Phil Hellmuth Conjures up the "White Magic" to Win PNIA's "King of the Hill"

Phil Hellmuth has been crowned Poker Night in America's "King of the Hill" after staging a quite unbelievable comeback against Daniel "jungleman12" Cates in the final match in the best of three heads-up encounter.

Cates and Hellmuth made it to the "final" after beating Frank Kassela and Doug "WCGRider" Polk in their opening matches of this $50,000 buy-in showcase event on Poker Night in America in New york.


In the final Hellmuth started as well as he could have hoped, winning the first match after recovering from more than a 3:1 chip defiict. His starting $100k stack had windled to less than $50k before a strong comeback enabled him to take the upper-hand in the best of three match final.

It all seemed to go wrong for "The Poker Brat" after that as he entered the second match with perhaps a little too much gusto and proceeded to bluff off chips left right and centre in what turned out to be an easy second round for the jungleman.

Things went from bad to worse for Hellmuth at the start of the third match which was heading towards an inevitable anticlimatic ending. Once again Hellmuth was bluffing away huge chunks of his stack, most notably losing a $120k pot after barrelling all the way on an A-Q-9-8-K board with just 2-3 off suit only for jungleman to (eventually call) with A-8.

At his lowest Hellmuth was down to just $5.8k chips to jungleman's $194.2k after just over 20 minutes play in the final game but remarkably he began to chip up courtesy of a couple of double-ups as well as picking up AA and KK back to back. However, after scrapping his way back up to $35k it should have been all over for Hellmuth after he yet again tried to bluff his opponent with Queen high on a 10d-2c-3d-10s-9d board with Cates holding 10c-5c.

After betting big on the turn Hellmuth put his final $9.9k into the already $50k pot on the river, giving Cates odds of 6:1 to call and win the match. Considering he had trip 10's and the quite outrageous pot odds (not to mention his huge chip lead) to win the entire match it came as something of a surprise when Cates practically snap-folded the river, prompting a "Wait, WHAT? I'm sorry but what just happened?" from commentator Doug Polk.

Apparently Cates thought there was no way Hellmuth hadn't hit the flush and decided (much to his own chagrin for the rest of the match) to go with his "live read" rather than relying on the math which has served him so well throughout his career so far.

With his stack up to $60k a rejuvinated Hellmuth began to play some quality power poker, whilst Cates tried in vain to control his obvious frustration at the events unfolding. It wasn't long before Hellmuth took the lead.

The match was far from over, however, and it continued for another hour and a half, although it was certainly Hellmuth who looked the most comfortable. The end came with Cates down to $52k chips and the blinds up to $4k/$2k. Cates looked down at KQ off-suit in the big blind and shoved all-in only for Hellmuth to call with A-6 off suit. The board bricked and Hellmuth won a fantastic victory that I imagine he won't forget (or let the poker community forget) for some time.


Above: The moment Phil Hellmuth won Poker Night in America's "King of the Hill" after coming back from holding less than 3% of the chips in play

Hellmuth picked up $200,000 and the first "King of the Hill" belt for his victory, which was live streamed on twitch and is available to watch now on Poker Night in America's twitch channel


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