3 months ago I was from the school of poker that loved to see Phil Hellmuth lose, carefully edited television coverage (and occasional childishness from the Brat) made us all believe that we could go to Vegas and beat Phil and put him on tilt.
Then I interviewed him a couple of months back and……well, nothing had really changed much. He was a very nice guy but he still managed to tell me he was the greatest player of all time before I had asked him much, I still thought he wasn’t as good as he thinks he is.
I’m not sure exactly what it is that’s changed, I certainly hope its not to do with the fact that I have his phone number in my mobile, but I really want him to destroy the WSOP this year. The introduction of so many stud/razz/Omaha/hi lo games this year seems a cynical way to ensure a pro gets a bracelet and to an extent the hold’em events are ‘expected’ to be won by nobodies.
Maybe by doing so well so far in the huge NLHE fields in some way has restored my faith in the pro vs the field. Perhaps its because its nice to see somebody I’ve heard of at the final tables and that makes poker a more enjoyable spectator sport. If Phil could win another bracelet or maybe make the final of the big one then surely this is can be our ‘for’ argument in the is poker a game of skill argument that we all have at times. That a pro can win the main event before and after he poker boom and that it doesnt matter that there is 100 or 10,000 players, as long as you beat your table.
He would of course, be unbearable if he actually won the big one, but maybe poker needs that? Moneymaker, Raymer and Gold all seem to have been one hit wonders and although Joe Hachem has proved his is a genuine champion of the sport; perhaps we need the Poker Brat to raise the bar for the large field generation of poker.
Phil is 7-1 to place higher in the main event than any previous champion; I think that is the safest bet to take this year at the series.