Phil Hellmuth is not the 2021 WSOP Player of the Year. At least, not as the VELO leaderboards call it. That honor went to Josh Arieh. Arieh took down the WSOP player of the year award after some last-minute complexities over the calculations.
Arieh’s run was astounding: twelve cashes, seven of which were final tables. Two of those final tables resulted in bracelets for Arieh. The twelve cashes included online events, mixed games, big bets, and small bets.
All the way through the series. Arieh’s closest competition in the Player of the Year race was Phil Hellmuth, who took second place.
For comparison to Arieh’s performance, Phil’s stats were: ten cashes, seven final tables, and one bracelet. Hellmuth’s record was more varied than Arieh’s — eight variants in ten games — but he still fell just short of the coveted prize.
There are constants and variables in this world, Hellmuth losing with grace is one of the latter.
At 12:25 AM, PST, he tweeted his congratulations to Arieh.
“Congrats @golferjosh [Josh Arieh] on winning @WSOP Player of the Year,” he wrote. “You won two bracelets, made several final tables and CRUSHED it. If I had to finish second in POY, I’m happy that it was to a class guy, a nice guy, and a great player #POSITIVITY”
Hellmuth managed to hold it together publicly for about half an hour after that. His second reaction tweet was a little more Hellmuthian.
Who is the WSOP Player of the Year?
A well-adjusted person would be proud of his record on its own merits, POY or not. But you don’t get to play on Phil Hellmuth’s level by being well-adjusted. Losing hurts, and second place is just first of the losers.
Shaun Deeb was the man who had the good luck of telling Arieh he’d won and chatted to Phil at the time.
“Got to give the call to [Josh Arieh] to say he officially won,” Deeb tweeted. “Even better a steamed up @phil_hellmuth can by during call to bitch wish I had video.”
It isn’t as if Hellmuth’s frustrations aren’t justified. Phil has been here before. This is his fourth runner-up spot in the POY rankings. He is, after all, the self-proclaimed best in the world and was playing his hottest streaks since 1989, and he still couldn’t quite close the deal.
Deeb’s tweet falls between Hellmuth’s two reaction posts.
At 1:02 AM, PST, Hellmuth followed up his congratulatory note up with a surprisingly self-aware and understated mini-Jeremiad.
“Second again, sigh…” he wrote. “I officially finished 2nd in @WSOP “Player of the Year” for FOURTH time. I’m feeling really down. I’m aware that I had a really good WSOP, but only 1 bracelet… I’m aware that second place 4x in POY is a testament. But, I can’t see the forest through the trees.”
Not to worry, Phil. It’s one hell(muth) of a forest — sixteen bracelets wide, $26 million high, and over thirty years deep.
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