Dusty Schmidt Writes an Open Letter to Phil Hellmuth

Outdated – that’s a term that some of the new generation of poker players like to tag to Phil Hellmuth’s name. His last bracelet win was way back in 2007 and his ‘high maintenance celeb’ behavior leaves much to be desired. He struts around in costume at the WSOP and he hasn’t exactly been winning laurels in recent years. In fact, one poker pro, Dusty Schmidt, co-wrote a book entitled “Don’t Listen to Phil Hellmuth”. The book really wasn’t about Phil per se and was actually about some old cliché rules that people should no longer adhere to in the face of today’s changing poker landscape. Still, the book’s title was a much too obvious shot, so obvious that you could almost call it cheap, at Hellmuth’s ‘old school’ reputation. However, if this year’s WSOP has proven anything, it’s that Hellmuth still has a lot of fight left in him. He’s definitely not ‘washed out’ and is still, in fact, one of the best players in the industry.Hellmuth

Swallowing his words? Not quite

Hellmuth may not have won a WSOP bracelet this year – his last shot at doing so disappearing the moment he was eliminated on Day 4 of the Main Event – but he certainly proved his naysayers wrong by his stellar performance. Finishing as runner up in three events is no easy feat, but Hellmuth was able to pull it off beautifully. Because of this, the spotlight was shone on Dusty Schmidt for having written that book with the derogatory title. In his open letter to Hellmuth, he mentioned that a lot of people have written to him, asking him if he somehow felt stupid now, given his book’s title and Hellmuth’s performance. Schimdt, however, maintained that he did not. He quoted a section from one of the articles he wrote about Phil Hellmuth, which basically said that Hellmuth can once again make it to the top because he has already been there and therefore knows what it takes to get there again. He fully believed that Hellmuth was a great player, but was annoyed by the Poker Brat’s half-hearted approach to the game, as well as his “bratty behavior”. He’s talented, but he’s nowhere near the level that he was in years ago. However, Schmidt believes that Hellmuth really ‘cleaned up’ this year, both in his behavior and his game, and so extends his hearty congratulations to the record-breaking pro.

Poker’s Bobby Jones

One of the highlights of Schmidst letter was when he compared Hellmuth to Bobby Jones, a 13-time major championship winner in golf who had his hayday in the 20’s. Jones was something of a diamond in the rough and was famous for his terrible personality on the golf course, much like how Hellmuth is famous today for his bratty personality on the felt. But Bobby worked on his personality and thus became one of golf’s most respected players. Schmidt also mentioned a profound quote that Bobby hung in his office, “For when the one great scorer comes to write against your name, he writes not that you won or lost, but how you played the game.” Hellmuth could do well to adopt this mantra – and judging by his much improved behavior (No Caesar outfit this year, just a respectable Tux), he might have already did.

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