Million Dollar Monday

All-In with Poker Legend Phil Hellmuth

March 08, 2021 Greg Muzzillo
Million Dollar Monday
All-In with Poker Legend Phil Hellmuth
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Phil Hellmuth, 15-time World Series of Poker Champion, has won more than $23 million in live tournament winnings and helped raise over $60 million for charity. The poker legend shares with Host Greg Muzzillo how positive thinking influences our reality and can empower us to achieve extraordinary success.

“You are what you think; You become what you think; What you think becomes reality.”

Chapter Summaries

  • 01:05 - The Poker Legend, Phil Hellmuth
  • 07:13 - Bathroom Mirror Success
  • 13:28 - Why the Poker Brat
  • 15:27 - Running out of Money in Vegas
  • 19:24 - Pyramid to Success
  • 24:05 - The Right Place at the Right Time
  • 28:57 - Worst Night of Life
  • 32:49 - Winning the Main Event
  • 34:40 - 8 Life Tips

Resource Links


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Phil Hellmuth:

That will never happen. I love working. I love tournament poker. I love writing my books. You know, this book to me, you know , positivity, eight life tips, I'm changing people's lives. I finally had a hundred Amazon reviews. This book changes people's lives. Absolutely it does. And the one, the one thing I would give people for free that are watching this is write down your...

Greg Muzzillo:

Hello and welcome to Million Dollar Monday. I'm your host, Greg. Muzzillo bringing you real successful people with real useful advice for people with big dreams. I understand big dreams. I turned an investment of $200 and a lot of great advice from some really successful people into my big dream Proforma. That today is a half billion dollar company. All right . I am excited today to introduce to you a special guest who is clearly the greatest of all time at his game. You know, as I'm recording this, we just finished the super bowl . And of course we all know about the greatest of all time in football, Tom Brady, Tom Brady, seven Superbowl rings, which is 50% more than any quarter back. That's the second most number of Superbowl rings. Let's compare that to my guest today because it's all about the math. The greatest of all time in poker has won 15 world series of poker bracelets, surely the gold standard in poker, and that's 50% more than any poker player with the second most number of bracelets. Additionally, Tom Brady, 45 playoff games in the NFL Phil Hellmuth 57 world series of poker final tables, and to get to the NFL playoffs, you only have to beat a handful of teams. Not that it's not a huge accomplishment, but to get to the final table in the world series of poker, you have to beat hundreds, sometimes thousands, sometimes over 10,000 people to get to a final table. So I am excited to introduce by most measures, the greatest of all time poker player, Phil Hellmuth, Phil, thank you for joining us. Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here. I'm excited to have you aboard and I'm excited to hear your story, but I want everybody to know because I want to make sure people think that they know Phil Hellmuth. There's two kinds of people. There's people that don't know Phil because you don't follow poker, but maybe you've even seen some poker. And if you've seen any poker at night, you've seen Phil Hellmuth, but for of you, that might be like Me , uh, uh, flying to Vegas every year, dreams of winning world series of poker bracelet, that kind of a person you might think, you know, Phil Hellmuth , like I thought I knew Phil Hellmuth, but I realized you don't know Phil Hellmuth and neither did I, you know , uh, his autobiography is called the poker brat. And a lot of us probably know him as that kind of the brat , if you will. In fact, if you Google his name under videos, you'll find a hundred thousand videos featuring Phil Hellmuth . 10% of those. If you, if you Google Phil Hellmuth blowups , you'll actually find 10% of those almost 10,000 videos featuring Phil Hellmuth blowing up at the poker table.

Phil Hellmuth:

Are you serious? Oh my God. I didn't know this. Yeah ,

Greg Muzzillo:

That's great. Now you think he's the poker brat. In fact, there's a book called kill Phil. Now of course, it's not that nasty. It's really about how to beat Phil at his game, but what you don't know what I didn't know until I started to do my homework that the real Phil, the real Phil Hellmuth is the author of this book. Positivity,

Phil Hellmuth:

Look at the back of that book. Tony Robbins. Yeah , Tony and S heryl Sandberg. And I put Day-Day on there Draymond Green. U h, but I will tell you something, Tony Robbins gives out my book, tells people to buy my book positivity at his s eminar. S o there's no bigger honor. U m, I'm so excited, but continue your, y our, yeah, n o, I l ike it.

