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Phil Hellmuth's Bracelet Record is Even More Impressive Than You Realized

July 03, 2023
phil hellmuth wsop poker

Phil Hellmuth now has 17 World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets, seven more than anyone else. He's won enough bracelets to likely hold onto that record throughout his lifetime. But he'll almost certainly tack on some more before he calls it a career.

The record alone is tournament poker's greatest accomplishment, and yet there's so much more to his WSOP resume than perhaps you even knew. Take, for starters, the fact that he's the only player to win bracelets in five separate decades (1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, and 2020s) and one of two players, along with Josh Arieh, to win at all three host venues (Binion's, Rio, and Bally's/Horseshoe).

Poker Legend Setting WSOP Records

Phil Hellmuth wsop poker
Phil Hellmuth

On Sunday morning after the sun had risen above the Las Vegas desert, the "Poker Brat" took down Event #72: $10,000 Super Turbo Bounty for $803,818, extending a record he's held, and added on to, for more than a decade.

Hellmuth beat Justin Zaki in a one-hand heads-up match, the 17th different opponent he's defeated to cap off a bracelet run. Zaki is without a bracelet, as are seven others who fell prey to Hellmuth's tournament-style heads-up prowess. But among his 17 victims are four Hall of Famers, a two-time world champion, and Mike Gorodinsky.

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He's done it in five different poker variants — razz, no-limit hold'em, limit hold'em, pot-limit hold'em, no-limit 2-7. To put that in perspective, there are only 35 other players all-time who've won five or more bracelets, total.

Hellmuth has won the Main Event in Las Vegas (1989) and the WSOP Europe Main Event (2012). In 1989, at age 24, the Wisconsin native shocked the world when he defeated two-time defending champion Johnny Chan to win poker's most glorified annual tournament, h4is first bracelet. Even he couldn't have known at the time that 34 years later he'd be celebrating his record-extending 17th title.

The Poker Hall of Famer's WSOP heads-up foes have a combined 37 bracelets, barely twice as many as he's won alone. If you take away Chan, his first victim, the opponents have just 27 bracelets among his last 16 titles. Among the legends he defeated to win a bracelet include Negreanu, Chan, T.J. Cloutier, and Tom McEvoy.

But, Wait, There's More!

The naysayers used to say he can't win outside of hold'em. Then he won two razz bracelets and a no-limit 2-7 event, and in 2021 set the record for most final table appearances in a single WSOP (7), most in non-hold'em games.

He was also once said to rack up bracelets in small field events, which isn't even true as he's won four WSOP events that had over 400 players, including a $1,500 no-limit hold'em tournament in 2007 that had 2,628 entrants.

Hellmuth is the only player in history who has dominated at the WSOP over four or more decades. Just about every tournament grinder has a shelf life on greatness at the World Series of Poker. Well, except for Phil Hellmuth, it seems.

It isn't easy to win a bracelet. Phil Ivey, Daniel Negreanu, and Mike Matusow — three poker legends who play as many events annually as nearly anyone — have combined for exactly zero WSOP wins since 2014. Hellmuth's won four times over that period, and he's older than all three of those great players.

It's not only the bracelets on Hellmuth's WSOP resume that prove his greatness. In total, the former world champ has 197 cashes in bracelet events, trailing only Negreanu (228) and Roland Israelashvili (200). But if online bracelet event cashes were excluded, Hellmuth would top the charts (173).

Beyond holding the bracelet record, he's also first in runner-up finishes at the WSOP with 14. And for those who say he can't compete in the high rollers, three of those second place finishes came in $25,000 or higher buy-in tournaments. The "Poker Brat" has reached a total of 75 final tables at the WSOP in his lifetime, another record, an average of better than two per year for the past 35 years.

Hellmuth became great at a young age and has continued to dominate in the most prestigious poker series for 35 years now. There's no one else in history who has performed at a high-level at the WSOP for longer than a 30-year span. Not even Doyle Brunson, who was mostly a cash game player this century.

Love him or despise his antics at the poker table, there's simply no denying the greatness of Phil Hellmuth and the fact he's the G.O.A.T. of the World Series of Poker.

Phil Hellmuth's World Series of Poker Bracelets

1989$10,000 WSOP Main Event$755,000
1992Event #8: $5,000 Limit Hold'em$188,000
1993Event #7: $2,500 No-Limit Hold'em$173,000
1993Event #8: $1,500 No-Limit Hold'em$161,400
1993Event #9: $5,000 Limit Hold'em$138,000
1997Event #15: $3,000 Pot-Limit Hold'em$204,000
2001Event #3: $2,000 No-Limit Hold'em$316,550
2003Event #12: $2,500 Limit Hold'em$171,400
2003Event #32: $3,000 No-Limit Hold'em$410,860
2006Event #34: $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em$631,863
2007Event #15: $1,500 No Limit Hold'em$637,25
2012Event #18: $2,500 Seven Card Razz$182,793
2012WSOPE €10,000 Main Event€1,022,376 ($1,333,841)
2015Event #17: $10,000 Razz Championship$271,105
2018Event #71: $5,000 No Limit Hold’em$485,082
2021Event #31: $1,500 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw$84,851
2023Event #72: $10,000 Super Turbo Bounty$803,818