Phil Hellmuth was absolutely on fire as he captured his first PokerGO Major Title and first U.S. Poker Open title in U.S. Poker Open Event #5: $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em. Hellmuth eliminated five of his six opponents at the final table on his route to the $211,200 first place prize.
"It's nice, you know after last year," Hellmuth said about his first win in the PokerGO Studio. "Last year I had two seconds and a fourth in the U.S. Poker Open. I don't play that many tournaments here, but if you look at like the last ten tournaments I played here at the studio, it's pretty crazy. I think I have four final tables in ten events. Now people are gonna say that's not true but it's pretty easy to check."
Hellmuth credited his superior reading ability for the win, saying that it was something that still carries him in all of his tournaments.
"I have something," he said. "I have this thing called reading ability. And a lot of the younger generation doesn't understand that. They see me make these plays and they're like, 'That's a bad play. That's a bad play.' But if you know that they can't call then I feel like it's a great play. Sometimes they don't give me enough credit, so it's kind of nice."
Starting the day fourth in chips, Hellmuth would have to use that superior reading ability to do some work to do on his path to victory, but after a few early hands went his way, he picked up a chip lead that he would never relinquish. It was complete domination by Hellmuth who never seemed to lose a hand.
Darren Elias was the first elimination at the final table when he moved all in with his ace-five suited over a three-bet from Jeremey Ausmus. Ausmus quickly called with his ace-king suited and flopped a king to take down the massive pot and further his chip lead. But from there on, it was the Phil Hellmuth show.
Hellmuth would eliminate the next three players at the final table, starting with U.S. Poker Open Event #4 winner Allan Le. Le moved his short stack all in with ace-queen and couldn't outrace Hellmuth's pocket sevens. Aram Oganyan would be the next to fall, when he three-bet and called with ace-queen against Hellmuth's four-bet jam with ace-king suited. Hellmuth held again to send Oganyan to the rail. The pot would give Hellmuth the chip lead and he would never look back.
George Wolff would be Hellmuth's third victim of the day when he moved his final 17 big blinds all in with ace-queen suited and found a call from Hellmuth's ace-jack. It looked like Wolff was in a good position to double up, but Hellmuth found a jack on the turn to turn the tides. Hellmuth's heater continued as he held through the river to scoop another pot.
Jesse Lonis and Jeremy Ausmus would exchange double ups and swap chip stacks twice before Lonis ran into the Hellmuth buzzsaw. Lonis jammed all in on the button with ace-three and Hellmuth called in the big blind with king-jack. Hellmuth would once again outflop his opponent, finding a king on the board, and hold on to secure his fourth elimination of the day.
The day ended with fireworks as Hellmuth found a way to win in the most unbelieveable way. In the final hand, Aumus limped in with queen-ten and Hellmuth checked his option in the big blind with six-deuce suited. Hellmuth checked dark and the flop brought him a flush while Ausmus found top pair and a draw to a better flush. Ausmus bet, Hellmuth check-raised, and Ausmus re-raised, clicking it back. Hellmuth then moved all in and Ausmus didn't waste much time making the call.
It was all over when Hellmuth found a deuce of clubs on the turn though, giving him the unbeateable straight flush. That would earn him his first U.S. Poker Open title, his first PokerGO Major Title, and the first-place prize of $211,200.
"Jeremy is a classy guy," Hellmuth said about his heads-up opponent. "And I like him a lot. He called me out on social media for being a little bit too bratty, but he was fucking right. But no there was no revenge. I was keenly aware that I finished second to him in the $50,000 Pot-Limit Omaha, because he had no chips. And he won like thirteen all-ins in a row or something. So I knew he would be tough."
The win is Hellmuth's first in the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas and brings his total live tournament earnings to $28,660,794 according to TheHendonMob.com. The win also marks Hellmuths 71st recorded live tournament win.
"You know I read a tweet where someone said, 'It's nice to play with the legends I grew up watching,' And they mentioned Erik and Daniel," Hellmuth said refereing to Erik Seidel and Daniel Negreanu. "And I was like, I just finished twelfth that day. The problem is I can't complain because 99% of the world thinks I'm the all-time great or one of the all-time greats.
"And within poker they're always trying to slice it. 'Phil's only the greatest at the World Series... He's only...' But if you look at the number of tournaments I've played in the last two years, sixty tournaments, I think I have fifteen final tables. Which is phenomenal. No one else has that record. But here I am bragging. And you know it's frustrating because I'd rather have somebody brag for me."
After the win, Hellmuth handed over the Golden Eagle trophy to PokerGO President Mori Eskandani.
"Mori said, 'Hey! Can I have the trohpy?'" Hellmuth explained. "And I'm like 'Hell yeah, you can have the trohpy!' And I didn't hesitate. It was just perfect to give it to him. I was trying to figure out what I was going to do with it. Whether I was going to leave it here or back to my room and put it in my suitcase. See I love Mori. And to me that puts a smile on my face. Cus he said he loves eagles. And Mori is a fucking great human being. Great human being. The poker world knows this. But I love Mori, so it was pretty cool to just hand it to him."
With the victory, Hellmuth earned 211 PGT points which put him in sixth place on the U.S. Poker Open Leaderboard behind Sam Soverel, and place him just outside of the qualifying top 40 on the overall PGT leaderboard in 41st place. He'll have some work to do in order to make the season ending PGT Championship $1,000,000 freeroll which awards seats to the top 40 points earners over the course of the season.
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