Greg Muzzillo:

It is, it is a great pocket manual that somebody could read in one setting that I think has the eight keys to massive success. And what a lot of people don't know about Phil is I think really all of that blow up stuff. It isn't who Phil is. Phil is one of the most giving and kind men that I know in any profession. And in fact of all people, I know he's raised more money over $50 million for charity, which is, I think it's 60 million, which is I think a little bit more than you've actually made in your lifetime. And not very many people could say they've raised more money for charity than they've made themselves Phil Hellmuth. I'm really proud that you're on my show. So thank you again.

Phil Hellmuth:

Thank you. It's a pleasure to be here. It's been, it's been, you know, I mean some listen, I mean, during the pandemic, I've had a little atrial fibrillation, you know , uh , which asked 60% of the people , whatever 40% of the people over 60 have, but the pandemic and the atrial fibrillation and, and a lot of the new guns , uh, trying to take me down and say negative stuff about the way I play poker. Your ego comes down a little bit. And so I kind of forget that I've had kind of a cool life, you know, and , you know, I've been married for almost 31 years and my wife is a doctor at Stanford. And so she's working today, but she hasn't had to work the last month. We're getting a lot of time doing normal things , um , watching television and then I have to fly into Vegas and be the superstar. Right. So I kind of forget, I fly in, everybody wants pictures and autographs and I'm like, Oh, that's right. I , I'm pretty, pretty good at the pokers .

Greg Muzzillo:

Hey, I have to admit to you Phil. I'm one of those jerks that during the world series of poker, I go into one of the rooms that you're in, when I get knocked out of a tournament and I just stand behind you and watch, in fact, I've got the Phil Hellmuth pose down. Now, if I could only win the way you do all right , the purpose of Million Dollar Monday is to really help provide inspiration to people who are aspiring entrepreneurs and people with big dreams. And I think it all starts in the beginning. So Phil, take us back to the beginning, your youth, take us back to how you grew up your family situation. Where did you sort of get the work ethic and then we're going to get to, how did you learn your love for poker?

Phil Hellmuth:

I think the first thing is people seem to really connect to this. I grew up in a house with , uh, you know, five kids and so, and all five of us and my parents that's seven people lived on the same floor. We slept on the same floor. And so you would wait for your turn to get in the shower and on the bathroom mirror, there's this little thing you are, what you think you become, what you think, what you think becomes reality that my mom found you are what you think you become, what you think, what you think becomes reality. And that's the first time that I realized that , you know what, maybe, maybe I can actually have an influence on my reality. Maybe I can choose my path, you know, and it's not conscience to, Hey, I want to be a poker player, but it is conscious to be, I want to be the best poker player of all time. And so that kind of set me on a really nice path. Um, I remember that card would get old and yellow, seven showers a day, you know, 365 days out of the year. And all of a sudden there'd be a new, bright white one on there. Same thing you are, what you , you become what you think, what you think becomes reality. And , uh, so I began at an early age to believe that that I could, that I could be extraordinary in some way. Now there was no evidence, my grades were bad? No evidence, my grades were horrible. Cause I had ADD. So your intelligence doesn't really shine through, you know , when you have ADD, you're just, most of us just aren't going to do well in grades. I didn't take anything for that. And uh, you know, and I was, I just was not a very good athlete. I was the worst athlete of my brothers and sisters, I couldn't play a musical instrument, no evidence, but just kind of thought, you know , um, you know, that I can, and I'd find breadcrumbs along the way, a world famous, psychic Rose Gladden came to our house. And she said that you will be known throughout the world. And if she would've read everybody, else's hands in that room and said the same thing about everybody. I wouldn't have believed it. But I believe that. And so occasionally something would come along, they would say, Hey, you are going to be great. You can be great. And , uh, you know, and I was very happy to bring my morality and ethics with it , you know, just coming from a small town in Madison, Wisconsin, not that small, but you know, and, and so, you know, I thought I can, I can do all these things and I can still be a great person. And that was the goal . And , uh, man , I think it's worked out well

Greg Muzzillo:

For sure. How old were you when that reader made that prediction about your life?

