Phil Hellmuth was denied his 17th World Series of Poker bracelet early Sunday.
After a 35-minute heads-up battle with David Jackson, Hellmuth finished second in the $3,000 buy-in Freezeout No-Limit Hold’em tournament at Bally’s Event Center.
Hellmuth was looking to extend his record of 16 WSOP tournament victories, six ahead of Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan and Phil Ivey. Instead, he settled for the $369,698 second prize.
Jackson earned his first career live WSOP bracelet and $598,173. His previous win came in the $777 buy-in No-limit Hold’em Lucky Sevens Seven-Handed Online event in 2021.
The close call for Hellmuth on the eve of the start of the $10,000 buy-in Main Event No-limit Hold’em World Championship continued his eventful summer.
He suffered from stomach issues when he arrived at the series after a weekend in Mexico, then tested positive for COVID-19. When he left quarantine, Hellmuth said he experienced an abnormal heartbeat during a tournament.
Since then, Hellmuth had opportunities to extend his all-time bracelet record, but finished eighth and ninth in separate 2-7 Lowball Draw Championship events. His best chance came in the No-limit Freezeout when he was among the chip leaders most of the final day.
After arriving at the five-handed featured table, the “Poker Brat” began arguing with fans after being heckled. He later scarfed down a roast beef sandwich and said “Food makes me pretty lucky,” which quickly became a meme on social media.
— DLo (@GGsDLo) July 3, 2022
Hellmuth made some peculiar plays at the final table but survived to face Jackson, who entered heads-up play with almost a 4.5-to-1 chip advantage. That deficit was quickly erased when Hellmuth slow-played pocket aces to win a massive pot and take the lead.
But Jackson controlled the match the rest of the way. Hellmuth called a river bet and was shown a flush, giving Jackson a 2-to-1 chip lead. From there, Jackson applied pressure and built on his advantage.
On the final hand, Hellmuth was all-in and ahead with ace-seven against Jackson’s king-jack. But the final two cards completed Jackson’s straight to send a disappointed Hellmuth to the rail.