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Best of Ryan McLane
The 2006 World Series of Poker (WSOP) is proving to be a re-birth of sorts for poker's most famous brat. Phil Hellmuth, owner of nine WSOP gold bracelets, set another benchmark in the event's opening week by cashing in his 50th WSOP tournament.
Although there was some controversy over whether the in-the-money finish for Event # 2 was his 49th or 50th, WSOP Spokesperson Nolan Dalla confirmed over the weekend that it was indeed a record and that Hellmuth stands alone in that category with 50.
Men "The Master" Nguyen and Berry Johnston are tied for second place on the all-time list with 49 cashes. T.J. Cloutier is in third place with 47. All of the aforementioned players have plans to compete in the 2006 WSOP, making for an interesting subplot to the already record-breaking Series.
"Phil Hellmuth has clearly become and an icon in a game full of icons," Dalla said.
MOST WSOP CASHES (LIFETIME)
1.) Phil Hellmuth, Jr. 52
2.) Berry Johnston 49
2.) Men "the Master" Nguyen 49
4.) T.J. Cloutier 47
5.) Chris "Jesus" Ferguson 44
6.) Erik Seidel 41
7.) Brent Carter 40
8.) An Tran 39
9.) Mike Sexton 38
9.) Ken "Skyhawk" Flaton 38
Hellmuth has already added two more cashes since breaking the record. In Event # 7, a $3,000 Limit Hold'Em tournament, he busted before the final table to finish 13th, and beginning today (July 5), Hellmuth has a huge stack in WSOP Event #9, a $5000 No Limit Hold'Em tournament that saw 622 people enter.
With such a commanding stack and only 60 players remaining in that event, Hellmuth has already grabbed cash number 52 and possibly another final table appearance or gold bracelet.
Hellmuth's nine gold bracelets are second on the all-time list behind poker legends Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan, both of whom have 10.
"The cashes are nice, but I'm here to win." Hellmuth said. "I go into every tournament expecting to come in first. Nothing else really matters."
Hellmuth's coveting of poker records and accolades is common knowledge. Very aware of where he sits in the poker pantheon, Hellmuth began advertising his quest for the most gold bracelets and WSOP records long before the event became a sensation.
There were some who laughed at Hellmuth's quest, arguing that money is the only thing that matters in poker, but with more and more professionals playing the WSOP for the prestige rather than the cash, Hellmuth has a good chance to break most of the WSOP records with a good run this year and next.
"I always like to make poker records," Hellmuth said.
After a disappointing 2005 WSOP, Hellmuth vowed to be better prepared for the 2006 events, clearing his schedule of outside attractions and devoting his time solely to tournaments and proceedings at the Rio All Suites Hotel and Casino.
So far, the plan has been successful.
"I have a good chance to take it all. My game is in tip top shape." Hellmuth said.
Ryan McLane is a gaming industry reporter for Casino City and is assigned to the poker beat. Email your comments and questions to him at email@example.com .