Phil Hellmuth:

15, 16 or 17? Yeah. Right, right, right. Again, no evidence. My mom here's a breadcrumb. I like, to me, it was breadcrumbs. Right? One of the breadcrumbs is my mom. I was very difficult. I was very difficult, very strong-willed. And uh, my mom , brought us into and I wasn't doing well in school and my mom, but luckily I wasn't doing a lot of drugs and a lot of alcohol, my mom brought us into see a family therapist. Now the family therapist was obviously 100% about me because my brother, he got great grades. His grades were amazing. Um, he was doing really well in life and, you know, has his own law firms , 60 attorneys work for him , Hellmuth and Johnson. My sisters were all crushing it and you know, they were all getting like straight A's. They were all, you know, great at playing instruments. They were all top athletes. And so this was all about me. And , uh, they were all got along easily because I was, I crossed so much, you know, kind of waves in the house that no one else, everyone else just ducked . And so , uh , we go in and this guy says, the first thing you have to understand is there's no evidence you're ever going to do anything great in your life. You have bad grades you have... What the heck is this? And my mom said, hold on a second. And I never went to see that therapist again and actually found out, I found out later that the rest of the family did go to him, but I never had to go again. I didn't want to have somebody, you know , uh, crushing the breadcrumbs and saying, this is impossible for sure.

Greg Muzzillo:

For sure. So, but when that, from my reading the book, it sounds like that when that lady predicted that for you in your life, it had a monumental impact on your believing in yourself and believing, not knowing what it would be, but believing in almost knowing you would be great at something.

Phil Hellmuth:

Yeah. I mean, I think if you, if you're uh , you know, delusional, maybe you could describe me. Uh, maybe you could describe me as a younger age as being a little delusional and thinking that I could be great. Now maybe someone in the nineties would say, Hey, Phil was delusional. Maybe someone today would say, you know, Phil had some really good breadcrumbs to get there, but whatever the case was , um, you know, as things started to unfold and I started to fall into poker, you know, I realized that this was going to be a career. I realized that I could be great. And I set my goals on becoming the greatest of all time. By the time I was 23 years old, I said, all right, if you're going to do this for a living, then you're going to do it right. You're going to study. You're going to put in the time and the effort, and you're going to become the greatest poker player of all time. That wasn't even necessarily my original goal sheet. But then my second goal sheet, then, then when I won like the main event in 1989, I'm like, all right , you might as well just become the greatest of all time. And the breadcrumbs of 1993, winning three bracelets in one year, just by hopping up to five bracelets total, you know, it's such a young age and seeing the respect of Chip Reese and Doyle Brunson, and a lot of the other great ones right away seemed to be very friendly with me and seemed to really respect what I was doing. And I remember Chip Reese pulling me aside and saying, no one's ever done this before you had three first and a second. Congratulations. And so there's a little positivity within the poker world there too. And , uh, and yeah,

Greg Muzzillo:

Well, take us back about how did you first find an enjoyment for games that turned into poker that turned into your being the poker brat? There's some stories there.

Phil Hellmuth:

