Phil Hellmuth Butchers Ace King, Goes on Tilt, but Reminds Us Why He’s a Good Guy

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Phil Hellmuth Butchers Ace King, Goes on Tilt, but Reminds Us Why He’s a Good Guy

This week’s Twittertainment poses two very important questions: should you fold Ace King pre-flop in a cash game, and is Phil Hellmuth a terrible cash game player?

There are, of course, no right or wrong answers. However, judging by the talk on Twitter this week, the answers to those two questions are no and yes, respectively. Anyone who’s played poker knows that A-K can be a tricky hand. 

It’s right up there among the best pre-flop poker hands, but it’s also an unmade hand. Therefore, if the action gets too out of control and you miss the board, it can cost you a lot of money. As old-school gamblers used to call it, A-K is the slow walk back to Houston. 

Why? Because someone who risked it all with A-K and lost wouldn’t have enough money to get a train back to Houston. Of course, playing A-K aggressively can pay off. Even if you miss the board, it’s often strong enough to beat an average random hand, particularly in a loose cash game. 

All pros know this, even Hellmuth. He appeared on the latest episode of Hustler Casino Live and, as usual, got people talking. But, in a break from the norm, people weren’t talking about Hellmuth’s penchant for petulant outbursts. 

This time, the self-style Poker Brat went viral for folding A-K. That isn’t necessarily a bad move in a vacuum, but the context is important. As noted by various poker pros, including Max Silver, Hellmuth had 22 big blinds in the $100/$200/$400 cash game. 

Phil Hellmuth Folds Ace King

Hellmuth was facing a three-bet, and any move would have committed him to the pot. For that reason, we assume he decided discretion was the better part of valor. In Silver’s opinion, A-K in that spot is a golden opportunity to get all the money in and try to win a big pot. 

He made that opinion clear on Twitter. Silver’s tweet also took a swipe at Hellmuth’s usual strategy of buying into cash games short (something he didn’t do on this episode of Hustler Casino Live).

Silver wasn’t the only one who thought Hellmuth made a mistake. Alan Kavanagh called the fold “embarrassing,” while @powertsp offered a more sarcastic reply.

“He knew he was going to be beat post-flop,” @powertsp tweeted. 

Things went from bad to worse for Hellmuth during the latest episode of Hustler Casino Live. The people behind the show, Ryan Feldman and Nick Vertucci, put out a highlight reel of Hellmuth’s biggest blow-ups during Monday’s stream. 

The King of Wishful Thinking

It’s fair to say he did get unlucky in a few spots, but it’s the reactions that seem to frustrate viewers. Indeed, if you watch the first hand in the video below, you can hear Hellmuth say one of his favorite words “if.” 



Players at the table quickly jumped on his rant, calling him “not credible anymore.” People in the comments section of the video were also unimpressed with Hellmuth’s antics during the stream. Full Tilt Frankie said he doesn’t recall seeing “Phil win in a cash game,” while Sunny Kang said the video is the “best poker comedy.”

Even Daniel Negreanu couldn’t resist taking a shot at Hellmuth when he claimed to have played perfectly with king-high, only to lose because his opponent had a set. Did he misread his hand by calling on the river with nothing or was it a next-level play? Whatever the reason, Negreanu enjoyed watching it. 


In a case of jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire, Hellmuth remained the talk of Twitter following his appearance on another cash game. This time, Hellmuth anted up at the Bicycle Casino in LA for Live at the Bike. Despite the new location, his luck didn’t change and, midway through the game, he quit after losing $194,000. 

Hellmuth Gets on His Bike and Leaves

There’s no obligation to stay in a cash game for any length of time, but Hellmuth’s unexpected exit meant that Kevin Martin, aka KMart, missed out on an opportunity to play. The game had essentially been built around Hellmuth, so his exit meant Martin was no longer able to join. 

He tweeted as much when he heard the news. As well as explaining he’d been invited by Hellmuth, Martin said that he’d already paid for a flight to LA, booked a hotel, and raked up $100,000 to play. In his words, it was a “big f***ing L” for Hellmuth.

The good news, however, is that Hellmuth is a man of principle. He might be prone to tantrums at the poker table, but he’s a good man at heart. 

In fact, most people in poker know this. There’s Phil Hellmuth on camera, and there’s Phil Hellmuth the man. The latter is always willing to help others, particularly rookies. 

Phil Hellmuth Makes It Right 

As such, Martin will get his chance to play Hellmuth. Not only that, Hellmuth has promised to pay Martin’s expenses. 

We can all laugh at Hellmuth when he goes on tilt. We can even poke fun at some of the moves he makes. However, we can’t forget that he’s won more WSOP bracelets than anyone in history. He also proved he’s a decent heads-up player in PokerGO’s High Stakes Duel format. 

Beyond all these things, he’s a decent person. He may be prone to outbursts, but he almost always rights his wrongs. So, even though he made more than a few mistakes this week, Hellmuth is still one of the most popular people in poker. 

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