Was following a couple of tournaments yesterday, even “multi-tabling” the WSOP.com live streams on both by laptop and desktop in order to see the final tables of Event No. 17 ($10,000 pot-limit hold’em) and Event No. 18 ($2,500 razz).
Both were of particular interest, of course, thanks to the presence of the two Phils -- Ivey and Hellmuth. Ivey had made his second final table of this year’s WSOP, ultimately finishing second to Andy Frankenberger in the $10K PLH. And as you no doubt have read somewhere else by now, Hellmuth managed to win the razz event, outlasting a final table that included Barry Greenstein, Scott Fischman, and Brandon Cantu to earn his record-extending 12th WSOP bracelet.
Interestingly, Ivey -- who has eight bracelets -- was going for his first hold’em bracelet last night. Ivey’s others have been won in pot-limit Omaha (twice), seven-card stud hi-low, seven-card stud, Omaha/stud hi-low, 2-7 NL draw, S.H.O.E., and H.O.R.S.E. Meanwhile, Hellmuth was winning his first non-hold’em bracelet after having won 11 in either limit hold’em (three times), pot-limit hold’em (once), or no-limit hold’em (seven times).
Here’s Lynn Gilmartin interviewing Hellmuth after his win for PokerNews:
The Poker Brat sounds almost humble at times, mentioning his own good play -- and in particular, his patience -- although also noting how some good fortune played a role in his victory, too. He frequently compliments his opponents as well, especially Don Zewin who gave him a tough battle heads-up. Zewin is a long-time player who has tangled with Hellmuth often in the past, including finishing third at the 1989 WSOP Main Event that Hellmuth won. Kind of an amazing reprise for those two, if you think about it.
Lynn also asked Hellmuth to comment on Ivey’s simultaneous second-place finish, and Hellmuth noted how the way the night played out caused a “big swing in the bracelet race,” with Hellmuth now four ahead of Ivey. Of course, if Ivey had won and Hellmuth come up short, the gap would be two. Referring to Ivey, Hellmuth says to Gilmartin that “I know he wants to race me to 25.”
In between Hellmuth (12) and Ivey (8) on the WSOP bracelet leaderboard are Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan with 10 bracelets each, and Johnny Moss with nine. Like Ivey, Erik Seidel has eight. Hellmuth has already cashed four times this summer, Ivey three times. Have to imagine both will be adding still more deep runs to their respective WSOP résumés before this year is through.
Fun stuff for poker fans. And with Hellmuth and Ivey doing well, people like Frankenberger and Matt Matros winning bracelets again, and other consistent winners like Andy Bloch, John Monnette, and Brian Hastings all doing well and winning, the results appear to be confirming over and again the importance of skill in tournament poker.
Will be enjoying this last quiet week, for sure, before heading west. Still, such performances and the accompanying stories are definitely making me look forward to going out, too.