Well, that's easy. Um, you know, so I've already self described myself as someone who was massively underachieving from a father that had a PhD, a JD and an MBA. Now that's more letters, PhD, JD, and an MBA. Now this guy, my dad, amazing, amazing. And so I was expected and all the pressure was put on me to do really, really, really well. And , um , having no self-esteem in the things that mattered, you know, school athletics, playing musical instruments, I've hit that theme three times now. Um, I think that led to me, at least having to be good at games. And so I would play my brothers and sisters and, you know, at backgammon and my brother would need double sixes, double fives to beat me. And if he beat me, I just went crazy. And I became, you know, the poker brat, why did I become the poker brat ? Because, because there was nothing else to live for. I mean, live for strong, you know, there was nothing else that I had left. I mean, he already had me smoked in the important things . I can't have him beating me at games. And so I became great at games and I had a competitive advantage. I was the oldest, but I just learned how to simulate games so quickly. Perfect strategies quickly, quickly, quickly, anytime a new game is introduced in poker to this day. I think I've become better than everyone immediately. And then , uh, and then, and then some of the guys who are playing everyday can pass me after a couple of months in some of those games or at least come up to me. Um, but I think I have an immediate advantage. Why, because I was so driven to be great at games and loved games from the start. My salvation was being great at games.

Greg Muzzillo:

Yeah. Yeah. That's some great stuff. So now we've heard that you won , uh , your first world series of poker bracelet at a very young age, however , uh, all of your trips to Las Vegas weren't instantly successful. So tell us about some of the lows, some of the downs, some of the struggles on your journey to your first world series of poker bracelet to your first wins in Las Vegas.

Phil Hellmuth:

So in the first chapter of the book poker brat, which you showed earlier, I talk about being in Vegas and running out of money for the first and only time in my life. And I remember it was, you know, it had to be when I was, you know, I think in the book, I say it was, you know, 1986 or 87, I'm at the Stardust hotel. And , uh, you know, I had won a lot of money playing poker in Madison, Wisconsin, you go to Vegas and you find that Vegas is filled with hometown champions, all the poker players and all the players. So I think of it as like donkeys carrying gold into Vegas, all these hometown champions, right? Except they're not really donkeys they're the hometown champions and that's who you compete against in Vegas and some casuals and some recs, but we're talking about the 1980s. And so you played against a very tough cadre of players back then. And , um, and for me , uh, one particular time, and , and unfortunately for me, I wasn't doing badly at poker, but I discovered casino games. I quit playing casino games. By the time I was 23, because I kind of went, broke playing casino games. But for me, it was a steady going broke. I'd go to Madison, I'd make 5,000, you know, so maybe I'd have 40,000 to my name and I'd lose seven in Vegas. And another seven in Vegas, over 10 trips. I finally went broke, but I still had $800 at home multiply that times you know, 15, I guess for the 1980s. Okay . And I called my mom and there I am at the Stardust hotel, no money at all. And I'm like, mom, can you send a plane ticket for me? My dad intercepts the phone call and says, no, we want you to hitchhike home. And I'm like listen, put mom back on, Mom listen I will pay you the second I arrive home. There's a ticket for $150 . I have the money I'm not. And she's like, you're the oldest of five children. And I don't want to be using all of our money on you. I'm like, well, you've just no money on me so far, she's like this will be last time we help you out. She was worried about me being a compulsive gambler. And I said, fine, no problem. I flew home. And I paid her. The money immediately never took money from my parents, you know, And but that was rough. And I still remember being really, really, really hungry , um, cause I'm stuck in Vegas and there's no empathy in that town . And I still remember I took a taxi and I had a bunch of change and I'm like, and I I'm, like I told the taxi driver. I said, listen, I'm completely broke. Um, I'm just going to give you all the change I have in my pocket. And he's like, no problem. Like I found a nice taxi driver and I remember going to the plane and I was so starving that I probably ate like 20 packets of peanuts or something. I didn't eat peanuts for the next 10 years. You know, that that's part of that story. And I said, never again, never we do this. And , uh, then from slinking out of the Stardust hotel in Las Vegas, you know , uh, that never happened again, but it was a good lesson to learn. And fortunately, I didn't have to take, I didn't have to hitchhike. Yeah.

Greg Muzzillo:

But those, those failures, I believe could knock some people down, whether it's in business or in poker or whatever people are trying to do, could knock some people down that they think, you know, something, maybe my mom is right. Maybe I shouldn't go back to Vegas. Maybe I need to give all of this up and go find me a job. So how did you find it within you to go back to Vegas again? And then how is it that you started excelling in poker tournaments?

