Phil Hellmuth made his initial appearance in the 2022 World Series of Poker Main Event much like in year’s past — decked out in a costume. But his arrival on Thursday wasn’t met with the usual excitement from the crowd, nor was his entrance as extravagant as in previous years.
The “Poker Brat” showed up for the Day 2abc session in a Darth Vader costume, and few cheered while a number of players inside the Bally’s ballroom booed. Most seemed disinterested in the spectacle.
Less Buzz for Entrance
One difference in his grand entrance this year was he went solo as opposed to having models and sidekicks nearby. He openly admitted on Twitter that his arrival this year wouldn’t be exciting.
“Don’t be too excited for my @WSOP entrance this year. It’s JUST me. Just one guy in a costume (w some cool music). We didn’t have time to hire 16 models, or an entourage. At 2023 WSOP Main Event we will hire models, entourage, the whole works,” Hellmuth tweeted on Wednesday.
The 1989 world champion wasn’t kidding, and the crowd at Bally’s reacted accordingly. It was perhaps the first time in years there wasn’t much buzz surrounding the Poker Hall of Famer’s WSOP Main Event entrance.
Last year, Hellmuth entered the Main Event dressed as “Galdalf the White” with Dan “Jungleman” Cates also decked out in Lord of the Rings attire, along with a host of models. Some of his other previous grand entrance costumes include a NASCAR driver, Caesar, and Thor.
Up and Down Series for Hellmuth
Hellmuth is a past Main Event winner and holds the record with 16 WSOP bracelets, far and away exceeding the three-way tie for second place at 10. Last week, he nearly extended that record but lost a heads-up match to David Jackson in Event #65: $3,000 Freezeout No-Limit Hold’em.
During the final table, poker pro Chris Hunichen heckled the former world champ from the rail. At one point, Hellmuth called over PokerGO producer Mori Eskandani to silence “Big Huni.”
Security was eventually called over to control the situation, but Hunichen was permitted to remain in the crowd for the duration. He continued to cheer loudly for Jackson and bash Hellmuth.
The inability to close out the tournament was disappointing for the “Poker Brat,” but he won $369,698, his first major score of the 2022 WSOP. On Thursday, he began his quest to run deep in the biggest event of them all.