Phil Hellmuth opens up after bust-out: “I’m insecure, like everybody else on the planet”

Adam Hampton
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Posted on: January 12, 2024 6:56 am EST

With more WSOP bracelets than anyone else, close to $30 million in tournament winnings and a spot in the top 25 all-time money list, Phil Hellmuth has tasted more poker success than almost anyone. In conversations about who is the poker GOAT, his name and accomplishments cannot be ignored.

But greatness is no protection against feelings of insecurity, as the man himself explained to Natalie Bode after he was KO’d from the recent PGT Championship in 35th place.

“I want to show people that I’m still at the top of the top,” Hellmuth said. But you have to prove it too, and my results over the past three years are pretty phenomenal. But I have a massive chip on my shoulder, maybe it was the way I was raised; I was never great at sports, I was never great at anything, so I think there’s a part of me deep inside that’s insecure, even about my poker results and even though I know how good they are. And so I’m always bragging.

I’ve had three pretty good years, but I think even at this stage of my life, even with everything I’ve accomplished, there’s going to be some insecurity. And I think that’s just part of being a human being.”

Phil Hellmuth bracelet winners photo 2021
Hellmuth poses with his 2-7 Lowball bracelet, 2021

Hellmuth revealed that insecurities such as these are common among other top performers, including those in other fields whom he counts as friends.

“Doubt hits me, doubt hits all the greats in the sports that they play. I think that’s why Michael Jordan worked so hard, I think that’s why Tiger Woods worked so hard, and I’m lucky enough to hang out with those guys.”

So, next time you’re doubting your abilities, remember that you’re not alone; everyone, from the bottom to the very top, carries insecurity and doubt. You can’t shake it off and, in Hellmuth’s view, you shouldn’t try to.

“I think if you walk around thinking you’re the greatest all the time then you won’t improve, you won’t get better and you won’t focus…I walk around happy, 99% of the time, but here I am, laying my heart out: I’m insecure, like everybody else on the planet.”

You can find the full interview below, courtesy of PokerGO.

Images courtesy of PokerGO