Phil Hellmuth:

First things first I had to, I created, I created one night, one mad night of my life. I created a pyramid of success. Right ? And at the bottom, no craps , no black Jack. No, baccarat none of those games. Now I play those games for fun. But I mean, now my wealth is so high that if I'm risking, you know, X dollars, it's just fun for me. I'll go to the Aria hotel and I'll play those games, but that's just kind of entertainment and I'm just messing around. Whereas, you know, so, but anyway, that was part of the bottom of the pyramid was no casino games. And then the next level eat, right, exercise take care of yourself. And the very top of the pyramid always is M M money management. Because the one thing you'll discover is if you manage your money, well, you can be an, you can be an average poker player and live a nice life. Maybe not average, let's just say you're 70th percentile poker player. If you manage your money, well, you can have a very nice life. 80%, 90%, a hundred percent. You'll have a very nice life, but if you're a 80 or 90 or a hundred percent talent, but manage your money poorly, your life will be rough. And I've seen these guys at the top and we, we,I don't know, joke's a bad word, but there's a lot of guys at the top that are broke right now. They were broke last year. They broke the year before, and then they have a million, a few days later, they find people to loan them money because their talent is, you know, their talent and their ability to help somebody else out up in that stratosphere. I didn't play that game from the start. I did not loan large amounts of money to poker players, nor did I borrow large amounts of money from poker players. I just figured that system is flawed because if your stop loss point where you're really going to is like a million in the hole, that's messed up. I figured I'd make my stop loss point where I was not in my last 200,000. Right. Kind of , you know, and at that point, maybe get staked. I remember I told my wife, once I said, honey, when we get down to our last million in net worth, I'm going to get staked. We got to our last million in net worth and I was celebrating. And she said, are you crazy? I said, honey, I'm not celebrating because we got to our last million in net worth. I'm celebrating because I'm smart enough to get staked when I'm still a millionaire. And she's like, all right, I get it. And so money management trumps everything in poker. And I got accused of being way too conservative, being like a Warren Buffet. Everybody made fun of me in Oh three Oh four Oh five. Phil's you know, playing in those smaller stakes games fills, but it was proper money management. And I followed it to the letter. And now there's huge financial rewards for that right now I've managed my money so well that I'm very comfortable in life. And probably don't, I'm sure I really don't have to work another day in my life, but that will never happen. I love working. I love tournament poker. I love writing my books. You know, this book to me, you know, positivity, eight life tips, I'm changing people's lives. I finally had a hundred Amazon reviews. This book changes people's lives. Absolutely it does. And the one, the one thing I would give people for free that are watching this is write down your yearly goals, your 2021 goals and people that do this. And then they take them to their bathroom mirror. That's what I tell people to do. People that are do this, they keep achieving their number one goal and the number two goal. And they keep calling me or they keep reaching out to me in Twitter. And they're like, Oh my God, Phil, you changed my life. I took this one life tip and I achieved the top two things. And so it feels really good to be able to change people's lives for the better. Yeah .

Greg Muzzillo:

So in the book, by the way , um, which you're talking about, and if it seems like I'm promoting it, I am. And I am because not because we have any agreement, Phil , you don't need the money for me to promote your book. It's it's because the wisdom in the book, the eight rules for success includes by the way, the winning pyramid, which you discuss . So you came up with the winning pyramid when you were actually losing. And before you went back to Vegas to start winning, you said, how am I going to rearrange things? And you came up with the winning pyramid theory, that's in the book. Huh?

