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Phil Hellmuth adds to record with 17th WSOP bracelet

Updated July 2, 2023 - 4:05 pm

Phil Hellmuth watched a handful of poker’s old guard make waves this summer at the World Series of Poker.

Then, as he is wont to do, the “Poker Brat” topped them all.

Hellmuth won the $10,000 buy-in Super Turbo Bounty No-Limit Hold’em event early Sunday at Paris Las Vegas for his record 17th WSOP bracelet, awarded for tournament victories.

“I’m feeling pretty good,” Hellmuth told WSOP.com. “I must have a smile just fixed to my face.”

The single-day tournament drew 642 entries, and Hellmuth defeated Justin Zaki after one hand of heads-up play to win the $803,818 first prize, plus more in bounties received for each player he eliminated.

Hellmuth, whose last bracelet came in 2021, put even more distance between himself and his next-closest competitors on the all-time bracelet list. The late Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan and Phil Ivey each own 10 WSOP bracelets.

At one point in the tournament, Hellmuth was down to two big blinds, but returned from a break and spun up his chip stack.

“I had jacks hold up against ace-king for three million each,” Hellmuth said. “Any potential luck that I was complaining about I received more than (enough).”

Ivey was eliminated in sixth place ($133,461) by Hellmuth, who held pocket aces. On the final hand against Zaki, Hellmuth flopped two pair and called his opponent’s all-in bet. Hellmuth improved to a full house on the turn, and Zaki didn’t hit his one out on the river.

Zaki took home $496,801 for second place.

Hellmuth cashed in nine previous tournaments during this WSOP but had yet to make a final table until Sunday.

“You know, maybe part of the reason I busted the Pot-limit Omaha was to come and win this. You know, maybe part of the reason I busted the deuce-to-seven (event) was so I could get rest,” Hellmuth said.

“This is the first year of my career that all the great players called me great or the greatest. Shaun Deeb is one of the greatest players in the world. He finally understands and was giving me compliments like, ‘You’re the best player in the tournament.’”

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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