The LAPC at the Commerce is one of the longest events in poker and Phil Hellmuth booked ten days of action at the Commerce for a “WSOP training camp.” The series offers the players mixed games and the $1,100 Omaha HiLo event came down to a classic heads-up match between Hellmuth and Mike Matusow.

Hellmuth picked up $25,200 for the win for the opportunity to spar with Matusow. “He was known as the best Omaha Eight or Better players in the world,” Hellmuth said. “He’s certainly one of the best now. He’s actually won like $60,000 playing $40/$80 online poker in the last two months in Omaha Eight or Better – that’s a lot of bets.”

Hellmuth doesn’t play many tournaments outside of the World Series of Poker. “Since July I played in four tournaments until the LAPC,” he said. “It was a last minute decision to come here, primarily to practice tourneys and discuss advanced strategy and tactics with Brandon Cantu for 10 days.”

“This is a WSOP training camp for Cantu and I,” Hellmuth added. “Miami John (Cernuto) and Mike joined our advanced discussions on Omaha Eight or Better and Stud Eight or Better strategies and I have learned from them.”

Matusow had a feeling that they would be the final two playing for the win. “Even though he was short on chips, Mike told me we would be heads-up when there were 18 players left,” said Hellmuth. “When we hit five-handed, he and I had a ton of chips – at four-handed it looked like it would be Mikey versus me.”

The field of 72 players came down to Hellmuth and Matusow with the former holding better than 2-1 chip advantage. They jabbed each other back and forth at each other until Matusow had one of his blowups about an hour into play.


Barring the blowup, Hellmuth said he took away a lot of good energy from the event and enjoys the work at the tables. “We have reads and I never underestimate anyone at the tables,” he said. “With age comes advantages and disadvantages – the advantage is less tilting, more calmness and maturity.”

“You’re more comfortable with yourself,” said Hellmuth. “Doyle is in his eighties and still crushing in Bobby’s Room.”

Matusow was not so zen about the match.