Poker Brat Hellmuth's WSOP 2009 Debacle

After three episodes from the 2009 WSOP Main Event were screened on ESPN, aside from the poker the attention fell squarely on the 11 times WSOP champion Phil Hellmuth and his foul mouthed tirades against fellow players.
On Day 1C  Hellmuth with JJ raised the pot and was called by a player holding K 8 who paired another K on the board to beat Hellmuth’s holding. That was enough for Hellmuth to blow a fuse and rain down a shower of abuse on the unfortunate winner of the hand. He exclaimed: What the f**k? Calling a fricking raise with K-8?” He then left the table and when he sat back down mumbled, “F***ing moron players.”
Later, Hellmuth lost a hand after an opponent caught a flush on the river which got him up on his feet fuming: “Is this some kind of f**king joke? I can’t even f**king believe what I’m seeing.”
In both these outburst no penalties were issued and, as Seth Palanskythe WSOP Communications Director explained: “Our player conduct rule is about abusing tablemates and dealers. That’s what we’re trying to avoid so a person’s playing experience is not unpleasant. There is no anti-cursing rule. If it’s mean-spirited, then it’s a penalty, but it’s up to the discretion of the dealers and supervisors who are there to hear it.”
Court Harrington, a tournament reporter, was keen to emphasise the responsibility that poker professionals should have towards amateur players and the negative consequences which result from allowing bad beats and questionable plays to affect emotions: “Pros have a responsibility to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner… to make amateur players feel comfortable at the tables and more likely to return.”
Hellmuth was not alone in his extreme antics at a WSOP which saw 185 penalties and cautions considered which included cards thrown at dealers, raucous celebrations, teasing and provoking competitors, waving excessively at ESPN cameras and players disclosing their hand to other players, strictly taboo in the tournament rules.
All in all, though, Linda Johnson Tournament Directors’ Association (TDA) and co-founder  assessed conduct at this year’s WSOP as improved and said: “I’m glad the WSOP cleaned up their act. It was a much more pleasant atmosphere this year. Kudos to their tournament officials for not allowing abuse.”

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