The 5 poker moments that shaped 2012: Hellmuth

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Jan 01, 2013 Posted in Op-Ed | No Comments »

hellmuthThere were a number of highlights (as well as a few lowlights) in the poker world this past year, but let’s face it, events like Greg Merson’s WSOP win, the emergence of poker in Asia, the hacking and subsequent lengthy hiatus for the 2+2 poker forum, or Greg Raymer’s four HPT titles aren’t going down in the poker history books. That being said, there were a handful of occurrences in 2012 that may find themselves written into the next history of the game, and in this series I’ll detail each of the poker moments that shaped poker in 2012.

Here is a look at the five stories that shaped poker during 2012, and will have some type of lasting effect on poker:

* Story #1: The Epic Poker League

* Story #2: The Relaunch of Full Tilt Poker

* Story #3: Phil Hellmuth’s 2013 tournament successes

* Story #4: PokerStars settles with the DOJ and purchases Full Tilt Poker

* Story #5: The Big One for One Drop

I have listed the events by how many lines I would give them if I were writing a comprehensive history of the game, which of course has to include the achievements of Phil Hellmuth.

Phil Hellmuth’s excellent adventure

In 2012 Phil Hellmuth cemented his legacy as the greatest WSOP player in the game’s history, which also makes him one of the greatest tournament players in poker history. Here is a brief look at Hellmuth’s recent tournament history, and once you see what he has done you’ll understand why his 2011/2012 performance will make the poker history books…

In 2011 Phil Hellmuth staked his claim as the greatest World Series of Poker player ever, and threw hisname into the conversation for the greatest tournament poker player of all-time, after a phenomenal 2011 World Series of Poker that saw the “Poker Brat” finish 2nd in three tournaments as well as in the Player of the Year standings. Perhaps more importantly, Hellmuth shed the moniker of a being purely a “Holdem” player, as his deep runs came in a variety of games, including the $50k Players Championship, considered one of the most skillful events in tournament poker.

In 2012 Hellmuth went a step farther and cemented his legacy as the best tournament player of all-time by winning a pair of WSOP bracelets, including the WSOP Europe Main Event. In the process Hellmuth finished 2nd in the Player of the Year race for the second consecutive year (an incredible feat considering the variance of tournament poker) and added to his WSOP legend by becoming the first player to win the WSOP Main Event (1989) and the WSOPE Main Event (2012). Had Hellmuth won the Big One for One Drop tournament (which netted Antonio Esfandiari $18 million) his records would bed off the charts –as it stands he had to settle for a third-place showing in the event.

Hellmuth’s WSOP records are near-mind-boggling, as he is the all-time leader in bracelets, final tables, cashes, and is also among the leaders in all-time earnings, despite never getting the multi-million boost like recent Main Event winners.

Hellmuth’s 2011 and 2012 will go down as the two year span that shut-up all of the naysayers (including yours truly just a few years ago) and put his name atop the all-time tournament poker players list.

Here is a quick look at Phil Hellmuth’s career accomplishments:

• 13 WSOP Bracelets (1st all-time)

• 94 Career WSOP Cashes (1st all-time)

• 50 Career Top 10 finishes at the WSOP (1st all-time)

• 1989 WSOP Main Event Winner

• 2012 WSOPE Main Event Winner

• 2006, 2011, and 2012 WSOP Player of the Year runner-up

• Inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2007

• 3rd on the All-Time Money List with over $17 million in tournament winnings

OTHER ENTRIES:

#1 – Epic Fail

#2 — FTP Relaunch

#3 — Hellmuth

#4 — Stars vs DOJ

#5 – One Drop

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