Phil Hellmuth has won 51 titles in his Hall of Fame career, including a record 16 World Series of Poker gold bracelets. One tour he had not managed to secure a title on, though, was the high-roller-focused PokerGO Tour. On March 29 Hellmuth scratched a PGT win off of his to-do list in style. Hellmuth steamrolled the final day of the latest $10,500 buy-in no-limit hold’em event at the 2023 U.S. Poker Open in under two hours before dragging the last pot with a six-high straight flush.
The flashy final hand saw Hellmuth awarded a USPO golden eagle trophy and the top prize of $211,200. The score increased the 58-year-old’s lifetime tournament earnings to more than $25.3 million.
Hellmuth also earned 480 Card Player Player of the Year points as the champion of this event. This was his first POY-qualified cash of the year. The 211 PGT points that came along with the title were enough to move Hellmuth into sixth place in the series-long points race when combined with the 19 he earned for a 12th-place showing in event no. 3 of the USPO, which was another $10,500 NLH affair. His 230 total points also put him within reach of the overall top 40 on the season-long PGT leaderboard.
This event played out over the course of two days at the PokerGO Studio inside ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Day 2 began with just seven players remaining from the 88 that entered. Five-time bracelet winner Jeremy Ausmus held the chip lead to start, with bracelet winner Jesse Lonis and Hellmuth sitting on the next-largest stacks.
Four-time World Poker Tour main event winner Darren Elias was the first to fall when his A-5 suited ran into the A-K suited of Ausmus. Elias picked up a backdoor flush draw, but a brick on the river saw him eliminated in seventh place ($44,000).
USPO $10,500 pot-limit Omaha event winner Allan Le made this final table just a day after winning his first PGT trophy. His run at going back-to-back ended in sixth place when his A-Q suited was unable to outflip the pocket sevens of Hellmuth. Le earned $52,800 for his efforts.
Just moments later Hellmuth picked up A-K suited against the A-Q of Aram Oganyan. All of the chips got in preflop and Hellmuth flopped a king to extend his lead in the hand. He held through the river to send Oganyan to the rail in fifth place with $70,400.
With that Hellmuth overtook the chip lead from Ausmus. He soon added to that advantage when his A-J came from behind against the A-Q suited of George Wolff. Hellmuth spiked a jack on the turn and then dodged straight outs to eliminate Wolff in fourth place ($88,000).
Lonis doubled through Jeremy Ausmus during early three-handed action, but Ausmus doubled back through to leave Lonis as the shortest stack once again. He ended up shoving his last 14 big blinds with A-3 from the button. Hellmuth called with K-J out of the big blind and a king-high runout ended Lonis’ tournament in third place ($105,600).
Heads-up play began with Hellmuth holding 6,820,000 to Ausmus’ 4,180,000. The pair had played heads-up with a WSOP bracelet on the line back in 2021. Ausmus came out on top that time, taking down the $50,000 buy-in pot-limit Omaha event for nearly $1.2 million.
Ausmus started off strong and was even able to bluff Hellmuth off of rivered trips on a board with three spades and four cards to straight. Moments after that, Hellmuth three-bet shoved with ace high over a check-raise from Ausmus with queen high and some backdoor outs. Ausmus was forced to lay down his hand, sending a healthy pot to Hellmuth.
The final hand began with Hellmuth holding roughly a 7:4 lead over Ausmus, who limped in for 50,000 on the button with Q10. Hellmuth checked with 62 and checked dark. The flop came down 1054 to give Hellmuth a flush. Ausmus bet 100,000 with his top pair and queen-high flush draw. Hellmuth check-raised to 500,000 with his flush and Ausmus responded with a reraise to 1,050,000. Hellmuth shoved and Ausmus called.
The turn brought the 3 to give Hellmuth an unbeatable six-high straight flush, ending the sweat and guaranteeing him the title. Check out video of the final hand posted by PokerGO on their Twitter account.
Phil Hellmuth hits a walk-off straight flush to end it and capture his first PokerGO Major Title!!!
phil_hellmuth</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/jeremyausmus?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">jeremyausmus get the money in on the flop, but a three of clubs on the turn seals the deal and delivers Hellmuth his first U.S. Poker Open title. pic.twitter.com/9BtVLuK26k
— PokerGO (@PokerGO) March 29, 2023
Ausmus earned $149,600 as the runner-up. This was already his ninth final-table finish of the year. With $774,772 in POY earnings, he now sits in 16th place in the 2023 POY race sponsored by Global Poker. Ausmus also secured 150 PGT points and is currently ranked 12th on that leaderboard.
Here is a look at the payouts and rankings points awarded on day 2:
Photo credits: PokerGO / Enrique Malfavon.