Whether Phil Hellmuth is the most obnoxious player in poker (his reputation) or the nicest (Phil’s own claim), one thing is certain: The Poker Brat is the game’s greatest tournament player. Phil has 15 World Series of Poker victories, while runners-up Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan and Phil Ivey have managed only ten each. Phil is also the clear winner when it comes to tournament meltdowns and put-downs, and the Poker Brat’s legendary outbursts make for wildly popular viewing on YouTube. Apparently, as far as the public is concerned, watching Phil berate some dim-witted rube is as enjoyable as seeing him take the guy’s money. When Phil’s not cashing in on the felt, he also does poker commentary, writes the occasional New York Times best-selling book, and even acts—the man was in Billions, for chrissakes! After hosting a HUSTLER photoshoot in his sweet Aria suite and the casino’s lavish poker room, the WSOP’s greatest-of-all-time zoomed us to talk winning bracelets, feuding with Kid Poker and transforming himself from a Wisconsin ugly duckling into the toast of the Las Vegas town.
HUSTLER: Let’s start with an easy one: Who’s the second-best poker player of all time?
PHIL HELLMUTH: Oh, well, if you’re giving me first-best, that’s generous.
I read you think that!
I think I’ve earned the title of greatest of all time, yes, in tournaments at least, but otherwise I think you’re talking about Doyle Brunson or Phil Ivey as two of the all-time greats.
But you really do consider yourself number one, right?