Phil Hellmuth is a great poker player of all time. With only $ 24 million in career revenue and a record 15 World Series of Poker bracelets, it’s hard to argue that his career won’t be considered one of the best in history.
As more and more time has passed between the current environment and the poker boom that Chris Moneymaker inspired in 2003, however, his abilities relative to the best of play are a point of heated debate.
Given his age and background, high-stakes poker and pro site operator Phil Galfond, tweeted a rather controversial opinion on Hellmuth Tuesday night visit poker88.
In Galfond’s opinion, Hellmuth actually had several advantages.
Before the Moneymaking boom, less math was used in developing strategy. Hellmuth is definitely one of the best in the world when it comes to feeling-based strategies that are far more exploitative than those employed by many of today’s top professionals. As the game progressed and high roller events emerged, it became clear that the players in the tournament had little respect for the game.
Galfond revealed four screenshots from his mobile notepad, outlining his thoughts on Hellmuth’s recent head-up play against Antonio Esfandiari in PokerGO’s “High Stakes Duel”. This is one of the rare times that a player of Galfond’s age and caliber has outwardly praised Hellmuth’s poker skills.
Many of these games based their best judgment on what was right from Game Theory Optimal [GTO]. GTO is very math based and requires a lot of learning. Players using this strategy generally end up understanding how often certain hands should take certain actions and how to shuffle the game to prevent being exploited by their opponents.