Phil Hellmuth to Pay for Player’s WSOP Entry Following Four-Letter Tirade

July 9th, 2018 | by Jason Reynolds

Phil Hellmuth has caused uproar at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) after a four-letter tirade crossed the line of etiquette during the $10,000 Main Event.

Phil Hellmuth

Phil Hellmuth blows up during a critical hand in the $10,000 WSOP Main Event. (Image: PokerGo/WSOP)

The incident in question took place late on Day 2C and played out live on PokerGo’s live stream. As shown, Hellmuth was put in a tricky spot with pocket sevens on a 4♦3♦T♠ board by James Campbell.

After an initial bet from Alex Kuzmin, Hellmuth made a min-raise to 6,000 chips before Campbell moved all-in for 26,200 with A♦9♦. Despite the action being on Kuzmin, the Poker Brat lost his cool and proceeded to air his thoughts on the hand and his all-in opponent.

Emotions Run High for Hellmuth

While expletives were being hurled in the direction of Campbell, Kuzmin remained stoic before making the call. A fold from Hellmuth elicited another foul-mouthed outburst as he saw that both players only had a draw.

Eventually, a 2♠ on the turn gave Kuzmin a pair and enough of a hand to send Campbell to the rail. Phil Hellmuth blowups are nothing new at the WSOP, but the manner in which the hand played out caused a wave of negative reactions from spectators.

Commentator Shaun Deeb was the first to suggest a penalty was in order before Doug Polk gave his take via his YouTube channel. Analyzing the action, Polk suggested that Hellmuth’s comments essentially signaled to Kuzmin that he wasn’t going to call the all-in.

Assuming this is true, Kuzmin is more likely to call because he knows he won’t face any return action from Hellmuth. The end result is that Campbell lost some fold equity in a spot where he may have otherwise expected to see both players to release their hands.

Beef Quashed but Can of Worms Remains Open

Sleeping on the incident, Hellmuth returned the following day and issued an apology to Campbell. Talking it through with Pokernews reporter Sarah Herring, the leading WSOP bracelet winner admitted he was out of line.

“I was tired, excuse. He’d given me a little needle, excuse. I was out of line. Last night I didn’t sleep well because I felt bad for having too much emotion in it. I truly don’t think it affected the outcome of the hand because either the other guy was calling or I was,” Hellmuth told Herring on July 7.

In tandem with his apology, the Aria Casino ambassador made a gesture of goodwill to firefighter and poker player Campbell.

“@JCamby33 I lost some sleep over my outburst. I believe you lose the hand anyway, but maybe I am wrong. You handled yourself well and played well.  As a gesture of goodwill, and because I respect policeman and firefighters: I’m going to buy you into 2019 $10,000 @WSOP Main Event,” Hellmuth tweeted on July 8.

Although the issue has been resolved amicably, the question of enforcing rules at the WSOP has come into question. Polk and others have pointed out that talking about a hand in a three-way pot is explicitly banned in the official WSOP rules.

However, with online and TV broadcasts actively pushing for vocal players like Hellmuth to be on screen, it could be argued that situations like this are a natural consequence of wanting ratings.


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