He’s been nicknamed the Poker Brat, but make no mistake: he may be the greatest player of all time.

And he certainly is in terms of World Series of Poker tournament bracelets — he’s won sixteen of them.

He has also written a book called Positivity: You Are Always in the Right Place at the Right Time.

Here is a collection of 37 of his best quotes about poker, success, and life itself.


Best Phil Hellmuth quotes

If you keep playing phenomenally and put yourself into those positions to win, then eventually you’re going to win.

One of my chapters from my book is: write down your yearly goals. It’s going to take a day — you may write them down, and then change orders, and then write them down again, and change orders, and change goals, but after about 48 hours of thinking, you’ll write them down.

I’ve been changing people’s lives. All the time people are like, you’ve changed my life. Because they’re hitting their number one and two goals, during that same year. Why? Before, they knew they wanted to be in Hawaii, but they never wrote down they wanted to be in Hawaii. I teach people to write down what they want.

I happen to find myself with some of the world’s most successful people and celebrities, and I bring tons of positivity and energy with me.

If you never bluff, you’ll rarely get called. If you bluff all the time, you’ll always get called.

I know for me, forgiving people stealing from me and all this other stuff, has led to amazing results. And I have no hatred in my heart. I get to walk around happy every day. I think it’s really huge.

If luck weren’t involved, I’d win every tournament!

No matter how much you may want to think of Hold’em as a card game played by people, in many respects it is even more valid to think of it as a game about people that happens to be played with cards.

I’m probably the most fun-loving guy that I know.

I think I’m fun to be with, and I’m real and authentic.

They called me and they said: okay, your book just hit the New York Time’s best seller list. We just sent a bottle of Dom to your room. So I just walked around high for weeks, because that was one of the last goals that I had to accomplish.

I would like my legacy to be that I’m the all-time greatest, that I’ve won more bracelets than anybody else. It’s about having the most bracelets, having the most final tables. Stuff that you can measure.

This “poker brat” kind of works for me. It’s like I get rid of all the frustration verbally, so I don’t have to be frustrated mentally.

I wasn’t performing well in the areas my parents expected me to perform well. So what was I good at? Every game we played. Monopoly, baccarat — every game we played, I was a master at those games, and I became very good very quickly.

I slowly lost it all in Vegas over fourteen months and ten trips, which isn’t bad for a 21 year old! Most lose it quickly in Vegas! I would lose in Vegas, then win at home.

I live an amazing and blessed life. It’s meant to say: you can be a professional poker player and have a great life!

I had $20,000 in the bank before I started heading to Vegas. Built from nothing and in debt with student loans.

Way back in 2002 I realized that I’m inspirational to people. Not the stuff that you see on television, although that’s kind of fun to watch. But me performing at the top of what I do.

In my industry, it’s kind of fun to see, wow, how did Phil know to fold this, or move in with this? When I’m achieving the most I can achieve, and I’m playing poker like no one else has ever seen, that can be inspirational for millions of people that watch it.

Other Phil Hellmuth quotes

One thing is for sure: I have earned the status of greatest poker tournament player of all time.

Daniel has written many negative blog posts about my style of poker or plays that I have made, but he is speaking his truth, and he has never ever crossed any lines with me. It was never personal.

Looking back, I managed my money decently from the start.

I tried to major in Business, but my grades weren’t quite good enough for business school.

There’s a concept that the public doesn’t understand, and even most great players don’t understand, or a lot of them don’t understand — I’ve never been all-in. It’s something I do better than anybody in the world.

Chris was the only person that I taught that system to. In fifth grade I moved to a different school, so Chris and I lost touch.

As the oldest child, he expected me to do well and lead the way for my younger siblings. Of course, I had ADD (or perhaps ADHD) and that makes it difficult to do well in a standard school setting.

Being the oldest of five was difficult, and I talk about my struggles with that in my autobiography, Poker Brat.

Palo Alto is a dream! Perfect weather; people that think they can do anything, and reach for the stars. I saw great people in Wisconsin as well, but I moved out of there when I was 27 years old.

I loved watching Tiger golf, especially in the majors. I marveled at how he hit the ball so close to the pin. Luckily, I get time with Tiger and MJ, and it’s fun!

I’ve enjoyed hanging out with Draymond Green — he has great joy and passion for life. 

It’s a mixed bag of all the tricks you have, all the tricks you’ve accumulated. And you have to be able to reach into all those bags when you need them.

One of these bags where I have some tricks is the reading ability. That’s a huge thing. That’s the difference between eleven bracelets and two bracelets — reading ability.

In 2011, they were talking about how I had fallen out of the top 500 in poker, how I sucked at the game. Exactly three weeks later I had two second place finishes, and they were talking about how I was the greatest. I was just like, what changed?

Family first. Then you have your fun movie star life, where all these great things happen. But family first.

When I went broke, I took a job working in the cornfields for a few months. That was rough!

The strategy I use is more based on reading people, and it’s just a very interesting strategy, and it just keeps working for me.

I constantly think about legacy. What I’ve done, what I can do. I decided that I wanted to be the greatest poker player of all time, and I decided I had to do it in World Series tournaments.

Phil Hellmuth’s WSOP bracelets

  • 1989 $10,000 NLHE World Championship. Won: $755k.
  • 1992 $5,000 LHE. Won: $168k.
  • 1993 $1,500 NLHE. Won: $161k.
  • 1993 $2,500 NLHE. Won: $173k.
  • 1993 $5,000 LHE. Won: $138k.
  • 1997 $3,000 PLHE. Won: $204k.
  • 2001 $2,000 NLHE. Won: $316k.
  • 2003 $2,500 LHE. Won: $171k.
  • 2003 $3,000 NLHE. Won: $410k.
  • 2006 $1,000 NLHE. Won: $631k.
  • 2007 $1,500 NLHE. Won: $637k
  • 2012 $2,500 Seven card Razz. Won: $182k.
  • 2012 €10,450 NLHE Main Event. Won: €1M.
  • 2015 $10,000 Seven card Razz. Won: $271k.
  • 2018 $5,000 NLHE. Won: $485k.
  • 2021 $1,500 NL 2-7 Lowball draw. Won: $84k.