The oldest argument in the modern game ignited again this week after Phil Galfond dared to say something nice about another player.

Is Phil Hellmuth, the player with the most World Series of Poker bracelets, a great player? It’s odd that a player with such an accolade is even subject to a debate, but we have argued about it forever and we are doing it again (after all it is not like there is anything else newsworthy happening in poker right now). 

Phil Galfond made the mistake of praising the Poker Brat after a recent performance on PokerGO:

Little did he realise he would face the wrath of the Hellmuth haters. Most of whom wanted to question the ability of Phil, some of them (most notably Olivier Busquet) taking the opportunity to take shots at Hellmuth’s flawed ambassadorial qualities:

It was enough pushback that Galfond felt the need to qualify his statements about Phil:

Phil himself seemed hurt that Fedor Holz would be so critical, reminding him of his 15 bracelets on Instagram as a way of proving his poker chops:




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I wasn’t expecting you to attack my play @fedorholz! Personally, I always had respect for the generation that came before me. Respect for the guys that plowed the road for me. It’s true, I did punt 2-3 $300,000 buy-ins that I played in w you. I respect you Fedor, and I respect the big winners in poker whose strategies that I don’t agree with. I hope that I can continue to win @WSOP bracelets for the next 25 years and prove to you, someday, that my strategies, although unconventional, are top notch. I would never judge a great poker players play because I saw them have a few bad days. Rather, I would ask myself: how are they winning? What strategies work well for them? Can I incorporate those strategies myself? Fedor – I hope to show you that I am a great poker player. My goal is to win 24 @WSOP Bracelets and 5 @WPT titles. In 2019 WSOP tourneys I had: a 2nd-, a 3rd-, a 5th-, a 6th-, and a 16-place finish. My hope is that I can earn everyone’s respect in the poker world, including the new—talented generations—of now & the future #POSITIVITY

A post shared by Phil Hellmuth Jr. (@philhellmuthpositivity) on

And of course it would not be poker if there wasn’t a heads-up match proposed to settle the debate:

In case you are wondering about the match that Galfond was referring to that ignited this debate, it was this one:

The debate itself is nothing new and is as old as the related ‘live vs online’ player argument. Hellmuth does not have a strong technical game and probably could not even define GTO let alone explain what a solver does. But he does have a unique ability to read people and adapt in a live setting, in particular he seems talented at exploiting amateur players and use his table image in ways others can’t. 

It’s probably quite a fruitless endeavour to debate it further, but see you same time next year when we will probably be doing just that. 

Is Phil the greatest? Let us know in the comments:





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