The winner of the 1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em event was Phil Hellmuth, Jr. The poker superstar from Palo Alto, CA won his record 11th gold bracelet at the World Series of Poker. He is now the all-time leader in wins, one ahead of Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan with ten each.
This marked the largest field Hellmuth has ever conquered. The tournament attracted a whopping 2,628 entries.
Coming into the 2006 WSOP, Hellmuth was one-win behind Brunson and Chan. But he has won the last two titles and taken the lead for the first time ever.
This was Hellmuth’s 38th final table appearance (lifetime). He is now one away from the all-time leader, T.J. Cloutier – currently with 39.
This marked the 59th time Hellmuth has finished in-the-money at the WSOP. He is the all-time leader in that category. Hellmuth is currently five cashes ahead of the second-place player.
Hellmuth dropped out of the University of Wisconsin to pursue a poker career. He has been one of the most successful players of the last twenty years. “Hellmuth” has become a bona fide trademark – representing to poker what Tiger Woods is to golf and Michael Jordan was to basketball.
When Hellmuth won the world championship in 1989, he was (and remains) the youngest main event winner in history – at 24.
Hellmuth’s phenomenal WSOP run over the past 19 years all started in 1988, when he placed fifth in a Seven-Card Stud High-Low tournament. He won the main event the following year. He is also one of only three players in history to win three gold bracelets within a single year. He holds a record which is unlikely and perhaps impossible to break – three consecutive WSOP wins in three consecutive days (April 26-28, 1993).
First place in this event paid $637,254. This was the third-most money Hellmuth has ever won in a single tournament; his first and tenth wins being the highest payouts ever.
Hellmuth has won and earned millions of dollars over the past ten years. But he, his wife, and two children continue to live in the same house they bought together back in 1996. He drives a gold Lexus with the license plate reading “9POKER9.” He got that after winning his ninth gold bracelet in 2003. One must ask if he can fit “11POKER11” onto a California plate.
The runner up in this event was Andy Philachack from Dallas, TX. Before the finale started, he was asked how he learned to play poker. “By losing lots of money,” he replied. Philachack certainly made the investment pay off in this event, as second place paid $394,594.
Scott Clements was the only other former WSOP winner at the final table other than Hellmuth. He won the $2,000 buy-in Omaha High-Low event last year. He finished fifth in this event.
Seventh-place finisher Fabrice Soulier was a highly-successful television director in Paris, France. He now plays in many poker tournaments. This was his third WSOP final table in four years.
Eighth-place finisher Ut Nguyen is a protégé of Men “the Master” Nguyen. Men the Master has been an instructor and mentor to many Vietnamese-born poker players, several of whom who have cashed at the WSOP and won gold bracelets.