Phil Hellmuth
Phil Hellmuth seeks his 17th WSOP bracelet this summer in Las Vegas, but how many could the 'Poker Brat' win before he hangs up his cap?

Phil Hellmuth is undoubtedly one of the most iconic and successful figures in the elite circles of professional poker. Known for his intense competitiveness and larger-than-life personality, Hellmuth has carved out a remarkable career at the World Series of Poker (WSOP). This year, Hellmuth will fire at the WSOP and attempt to extend his record haul of 16 bracelets. But how many could The Poker Brat really win over his poker career in total?

A Legacy of Gold

Phil Hellmuth has already amassed an incredible number of bracelet victories, with a total of 16, six clear of his nearest rivals: Phil Ivey, Johnny Chan and the late, great Doyle Brunson, who passed away at the age of 89 just last week. Hellmuth’s record would seem to be under no threat at all from his nearest rivals, with Ivey’s last bracelet win in 2014 coming three years after Chan’s most recent bracelet win in 2011.

With his unwavering determination and penchant for Las Vegas at WSOP time, Hellmuth will be hard to stop as he continues to add to his already impressive bracelet collection. Win this summer and he’ll be on 17, but he’s never going to stop there.

Since his debut at the WSOP in 1988, Hellmuth has been a force to be reckoned with at the poker tables. Johnny Chan took him out of the Main Event that year, but 12 months on, Hellmuth had his revenge, beating the ‘Orient Express’ to capture his maiden bracelet and only Main Event title to date.

Hellmuth’s first taste of success came early in his career. When he won the Main Event, he did so at the tender age of 24. This extraordinary achievement made him the youngest player ever to win the coveted title, a record which lasted until Peter Eastgate’s win in 2008.

Over the past 34 years, Hellmuth’s dominance at the WSOP has only grown. His ability to read opponents, make strategic counterpunches, and maintain a remarkable level of focus has earned him a total of 16 WSOP bracelets, an unparalleled feat in the poker world, with his most recent coming only two years ago. That’s an amazing record of a bracelet win almost once every two years.

The Secret to Hellmuth’s Success

When asked about the secret of his success at the WSOP, Hellmuth attributed it to a combination of factors. He once said that “…to be successful in poker, you need to have a strong understanding of the game, a deep understanding of human psychology, and the ability to control your emotions.” That’s true, but over the years, his legendary blow-ups have included threats to ‘burn the Rio down’.

Hellmuth is, in some ways, a controversial and divisive figure. For every fan of his, there seems to be a nay-sayer. But his famous hashtag #POSITIVITY shows that he preys on positivity and is able to filter out the haters like never before. His extensive knowledge of the game, coupled with his uncanny ability to decipher his opponents’ intentions, has consistently put him in a winning position. Winning 16 times heads-up isn’t luck, it’s routine. The Poker Brat usually finds a way to win.

Hellmuth’s career at the WSOP has been marked by numerous memorable moments, including flashy entrances – all hail Caesar Hellmuth – to memorable outbursts in moments that have gone viral. Even the way he eats gets attention. Last year’s poor victim was this roast beef sandwich.

Hellmuth divides opinion like perhaps no other poker player on the planet. His confrontations with other players and his relentless pursuit of victory have made him a polarizing figure in the poker community, with some viewing him as an arrogant showman, while others admire his peerless record and undeniable talent.

Love him or hate him, there’s no denying the impact Hellmuth has had on the game, in particular at the World Series of Poker.

How Many Bracelets Could Hellmuth Win?

“I’m on a mission to win as many bracelets as I can.”

Now the question arises: how many more bracelets can we expect Hellmuth to win in his career? While it’s impossible to predict the future with certainty, given his exceptional track record, it’s safe to say that Hellmuth is far from finished. He’s won 16 bracelets in the 34 years between 1989 and the start of this summer’s voyage into the unknown.

That’s a rate of almost a bracelet every two years, and Hellmuth has previously stated that he aims to win a grand total of 24 WSOP bracelets. To do that at his lifetime rate of success, Hellmuth would have to play for another 17 years – until he is 74 or 75 depending on when he does so. Hellmuth’s birthday falls on July 16th, which this year will be the day that the final nine players convene in the Thunderdome at the Horseshoe in Las Vegas to battle down to the final four.

After winning his 15th WSOP bracelet, Hellmuth declared himself unsatisfied, saying, “I’m on a mission to win as many bracelets as I can. I want to keep pushing myself and challenging the limits.”

Hellmuth’s ability to adapt to his circumstances in-game and inside the venue itself, be it the Horseshoe or Paris casino, coupled with his imposing track record once the final tables are reached means he is a lock to put himself in the position to challenge for WSOP gold once again this summer. Over the course of his whole career, 20 would seem like a distinct possibility, even if 24 seems a little far assuming he slows down…. which he may not.

Hellmuth won’t be the most expensive WSOP pick at the $25,000 Fantasy Draft, he never is. Nor will he be the most popular winner of a bracelet when the inevitable happens next.

Phil Hellmuth won’t care. The Poker Brat inside him is a relentless beast and after a year without gold in 2022?

The ‘Brat’ needs feeding.