Phil Hellmuth was cool and collected, smiling and laughing on occasion as he fought a long heads up battle with Jacob Schwartz for his 16th bracelet. He won that honor for his first-place finish in the 2021 WSOP Event #31: No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Draw. You might think it would be easy for a guy who has been there fifteen times before, but if you know Phil, then you know how much these bracelets mean to him. And as soon as the final card fell he was out of his chair, hugging friends, cheering, and very emotional.
Hellmuth Defeats Schwartz In Long Heads Up Battle
Schwartz is a respected player with over three million dollars in winnings, but he was the only player in the final four of the event without a bracelet. In fact, he has four 2nd place finishes in his career, with only one win, a victory in an $1,100 turbo no-limit holdem event at the Seminole Hard Rock in 2016.
Hellmuth whittled away at his stack, picking off the occasional bluff but mostly getting value from his best hands, until they went on a 45-minute break with Hellmuth in a dominant chip position. There was very little media present at that point in what had been an otherwise slow media day, but by the time the players came back from break word had spread, and cameras and spectators filled the room.
No-Limit Deuce to Seven, or simply “single draw” is a lowball game played for the worst possible hand. The nuts is 75432 because aces play high and straights and flushes count against you. There is one round of betting before the draw and one after. Bluffing and calling down light are common and the game is known as a game where chips and guts mean more than cards.
When all the chips finally went in the middle, both players were drawing and Phil’s draw came in, giving him a nine-low while Schwartz paired his fours. Hellmuth grinned, then jumped up from the table and ran to the rail with his arms in the air to greet his wife, Mike Matusow, and others on the rail. He quickly came back to shake Schwartz’s hand and congratulate him on playing well.
An Emotional Win
Phil sat at the table with his head in his hands for a few moments before posing for photos, shaking hands with every fan in the stands, and calling friends in to be in the group photo. There is still much debate about who is the best poker player of all time, but Phil has certainly proven himself to be the best at the World Series Of Poker with sixteen bracelets, distancing himself from his nearest competition by an astounding six victories.
The win was Hellmuth’s smallest bracelet score by a fair amount at $84,851, but that didn’t make it any less important to him. “What did I tell you honey, I always wanted a deuce to seven bracelet!” Phil said. He went on to talk about how all the big names showed up to play this game, which he’s been playing since the eighties.
The field included 272 players. Many big name pros were involved including a stacked final table that included two-time bracelet winner Chris Vitch, three-time bracelet winner Rep Porter, and second place finisher in the 2019 main event Dario Sammartino. Lifetime winnings for the final eight was over fifty million dollars.
See below for a full photo gallery of the final table and Hellmuth’s celebration.