Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Hellmuth Makes an Ass of Himself – Again

Okay, so at least one guy was bothered that I revealed that Annie Duke won last night’s Tournament of Champions poker tournament on ESPN, but there was still a LOT of fun to be had by watching it. Most notably, you could watch Phil Hellmuth once again make himself look like a total ass. During the tournament, they were showing snippets of interviews with him where, at one point, he said, essentially, “I know it makes me look bad when I talk so much after losing a hand. Why can’t I just say ‘nice hand’ and be done with it? I’m working on it. I want to be known as the gentleman of poker instead of the poker brat.” Well Phil, you failed miserably.

When it got heads up between Phil and Annie Duke, she played him like a violin. I’m not sure I’ve ever enjoyed a hand more than the one where she held K9 and he held K7 with a board of KX9 (I think the third card was a 6, but not sure and it doesn’t matter). He has top pair but she has top two pair and she puts in a big raise. He’s mumbling to himself and walking around, agonizing over the move and finally folds, showing his king. And in a brilliant move, she mucks her cards and only turns over the 9, so he thinks that she moved in with second pair and he folded the better hand. And now Phil is really spouting off. He actually said, “Wow. I thought you were here to play your best poker, but apparently not”. He is so delusional that he doesn’t realize that if she did raise him with second pair to get him to fold, that means she played well, not that she played badly. And the icing on the cake was when she said with dripping sarcasm, “I didn’t know any better, Phil, I thought my 9s were the best hand.” Bravissimo, Ms. Duke!

There was another hand where she had 66 and he held AX and the flop came KK6 to give her the full house and give him absolutely nothing, and after he folded to her, he just wouldn’t shut up about that one either. He just cannot stop himself from being a jerk. It’s not possible. And is there anything funnier than the video they keep showing of him doing something that he thinks looks vaguely like tai chi? He’s stiffer than a Frankenstein monster. I keep waiting for him to start saying “Oil can….oil can”.

I hope when he watched it last night and got to see what she held in those hands, he felt embarrassed as hell. Annie had him on a string and toyed with him, and rather than being gracious and accepting that, he was doing his usual “the only way I ever lose is when my opponent screws up and the poker gods conspire against me”. Phil is a walking Greek tragedy, and like Oedipus, what he thinks is attributable only to fate is really the fault of his own overwhelming hubris.


  1. #1 Vic Vanity
    September 22, 2004

    last night should have really sileneced many critics on raymers play as well . everyone at the table deserved the spot and proved it with their play …Phil would have been much worse had he won he is horrible when he loses and just as bad when he wins . i would love to see helmuth and arieh in the next celebrity boxing match

  2. #2 Ed Brayton
    September 23, 2004

    Actually, Raymer performed much worse last night than he did during the World Series. I was shocked to see him call big bets with 8/9 on one hand and 10/9 on the next. He bluffed at the pot with a raise with 8/9 and got reraised. He should undoubtedly have folded to the reraise. At the very least he has to figure he’s a 2/1 underdog in that position, and quite possibly a much bigger one. Some folks in the poker newsgroup even referred to this as a meltdown. Raymer is a very good player, but he didn’t show it in the Tournament of Champions, at least not at the end. He was pushing around the table pretty well up until then.

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