Poker Hall of Famer (PHoF) Phil Hellmuth is known for his loud personality and colourful language. The hall of famer created quite a controversy at the 2018 WSOP Main Event at the Rio when he went on a foul mouthed spree targeting poker player James Campbell.
It all started on Day 2C, when Hellmuth and Campbell faced each other at the multi-way pot during one of PokerGo’s featured tables. It could have been the added pressure from the livestream or just the fatigue from the World Series of Poker (WSOP) grind settling it, but the Poker Brat played a three-way hand that many players and fans did not approve of.
It was down to the last three hands between Hellmuth, Campbell, and Alex Kuzmin after the flop. Campbell checked, Kuzmin continued for 3,000, Hellmuth raised to 6,000, and then the short-stacked Campbell raised all-in for 26,200. This is when Hellmuth blew off. The 14-time WSOP bracelet holder let out a series of curses, that ended with him saying that Campbell “got away with murder all day against me.”
Kuzmin then called and Hellmuth folded, sending Capmbell to the rails.
Hellmuth Receives Flak From Poker Community
Many players and fans were quick to call Hellmuth out of his uncalled-for foul mouthed outburst before Kuzmin made his move. Although no penalties were given, the poker community went to social media to voice their displeasure with his behaviour.
According to Ike Haxton, this was not an isolated incident as Hellmuth had a history of talking about his hands during multi-way pots. Many other players also lashed out on social media and condemned Hellmuth’s outburst and called for penalties to be imposed. Some of the top poker pros in the game including Justin Bonomo, Chris Moneymaker, and Jared Hamby criticized Hellmuth.
Hellmuth Comes Up With A Peace Offering
During a recent interview, Hellmuth did admit that the outburst was 100 percent his fault, He said the fatigue got the better of him and when Campbell joked about getting one over him one more time, it trigged the outburst.
Although Hellmuth still believes that his outburst wouldn’t have affected the end of the game, he says that he crossed the line and he believes that he deserved a penalty from the WSOP. To make up for his actions and sort of penalize himself, he showed up an hour late the next day so he won’t be able to build his stack alongside the others. He was also aware of the social media backlash and he took to Twitter to calm things down and offer an apology to Capmbell, who he said was a good guy throughout their game.
In his tweet, Hellmuth said, “@JCamby33 I lost some sleep over my outburst. I believe you lose the hand anyway, but maybe I am wrong. You handled yourself well, and played well. As a gesture of goodwill, and because I respect policeman and firefighters: I’m going to buy you into 2019 $10,000 @WSOP Main Event.”
Campbell Accepts Peace Offering
Hellmuth’s peace offering and apology was received well by the poker community, including Campbell himself who called Hellmuth’s action a “real stand up thing to do.” Campbell says that it was fun to play against Hellmuth throughout that day and that he is looking forward to the 2019 WSOP, where he will be entering the Main Event for free, thanks to Hellmuth’s offer.
Moneymaker, who was one of the people who called out Hellmuth for the mistake, was also quick to pat Hellmuth’s back for owning up to his mistake. Nick Schuman also came to Hellmuth’s side and said it was great to see Hellmuth’s take responsibility for his outburst and be generous enough to put down $10k as a peace offering.
Those who know and have followed Hellmuth’s career know that the outburst is Hellmuth being himself. However, those outbursts are no longer accepted like before as social media makes it easy for things to blow up – which in some ways is a good thing. Overall, Hellmuth is pretty well respected in the poker community as he has raised millions of dollars for charity.

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