Poker fans who were hoping to see Phil Hellmuth roll out some apex-predator tricks over the weekend were disappointed. Most of us expected to see him play the two $25,000 PokerGO Cup events at the Aria. Instead, Hellmuth went out on the town.
On one night this weekend, he hit up Steve Aoki’s DJ booth at the brand new Resorts World Last Vegas. On the other, he watched Dustin Poirier knock all eight bells out of Conor McGregor. While this might seem a case of Phil conducting his balling as usual, it was hard not to notice that these activities kept him away from the PokerGO studio at the Aria.
The two PokerGO Cup $25ks on July 10 and 11 would have been the perfect double-bill. They would have kicked off Hellmuth’s bet against Daniel Negreanu in style.
This bet saw Daniel Negreanu put $400,000 up against Hellmuth’s $200,000. The bet was this: Negreanu pays up if Phil can turn any profit over the next fifty $25,000-buy-in events that he plays at the Aria. If Phil fails to make a profit, he compounds his losses by coughing up the $200k to DNegs.
These $25ks are all small-field events against hardened tournament pros. They would constitute a real test of Hellmuth’s skill.
Hellmuth tweeted more photos from the DJ booth in just a couple hours last night than he has from the poker table in weeks. The series of pics started with the caption: “Vegas is SLAMMED! Hopped into DJ booth a few minutes before my boy @SteveAoki arrives.”
His Twitter tells a pretty uniform story from there.
How the Aria bet came to be
Hellmuth used his downtime during the pandemic to beef up his investment portfolio. He also spent the time finding new companies to shill for, ranging from crypto-corps to energy drinks.
Occasionally he put his head out from the woodwork to gnaw on Antonio Esfandiari‘s bankroll in High Stakes Duel. After the success of that show, he followed it up by doing the same to Daniel Negreanu‘s roll in High Stakes Duel II.
Negreanu and Hellmuth made the Aria bet while Negreanu was still digesting his sour grapes. Hellmuth really got the broom out for their Heads Up Duel, costing Negreanu $350,000.
Negreanu laid $400,000 to $200,000 that Hellmuth would not be able to turn a profit over fifty $25,000 buy-in Aria events. So Hellmuth was almost freerolling against his friend.
Negreanu announced the bet on Twitter. “Bet offered and accepted: “I’m laying $400k to @phil_hellmuth $200k that over 50 $25k buy-in @AriaLV tournaments that Hellmuth will end up in the red,” Negreanu wrote. “If he shows a $1 profit he wins the bet.”
Hellmuth has taken care to attend as many of the live events in Vegas as he could in the last couple of weeks. He played the Venetian events with an iPad out so he wouldn’t miss playing even more poker. Hellmuth hasn’t missed a PokerGO cup event until this weekend either.
Phil tweeted from Event #2 — a $10k that does not count towards the bet. “Hopped into @PokerGo “PokerGo Cup” event #2,” he wrote. “$10K buy-in No Lim Hold ’em at the PokerBoss’s (Cary Katz) table at the studio next door to @AriaLV Cary has been GREAT for the poker world!! I’m also Playing @WSOP Online Tourney: two tourneys same time.”
Yet, when the big event came round — the one that would kick off his bragging rights bet with DNegs — he was nowhere to be found. It looks an awful lot like Hellmuth’s body might be trying to cancel the check his mouth wrote.
It would have been a stylish start: a double bill of $25k events.
Both the final tables live-streamed on PokerGO with illustrious company on every felt. The final table for Event #6: PokerGO Cup 2021 $25,000 No Limit Hold ’em ended up being: John Riordan, Jason Koon, Thomas Winters, Steve Zolotow, Anuj Agarwal, and Cary Katz.
Meanwhile, Event #5: PokerGO Cup 2021 $25,000 No Limit Hold ’em, from the day before topped that with a final table of: Jake Schindler, Davids Coleman and Peters, Stephen Chidwick, Sean Winter, and Hellmuth’s nemesis himself — Daniel Negreanu.
Hellmuth has made a cautious return to live poker after the pandemic. He seems to respect the coronavirus and wants to give it as much room as possible. But his live appearances are gaining momentum. It’ll only be a matter of time before we see him back in action.
So we are back to waiting on the Aria bet to start. The casino’s regular high-roller events will come around again soon. Though whether or not Hellmuth will be at them remains to be seen.
Featured image source: Flickr by WPT