Phil Hellmuth on Wife Swap? According to the Poker Brat, it’s a scenario that ABC viewers could very well have seen on their television sets this season, had the plan not been scuttled by another member of the Hellmuth clan: his better half.
Hellmuth took to Twitter early Wednesday morning to announce the offer, while also saying that Phil’s wife Katherine had nixed the idea before it could happen.
“Have an offer to be on ABC television show ‘Wife Swap,’ but wife won’t do it!” tweeted Hellmuth. “Though I’m SURE she would look amazing! #WifeIsAwesome”
For those unfamiliar with the program, Wife Swap is a reality television program in which two families (usually with very different lifestyles) swap their matriarchs for two weeks. Given that the exchanges are designed to put very different people into close contact with each other, the new moms (or, occasionally, dads) often clash with their adopted families before everyone learns a heartwarming lesson or two about family. Unless, as sometimes happens, everyone ends the show hating the people they were forced to live with.
Had they participated, the Hellmuths would have been far from the only celebrities to take part in the show. In fact, three seasons of a Celebrity Wife Swap spin-off have aired on ABC as well, featuring actors, athletes, and musicians, among other celebrities who have had their lives turned upside down for the sake of the show.
Even though he won’t be showing up on Wife Swap, though, Phil Hellmuth is no stranger to the spotlight. Since first gaining a small amount of fame when he became (at the time) the youngest person ever to win the World Series of Poker Main Event in 1989, he developed a much wider following due to his infamous antics and blowups at the poker table.
That notoriety made him one of the few poker pros with true appeal to mainstream media outlets, allowing him several opportunities to appear on television shows and in advertisements. Hellmuth has most recently been seen in a television commercial for Carl’s Jr. that had nothing to do with poker, in which Hellmuth takes a bite out of the enormous “Texas BBQ Thickburger.”
As a poker pro, not a pitchman, Phil Hellmuth has a record 13 WSOP bracelets and has cashed in 100 WSOP events, reaching the final table in 50 of them. He stands seventh on the all-time tournament money list, having won over $18.2 million in his career.
Poker Players as TV Celebrities
While Phil Hellmuth may be used to the spotlight, an appearance on Wife Swap would have pushed his family further into the limelight than ever before. Phil’s wife, Katherine Sanborn, is a psychiatrist at Stanford University. The couple have two sons: Philip III and Nicholas.
Other poker players have also been known to make appearances on reality television in the past. Jean-Robert Bellande took a turn on Survivor, while Maria Ho was part of The Amazing Race. The tag team of Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Laak also have experience in this arena, having been the stars of I Bet You for two seasons.
More recently, the duo filmed a pilot for a Discovery Channel program called Underground Poker, though it is unclear if this will be picked up as a series.