The ‘Poker Brat’ Phil Hellmuth has proved once again why he’s considered one of the most prolific pro poker players of our time. With a record setting 13 WSOP bracelets under his belt, the 50 year old poker phenom took top honors at the annual Pittsburgh Poker Open at Rivers Casino in Pennsylvania, pocketing $54,414. The win marks Hellmuth’s first title-worthy live tournament victory of 2014.
The number 54 must be Hellmuth’s lucky number these days, striking thrice leading up to Hellmuth’s acceptance of the crystal trophy. Firstly, the Pittsburgh Poker Open attracted a field of exactly 254 players to the felt. Secondly, Hellmuth was awarded the 1st place prize of $54k. And Lastly, this win marked Phil Hellmuth’s 54th live tournament title; an impressive number that averages out to 2 title wins per annum over the Poker Brat’s 27yr, $18.28 million live pro poker career.
The Pittsburgh Poker Open is one of the most highly anticipated poker festivals in the northeastern region of the United States (outside of Atlantic City, NJ, at least). The tournament series lasted 19 days, encompassing 46 events, with the PPO Main Event (#39) being the highlight of the festival. The $120 buy-in and $75k GTD prize pool attracted 254 players to the Rivers Casino last Friday, wrapping up the action on the final table on Monday, November 17th.
Phil Hellmuth may be a prodigy of poker, but he wasn’t the only star poker pro to make the final table of the PPO Main Event that day. Before capturing the title, he first had to contend with the likes of esteemed card players like Matt Glantz, whose adept versatility has earned him over $5.7 million in live tournament cashes; Joseph Couden, who’s already taken down two major poker events this year at the WPT Borgata Open and Hollywood Poker Open; and 2x WSOP bracelet winner, David Baker.
As the final table whittled down, it was Baker who faced off with the Poker Brat in a heads-up duel for the beautiful crystal trophy, thanks to the respective 4th and 3rd place eliminations of Glantz and Couden. In the end, Baker earned $40,813 for the 2nd place finish as Hellmuth celebrated yet another title victory and $54,415 in the bank.
The Main Event of the Pittsburgh Poker Open wasn’t the only thing that drew Phil Hellmuth to the Rivers Casino, though. Prior to the live tournament series’ climatic finish, the American poker pro was seated around the felt of a high-stakes cash game table. He was joined by other celebrities and masters of the game, including 2x WSOP bracelet winner Greg Meuller and one of the most recognizable female poker players of our time, Academy Award nominated actress and 2005 WSOP Ladies Event winner, Jennifer Tilly. The table was being recorded for Season 2 of “Poke Night in America”, to be aired in an as-yet undisclosed, future episode. Portions of the PPO Main Event will also make the film reels of the popular CBS poker television series.