Phil Hellmuth is folding on his first coaching gig of a November Niner less than a week after the 14-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner announced the news.
Short stack Federico Butteroni has just 6.2 million chips heading into the final table beginning on November 8, or a measly 3.2 percent of the chips in play.
To ascend the leaderboard and make his way out of the cellar, Main Event rookie Butteroni will need all the help he can get.
His chances increased when it was revealed Hellmuth would coach the 25-year-old Italian for five days leading up to the nine finalists reconvening at the Rio in Las Vegas.
Unfortunately, Butteroni is back on his own, Hellmuth saying in a series of tweets that due to prior commitments with the WSOP and ESPN he simply doesn’t have the time.
“Thus I will not be coaching Frederico (sic) in @WSOP November Nine, but it will be fun to root for this nice guy w such a great story!”
Hellmuth is a globetrotting poker superstar, the Poker Brat and philanthropist routinely hosts charitable events that benefit a variety of worthy causes.
However, Hellmuth’s Midwest origins in Wisconsin are showing as the 51-year-old routinely called Federico “Fred-er-ico.”
It also calls into question how strong of a relationship Hellmuth and Butteroni ever had.
“He doesn’t have a lot of chips, but he thinks a lot like I do,” Hellmuth said during his announcing of the partnership on October 20. “He has a great story, and let’s see what happens… I need Frederico to run it up!”
Butteroni might have lost invaluable mentoring from the WSOP’s most decorated player, but he’s gaining support from a couple other poker legends.
Phil Gordon was kind enough to send the short stack his “Little Gold Book,” an instructional read that features “Advanced Lessons for Mastering Poker.” Butteroni tweeted it was a great privilege to receive the book from Gordon.
“Go get em my friend,” Gordon tweeted. “No doubt you will play very well and crush!”
Hellmuth and Gordon both sending good vibes toward Butteroni is certainly more than the rest of the November Nine are receiving. And on top of those two celebrities, poker’s all-time money leader Daniel Negreanu is also coming to the Italian’s defense.
Many online have accused Butteroni of excessive tanking as coverage from July’s Main Event is currently airing on ESPN.
“Lots of hate for Butteroni tanking and it’s totally inaccurate and unfair,” Kid Poker said in a tweet. “I’m the first to call people out for excessive tanking and Butteroni is just not guilty.”
With just 16 big blinds left heading into the action in less than two weeks, Butteroni will have limited time to tank unless he quickly wins a few hands.
Nearly 57 million chips behind big stack Joe McKeehen, the road up the leaderboard will be long one for Federico.
The road off the Main Event leaderboard, however, could be a very quick exit.