Phil Hellmuth:

That's right. I mean, I think, you know, I'll talk about framing things, right. And you know, in politics right now, very divisive country, well , let's take politics off the table. People frame things in a certain way. And when they frame it in a certain way, it turns the light on for other people, it's like a light switch. And so, you know, you look at this book , uh , positivity, and you know, I write on the cover. You are always in the right place at the right time. And I tell stories that people can relate to about, you know, how people are in the right place at the right time. And my life is filled with people that are in the right place, the right time. They know they're in the right place, the right time. And they're just absolutely crushing it in life. You know, I'm going over to dinner to my best friends , uh , tonight, right after this Chamath Palihapitiya. And he's just, it's been fun to watch him just crush on a global scale, you know, from pillar to post. And , um, and I've been fortunate enough to find this kind of amazing group of people. We found each other , uh, you know, and I think of the birds of a feather flock together. In fact, some people would say, Phil this group's too powerful for you. But , um , I think I fit in, I mean, I've written my New York times bestsellers I've I have my 15 bracelets. I'm a believer. I believe I can do some pretty cool things. And I think that's part of it . I love it.

Greg Muzzillo:

And I do love that you are always in the right place at the right time. And I think so many people Phil go through life and they're truly in the right place. Uh , you know, I can more relate to sales. I, I go to Vegas and I donate my money every year, except I'm not obviously this last summer, but , uh , but I love it. It's electric to be in that environment. And I think I like to play , more than I want to win. You know what I mean? So I get into too many hands. I sorta know some of the things I'm doing wrong, but you are always in the right place at the right time. I can relate it to sales. I can relate it to business. And so many people they'll, they think I want to start hiring salespeople and then they'll tell me , um, well, I tried to hire salespeople. I thought I was in the mindset. I want to hire salespeople, but I tried with one person didn't work out. And I think how could you just try with one person you're in the right place. That's the right state of mind. You want to grow your business. You want to start hiring sales reps, or you're calling on an account and they didn't take your call the first time, but you're in the right place. You just need to be persistent with it and continue to keep after it and I think it's a lot of wisdom that got you there.

Phil Hellmuth:

You know, you and I are speaking to this concept of my book, but being in the right place at the right time and opening a door. Right. And so, you know, I tell the story and maybe it bears repeating here, it's from the book, but you have two guys living next door. And one is, you know, and one, you know, tells his family the perfect idea for a sports bar, right? And he lays it all out and then he says, Martha, please pass the peas which I got from my friend, Carl Wescott . That means he's done with it. The guy next door lays out the idea for the perfect sports bar, but he does one thing differently. He says, I'm going to walk into my favorite sports bar tomorrow and talk to the owner or the manager. And so he walked the next day on the way home from work. He opens that door, but not just the door to the bar, but it's also the figurative door to the next step for the plan. Right? And when you walk through that door with the intent of discovering information about a sports bar, you don't know what could happen and the dream could happen right then and there through one door you walk in and the guy's like, you know what? I've been waiting 10 years for someone to say, they're really interested in a sports bar. And I want to impart my information and I want to teach people, you know, and this guy could end up investing in your bar. He could end up selling you his bar. You know? I mean, he could end up sending you to some bankers, which boom, that's another door. And so this concept of opening a door and then another door, and then there's five more doors behind that. That's the concept of being in the right place at the right time. And most people are not looking for that. So define your dream and take the first step.

Greg Muzzillo:

Yeah, I think I say it about the same way. So I think if you believe that you're going to be successful, things happen. I say your antennas go up, your antennas, go up and things come to you, opportunities come to you, but you receive them and you see them as opportunities like walking through that door versus somebody that just thinks I'm going to go through life with a nine to five job. And that's my life and blah , blah , blah . And they never the same opportunity, the same story about opening a bar, but it was never received as an opportunity. It was received as pass the peas . I'm hungry. Why are we talking about this?

Phil Hellmuth:

Yeah , Greg, that's very interesting. I mean, that's part of another theory of mine where the minute that you start the car moving down the hill, I like to think of it like that. Most people won't make that first push to get the car going. And then, you know, I think it was who said, once you begin this path, all manner of things will fall into your path to speed you along your way. And that's kind of what you're talking about. Um , I think that's, we frame that very similarly. All right .

Greg Muzzillo:

Tell us, cause I do have a lot of poker players also listening. Cause I think a lot of business people are attracted to the world of poker because let's face it sometimes businesses, a gamble in and of itself. Tell us about your worst loss, the one that you would remember the most, that was the most horrible story, if you will.

