Phil Ivey and Phil Hellmuth Clash on Day 1C of 2015 WSOP Main Event

Phil Hellmuth waiting for his seat card after waiting to the last minute to enter the Main Event.

Phil Hellmuth waiting for his seat card after waiting to the last minute to enter the Main Event.

The 2015 World Series of Poker Main Event finally got off started for Phil Hellmuth at the last possible second, as he was the 6,417th player of 6,420 to enter this event. Hellmuth’s trademark late entrance came without the fanfare of years past and he had to stand in the late registration line just like everyone else who showed up at the end of the dinner break.

Hellmuth’s done almost everything there is to do when it comes to WSOP achievements; he leads the all-time list with 14 bracelets, has the most final tables and cashes in WSOP history and he’s the only player who’s won both the WSOP and WSOP Europe Main Events – he also has eight total cashes and six top 50 finishes in the event.

BLUFF picked up the action with Hellmuth as soon as he arrived cashier’s cage and set off to spend a level with the intention of seeing how Hellmuth would do. Little did we know that when Hellmuth got to the table he’d get a nasty surprise – Phil Ivey staring at him from across the table.

What followed were two hours that ESPN would have loved to capture on Day 4 or beyond, but BLUFF has the exclusive inside look at these two titans of the game squaring off on Day 1C.

8:23 pm: Hellmuth registered at the 7 Stars Cage and was the third-to-last player to enter. He was handed a late reg slip to the Pavilion room and then had wait in line for his table and seat assignment.

8:27 pm: Hellmuth joined Table 256 in the Green Section in Seat 1 and waiting for him there were Keith Lehr, current top ten in chips Zarik Megerdichian and Ivey.

8:33 pm: “Welcome to the table Phil,” Lehr said loudly. Hellmuth didn’t respond and Lehr said, “Oh, I guess we’re not talking.”

8:37 pm: Greg Mueller approached and stood uncomfortably close behind Hellmuth. Mueller chatted to no one in particular and then returned to his seat a few tables away.

8:39 pm: “Holy shit, that’s Phil Ivey and Phil Hellmuth at the same table,” said a spectator from the rail. “They always set tables like that for TV,” he added confidently. There wasn’t a camera crew with 100 feet of the table.

8:50 pm: A small crowd of curious players, stanchion-ignoring spectators and other media members formed around the table.

8:52 pm: Hellmuth played his first hand and opened to 900 and got two calls. The flop came J 7 4, all three players checked and the turn came 9. Hellmuth checked, his next opponent bet 1,500, the other player folded and Hellmuth took a long peek back at his cards and mucked them.

8:53 pm: Hellmuth furiously texted someone back-and-forth. It wasn’t all bad news though – he smiled before putting his phone down.

8:58 pm: Hellmuth opened to 800, got one call and flop came A T 9. Hellmuth led out for 1,100, his opponent called and the turn came K. “I feel my first pot coming,” Hellmuth said as he checked. His opponent bet 2,000 and Hellmuth said, “Wow, you call and then fire out?” He mucked his cards.

9:02 pm: Hellmuth removed his black jacket and sunglasses. Ivey opened for 700, Lehr called and Hellmuth raised to 2,500. Ivey fired back a re-raise to 8,500, Lehr couldn’t muck fast enough and Hellmuth said, “I love it when you cooler me Phil, I really do. I’m really gonna love it when I make the final table,” and folded A Q face up.

9:07 pm: Hellmuth opened to 1,200, the table folded and he won his first pot 30 minutes after sitting down.

9:12 pm: Hellmuth opened to 800 in middle position and Ivey called from the big blind. The flop fell T 7 2, Ivey check-called 1,100 and the turn came T. Ivey bet, 2,000, Hellmuth called and the river came K. Ivey bet 5,000, Hellmuth raised to 16,000 and Ivey sat motionless for a few moments. Ivey let his hand go and Hellmuth said, “It’s tough to beat because it’s called quads,” and tabled pocket tens. Hellmuth’s stack moved back to close to the starting stack.

9:14 pm: The next hand an unknown player limped from under the gun and Hellmuth three-bet to 2,000. Action folded around to the limper, he called and the flop came A K 6. His opponent bet 2,000 and Hellmuth said, “Want me to show you a medium pair or not?” Before his opponent could answer Hellmuth sent his cards into the muck.

9:22 pm: Lehr opened to 1,000, Hellmuth called from the big blind and they went to a flop of A K 5. Both players checked, the turn came 8, Lehr bet 1,500 and Hellmuth said, “1,500 – that’s a snap-call for me,” and called. The river came A, both players checked again, Hellmuth tabled A 9 for trips and Lehr mucked. Hellmuth chipped up above the starting stack for the first time since he sat down.

9:45 pm: Lehr and Hellmuth discussed the payouts of this Series and Lehr emphasized how much he disliked the the payout schedules for $10,000 events. Then Lehr said, “Phil, didn’t you cash in the $111K?”

“Of course I cashed,” Hellmuth replied. “What like fourth or fifth?” Lehr pressed.

“No, (indiscernable mumbles)” Hellmuth trailed off. (Hellmuth finished in sixth place for $696,821)

9:51 pm: Ivey opened to 700, Hellmuth called and they saw a flop of 5 2 2. Hellmuth check-called 1,300, the turn came A and Hellmuth check-called 3,000. The river came T, Hellmuth checked and Ivey bet 5,000. Hellmuth snap-called, said “Gotcha,” and tabled K Q for a flush and Ivey silently mucked his cards.

9:54 pm: Megerdichian opened to 900, Hellmuth called and the flop came A 6 2. Hellmuth bet 1,400, Mergerdichian called and the turn came T. Hellmuth bet 2,200, got a call and the river came Q. Hellmuth bet 6,300 and after a long tank Mergerdichian called and Hellmuth announced he had a set and tabled pocket tens. Hellmuth moved to over 50,000 after the hand and Melanie Weisner filled an empty seat at the table.

10:09 pm: Weisner opened to 800, Hellmuth called from the big blind and the flop came A K 6. They both checked the flop, the turn came J, Hellmuth bet 2,000 and Weisner called. The river came 3, Hellmuth bet 6,800 and Weisner folded after some short thought.

10:11 pm: An early position player opened to 1,000 and Hellmuth three-bet to 4,000. The raiser mucked and Hellmuth showed pocket queens to the table.

10:21 pm: The end of the Level 4, several people crowded the table in hopes to get a picture or an autograph. Hellmuth politely refused for the moment, citing he needed the restroom and only had a short time. He ended the level with 54,000.

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Paul Oresteen

Senior Writer: Paul Oresteen originally joined BLUFF in 2008 as an intern. He covered two World Series of Poker’s before leaving to join PokerNews.com. After a two year hiatus Oresteen returned to BLUFF in November 2012. Since starting as a poker journalist Oresteen has covered the World Series of Poker, WSOP Circuit, World Poker Tour and European Poker Tour. He graduated from Georgia State University with a B.A. in Communications in 2008.
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