behavior, everyone folds around. “Nobody’s afraid – they should be afraid. I don’t get it. I’m at my best when I’m at war.”
3:06 pm: Hellmuth raises to 2,000 from middle position and Wilson calls in the big blind. “Stay out of my way, bro, there’s a war going on,” warns Hellmuth. Both players check a J T 4 flop, and after the Q hits the turn Hellmuth asks Wilson what his stack looks like before he acts. “19, 20 maybe?” replies Wilson, who bets 5,000 and drives Hellmuth out of the pot.
3:09 pm: Hellmuth goes suddenly quiet, takes off the sunglasses and puts on his regular glasses to check his phone.
3:11 pm: Hellmuth raises to 1,700 from under the gun and takes the blinds and antes
3:12 pm: Purdy jokes he might want a picture on the break. “I might give you a picture, buddy, but whether I do or I don’t we’re still at war.”
3:16 pm: Schindler raises to 1,600, Wilson calls and Hellmuth comes along in the small blind. The flop is T 2 2, Hellmuth leads out for 1,000, Schindler raises to 3,500 and Wilson gets out of the way. Hellmuth calls and immediately checks in the dark as the 9 falls on the turn. Schindler bets 5,000 and Hellmuth folds.
“I declare war on you,” says Hellmuth simply, pointing at Schindler as he extends himself into a three-front conflict. “But never with the French guy, huh?” jokes Purdy. Petit simply shakes his head.
3:21 pm: Melikian raises to 1,500 in the cutoff, Hellmuth three-bets to 4,000 on the button and Purdy four-bets to 14,000 from the small blind. Melikian folds. “How much?” asks Hellmuth. “14,” replies the dealer and Hellmuth quickly calls.
“War,” says Hellmuth as the dealer fans out a K T 3 flop. Purdy checks, Hellmuth splashes out 12,000 and Purdy promptly replies with a shove all in. Hellmuth bolts straight up in his seat. “Ace king get there?” he says. He sits back down and mucks his hand. Purdy shows the A A and Hellmuth stands up again, taking a few steps away from the table in bemusement.
“Just when I was waiting to catch you, too,” says Hellmuth.
3:24 pm: Hellmuth turns his chair around.
3:27 pm: Wilson limps under the gun, Luciana Manolea raises to 2,000 and Hellmuth calls in the hijack. Wilson calls as well and the flop is K 6 4. Hellmuth bets 1,500, Wilson raises to 3,500, Manolea folds and Hellmuth snap-mucks A Q face up.
3:28 pm: Hellmuth raises to 2,200 and takes down the pot.
3:29 pm: Hellmuth raises to 1,500 and takes down the pot.
3:30 pm: Dealer change as Marianne sits down in the box.
3:31 pm: Hellmuth raises to 2,000 and takes his third straight pot without resistance.
3:32 pm: Hellmuth raises to 2,200 from under the gun and it folds around, giving Hellmuth his fourth straight pot.
3:34 pm: Petit raises to 2,000 in middle position, Wilson calls, Melikian calls in the small blind and Hellmuth calls in the big blind. The flop is T 4 2, Wilson bets 2,700, Melikian calls and Hellmuth folds, ending the streak at four.
3:44 pm: Things have settled down considerably with 40 minutes to go in the level, as Hellmuth stays out of the fray for most of an orbit.
3:47 pm: Hellmuth raises to 2,000 in middle position, Kachan calls in the cutoff and Petit calls on the button. The flop is A K 5, Hellmuth checks, Kachan bets 2,600 and Petit calls, which prompts Hellmuth to get out of the way.
3:51 pm: Hellmuth raises to 1,800 from under the gun and Manolea three-bets all in from the button for about 11,000. Hellmuth calls and shows J J, which is racing against Manolea’s A K. He falls behind on the K Q 8 flop, but the J turn leaves Manolea with just four outs to survive on the river. The A gives her a worthless two pair and sends her to the rail, while Hellmuth scoops his most significant pot of Level 7.
3:57 pm: Hellmuth raises to 2,000 from under the gun and Melikian calls in the big blind. Both check the Q 9 5 flop and Hellmuth takes it down with a 2,200 bet on the Q turn.
4:00 pm: Melikian limps the small blind, Hellmuth raises to 2,300 and Melikian calls. The flop is A 8 5, Melikian checks and, after looking back at his hand, Hellmuth checks back. The turn is the 9, Melikian bets 3,000 and Hellmuth quickly throws out a raise to 7,500. Melikian folds, Hellmuth tables A K and Melikian shows an A of his own.
4:01: Last dealer change of the level as Caleb sits down.
4:02: “I tried to gamble with you guys and declare war, now I’m just going to show you the nuts all day,” says Hellmuth as he collects the last of the chips from the previous pot, clearly settled back in.
4:08: Hellmuth clearly displays his change in mood as he films a good luck message for the Argentinian players still in the field for a member of the Argentian press and event breaks out in song with ‘Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” from the movie Evita.
4:14: Hellmuth bolts out of the room, presumably to beat the rush to the bathroom that’s coming up on the break.
4:16: He returns with 10:45 left on the clock.
4:18: Hellmuth raises to 2,000 and Schindler three-bets to 5,500 on the button. “Still at war, right?” comments Hellmuth as he folds, flashing the A.
4:20: Hellmuth has a few words with Schindler. “You might bluff it all off to me.” The normally reserved Schindler replies, “It’s going to be a good one – it’ll be tough to call.” “I don’t care about the math, I read people,” counters Hellmuth.
4:25: Schindler raises to 1,600 in middle position. “War, right?” says Hellmuth, who three-bets to 6,800. Schindler folds. “Of course you didn’t have anything – this is as weak as I could have hear,” snaps Hellmuth, showing the A Q.
4:28: The floor announces that just a minute remains in the level. Melikian raises to 1,500 on the button, Hellmuth three-bets to 6,000 on the button and, as the clock ticks down to zero, Melikian folds. Hellmuth carries about 61,000 into Level 8, and it’s sure to be a battle for the rest of the day as it seems unlikely the table will break any time soon.
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