Phil Hellmuth:

Well, I remember my worst loss because it was against Phil Ivy who is one of the great ones. So, you know , um, if you don't think I'm the greatest and a lot of people don't, then you probably think Phil is the greatest. And so, or Doyle Brunson's the greatest, you know? And , uh, and so, you know, but Ivy and I , I remember we were , uh, we were in Monte-Carlo, but we're at the hotel. I mean the Monte Carlo or whatever. I mean, we're at like the best hotel, how much it's this was 12 years ago or 15 years ago that this loss came up or , but I can't remember, it's unfortunate, but we were at the most famous hotel in Monte-Carlo and we're in the lobby and we're playing with Patrik Antonius, who was one of the biggest players . So the three of us are kind of three of the top 10 players in the world for sure. And we're playing in the lobby and Ivy gets me stuck like 50,000 and then Patrik leaves. And I just remember Ivy talking about how nice it is to fly private, to Monte-Carlo because he could bring his golf clubs in the main cabin, A man that's A 50 K flights Phil, you know, he didn't care. And so it turns out we both have huge suites there, which is nice. My company was paying for mine. I don't know, in this case, it doesn't matter, but we're, and we're in a hotel suites, one on top of the other. And I go to his place at his hotel and we're playing all night Chinese poker and I lose $536,000. And uh , Oh my God, it was the worst night of my life. Um, I'd already picked up Kings against ACEs in the main main event Monte-Carlo and Queens against ACEs and again, Kings against ACEs. And I just was like, I have to, I have to get out of here. This is just weird how unlucky I'm getting. And I remember that night saying, all right , Phil, if you're going to do this and you just lost 530, then it's going to be a million. You're going to give , uh , you're going to give $460,000 to charity. And I called my wife and I said, honey, bear with me. We just had the worst night of our lives, but I want you, I'm not hanging up until we send out $460,000, $466,000 to charities. Because if I'm stupid enough to lose 536,000, then the charities should benefit, you know , as well. And I stayed on the phone and she finished it in less than 35 minutes. She wrote the checks , uh, put them in the mail stamp and everything. And once she put them in the mailbox or I think maybe she said, all right , I'm going to send them. You don't have to hang. You don't have to be with me until we go to the mailbox. But once that was done, then I went to bed. And so the worst night of my life , uh, you know, was against Phil Ivy , financially got crushed, had a miserable night. Um, although the food was amazing, you know, we were ordering this you know, you could get, it was $106 to get, you know, fish. We were getting, we were getting The Dover sole with the, with the butter and I do, and the caviar. And so, you know, each meal was like a thousand euros or something. And so we had amazing food, but that's the only good thing I remember about that night And the great thing I remember. So I sent that money out and I slept like a baby after that, because at least we gave a bunch to charity.

Greg Muzzillo:

That story, it personifies the Phil Hellmuth that people don't know. Okay. So we talked, we heard about your worst night. Um, we got to hear about your best night, your best day in poker, the best win. Tell us what's the best.

Phil Hellmuth:

Well, I don't know that I have a best win I'll say that, you know, 1989 was pretty amazing. Um, I told everybody on the planet, I was going to win it. Uh, Johnny Chan had won it in 1988 and 1987. And I said, he's the only one I'm afraid of. And low and behold, 178 players, it comes down to Johnny Chan and Phil Hellmuth me. And , uh, I won, I beat him heads up in like 32 minutes, but I mean, like that was an amazing moment because it was the first time my father ever came out to my father didn't accept poker. He hated poker. So he went from, you're wasting your life. You're a compulsive gambler. He went from that to flying to Vegas, to watch me in the main events. And then ESPN is reporting it. I bought my dad a new Mercedes. And so that, it's kind of hard to beat that, you know , um, there's been so many great moments. I remember winning the main event in Europe and it was shown on global television live for like five hours. And I just played phenomenal. I mean, like, it was almost, it was like some of the best poker of my life. Um, you know, but there's lots of great moments like that. And , uh, and it's, it's been, it's, it's been fun.

