A poker hand analysis by ILOVECAT

Phil Hellmuth the greatest tournament poker player of our time. Despite the fact he might be rude at amateur players or uses profane language after loosing a pot. His turnament poker skill is unquestionably the best, proven with more then 13 wsop bracelet.

Here we examine a hand between phil hellmuth vs adam levy

phil hellmuth vs adam levy

Phil Hellmuth raises to 15K from early position (with around 500K in chips, Adam Levy calls on the button with Qc 10c (with around 460K in chips) and play is heads up. and the blind is 25k/50.

I am not here to discuss how the player played their hand after the flop, rather I am here to discus Phil Hellmuth charade at adam levy.

Phil Hellmuth blasted adam for calling him with q and 10. And according to phil hellmuth it is a horrible call. Not justifying phil’s ill-mannered behavior, but here I agree with phill hellmuth calling with q and 10 suited is just a horrible play against phill hellmuth.

If this was a cash game, then q and 10 flush calling on the button would be standard, but this is not cash game, this is tournament and in a tournament you want to make the nuts and if you don’t have the nuts, then in general you can’t move all in especially with 100bb.

Adam levy is very lucky that he hit a straight on the turn and having phill hellmuth hit 888. What adam levy failed to understand is more likely then not he will hit one pair and hellmuth hitting his set. I am sure adm levy is a good enough player not to go broke with top pair and mediocre kicker, but hitting a queen you are bound to call at least two barrel from phils set, giving phill basically free chips.

Now lets say adam levy hit two pair on the flop q 10 4, and lets say phil hellmuth is crazy enough to move all in with AA on the flop. Despite the fact adam having top two pair, phil hellmuth is not drawing dead, and adm could go completely broke on this hand too.

So from the above anaylsis even top two pair is not safe against Phil hellmuth solid early position raising range.

Also the only safe flop would be to hit a straight right on the flop such as j 9 8 preferable rainbow. But even this is not safe, because more likely then not phill hellmuth will have top set here, and after two barrel if the board ever pair, adams straight is busto and his going home broke.

Also you have to remember phil hellmuth is perfectly capable of folding top set if he puts you on a straight, with 100bb phil hellmuth is not going broke on the river without having the nuts!

What I am trying to say is, calling with q and 10 on the button is an ok move against a bad player, but against a very good player such as phill hellmuth in a turnament with 100bb is just stupidity. and this is what the pros mean, when they say, " yup, you are right phill, in tournament they just give you their chips!"

Agreed with the preflop analysis. Calling a raise with QTs on the button is a bad idea. You’re well behind the CO’s open range, and there are few really good boards.

Additionally, @Ilovecat didn’t even mention the possibility of getting squeezed by the blinds, both of whom were left to act after Levy’s call. You’ll definitely have to fold facing a 3- or 4-bet, and you don’t want to have to toss 3BB when you’re sitting on 90-100BB in a tournament.

“raise to 15k” , “blinds 25k/50” … which are incorrect plz ??
or min bet would be 50k, wouldn’t it ?

Blinds were 2500-5K. Phil’s 15K open was 3x - pretty large if he was in the cutoff, almost as questionable as a QTs button call.

I don’t mind the call at all. That hand doesn’t get to showdown most of the time, and Levy knew it. He didn’t have to make a hand to win, and he knew that too.

Hellmuth likes to limp big pairs. He won’t usually continue without hitting the flop or having an overpair, his C bet meant nothing.

As far as the blinds… yeah, one of them could have repopped it, and Levy would have to fold. So what? Hellmuth would probably have to fold too, it didn’t stop him from opening. If someone re-raises out of position, you have to credit them with a hand there and lay it down. You could also get hit by lightning, but it doesn’t happen often enough to lose sleep over.

You guys talk like you need the nuts to win a hand… you don’t. In a lot of cases, especially against Hellmuth, you really don’t even need cards.


you have to think of the ultimate potential of a hand, not if he can fold this or that. With that q 10 you are only really looking for a straight, but as any experienced player will tell you a straight is very vulnerable to flush and full houses. when you are 100bb deep in a tournament every hand could be your last. I would rather have the nuts when I go all in rather then some speculative hand. hence, that is tournament poker playing the nuts!

So what, just play your own hand and don’t make any allowances for the tendencies of your opponents? Are you serious?

Hellmuth’s small open was more of a blocking bet, designed to take control of the action and deny Levy (a known high-aggro internet player) the chance to make a bigger bet. Hellmuth just wanted to see a cheap flop. It’s a move he typically makes with midling pairs.

He tends to limp AA and KK in that situation. He traps too much and slow plays too much. He also folds too much. He would have bet more with AK or AQs or KQs. He also calls too much when on featured tables because he hates to get bluffed on TV. Levy had every reason to believe he had a hand worth playing.

Hellmuth is over-rated. Yes, he has a lot of bracelets, but he has been playing WSOP event since the mid 80’s, and he plays more events per year than almost anyone. Even with all that, he barely makes the top 20 in all-time tournament earnings.

Hellmuth is getting better though. He is a serious student of the game and knows his old school approach doesn’t work so well in today’s kind of game. I’m not saying he’s a donk, but back when that hand was played, he had a lot of holes in his game that people exploited all the time.


What? A 3x open from the cutoff is big, at least in modern tournaments. Unless the button calls, you’ll be in position for the rest off the hand. I could see opening 3x if you’re UTG, but he should have used a smaller size, on the order of 11.5K (2.3x).

Pull up footage of a recent major professional tournament’s final table (EPT, WSOP Main, &c.). The players at RP don’t respect open sizing, forcing you to go large in order to avoid playing multi-way postflop, but that shouldn’t skew your perspective of how the pros play.

He’s taken down a tournament as recently as January, with another tourney win last July, according to the Hendon Mob database (which doesn’t track cash games our online play). The guy keeps evolving and improving his game, to a point where he’s significantly better than much of the “ancient” footage of his play from over a decade ago. I wouldn’t underestimate him.

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Yes, but this hand was at least 10 years ago.

Yes, he does keep evolving. I said that he is getting better.

I wouldn’t underestimate him either. He “evolved” because his game back then wasn’t nearly as strong as he thought it was. He evolved because he was easy to exploit in some situations. The fact that he felt the need to change is proof of this.

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