Greg Muzzillo:

I think that's wonderful. So Phil, you've accomplished a lot. You've won scores of millions of dollars. You've helped raise more than that for charity. You're a good husband. You're a good father. You're a really good gentlemen in more ways than most people know now that you've really achieved so much , in your world of poker and in the world of being a great person. What are your big goals that you have now for the rest of your life?

Phil Hellmuth:

Well , you know, I, in 1998 or so, I realized that I, that I could easily travel nine months out of the year and lose my wife and lose my children. And I decided that, you know, family was number one, health is number one, family's number two. And so I segwayed the business. I said, all right, I can still be the greatest poker player of all time, but I don't want to travel as much as the other guys. And so because of that, I haven't played nearly as many world poker tour tournaments, as everybody else as all the other great players, maybe half or one third, as many as some of the people, because my life's. And so I segue the business. So now I'm on 12 advisory boards, which has been amazing. And these young founders, they really want me involved. They like the way that my mind works. They like the connections I have for raising money. And we also did three spacs last year. So, you know, on SPACS have been kind of magical for me. Um , I entered a SPAC, which means you put about 300,000 into it and they triple, or they triple your money at least, but you could lose it all if they don't come up with the deal. Well, I brought in the deal, I brought on rush street interactive for our sPAC, which is the biggest online casino in the United States of America. Right. So then I was paid a couple of million in fees for that. And now the stock's going like this. It's been a lot of fun. So I'm been having a lot of fun because I can stay at home. Um, but yeah, my I'm still sticking to, I want to help out the world and have another positivity book. Um, I want to, my number one is to be the greatest poker player of all time. I need to keep winning bracelets. I just accepted the challenge to play Daniel Negreanu, in the next high stakes poker in March. I read a book. The world's been crazy, crazy over this, and we're going to have a lot of fun and Daniel's been studying heads up for three months and I haven't studied it at all. And I won't study it because I, because I know the way I'm going to play already.

Greg Muzzillo:

Yeah. You guys are gonna have a lot of fun. Listen, Phil, you have a great story. I could talk to you for another hour and , I would enjoy it. But most importantly of all, I want to encourage everybody that's listening to understand you don't know Phil until you really read his book, get to know this book because in one,

Phil Hellmuth:

Well, you have a lot of, you have a lot of , uh , notes in there.

Greg Muzzillo:

Oh my goodness. Yeah. Look at that Phil it is just chock full of , uh, of wisdom. It for a business guy that loves interviewing people who are successful in business. What I like maybe perhaps the most about it is is that it is succinct. You can sit through this, you can get done with it in one reading it's eight, 70 minutes,

Phil Hellmuth:

70 minutes is like the audio version is only 70 minutes. And so what I discovered is this, see this book, play poker, like this was a New York times, best seller . Okay. Why? Because it's truth. And so I just realized that if I, so when I wrote positivity it's truth, it's eight it's eight life tips, which will help, every single person on the planet. And so I figured that I'm going to sell millions of copies because it's truth. And I'm really happy Greg, to hear that it's helped you. And you know, and it's everybody that reads it. It helps . So I it's, it's my, it's a distillation of eight life tips, which, you know, as a poker player, you're looking for stuff harder than everybody else, because you could have one bad day in poker and lose all of your money, Greg . No one stops you from that.

Greg Muzzillo:

You could have one bad day in business.

Phil Hellmuth:

Constantly looking at your flaws , looking at your flaws, looking at your flaws. And these are the eight life tips I came up with that allowed me to be the greatest at poker.

Greg Muzzillo:

Well, let me wrap up first by encouraging all of our listeners, no matter what your dream in business, no matter what your big dream in life. Exactly. Get the book, get to know Phil, Phil Hellmuth. Thank you very much. It's been an honor. Thanks Greg .

The Poker Legend, Phil Hellmuth
Bathroom Mirror Success
Why The Poker Brat
Running out of Money in Vegas
Pyramid to Success
The Right Place at the Right Time
Worst Night of Life
Winning the Main Event
8 Life Tips