It’s a rare thing in professional sports when you can point to a single individual as the greatest of all time in their sport and there is a clear consensus on who the GOAT is. For swimming and the Summer Olympics, Michael Phelps is the undisputed GOAT with 28 total medals (2nd place has 18) and 23 gold medals (2nd place has 9).
In poker, the ‘GOAT’ is a bit more subjective and might vary depending on who you are talking to but the ‘Poker Brat’ Phil Hellmuth holds the title of WSOP GOAT with 17 World Series of Poker bracelets. There are three others tied at 10 bracelets (Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, and Phil Ivey). Phil Hellmuth is almost certainly the GOAT of tournament poker.
These two legends watched the Formula 1 race in Las Vegas together over the weekend and Michael Phelps bruised Phil Hellmuth’s ego just a bit when Phelps put his accomplishments in the context of Hellmuth’s. Phil shared a clip of them watching the race:
Phil Hellmuth says “it’s Michael Phelps… Oh wait, he has 23 gold medals. I have 17, I’m going to pass him.”
And that’s where Phelps takes Hellmuth down a peg. Michael responds with “you get to compete in 28 events a year… I competed in 30 Olympic races (total). Let’s talk about stats, homie.”
Phil’s 4-letter response said it all. He was quiet for a moment before adding ‘f—‘ and laughing it off. Hellmuth then added that “it’s still a total, Mike. You know my lifetime goal is 24.” Phelps shut it down by adding “all I do is win.”
It’s unclear why Phil Hellmuth had headphones around his head for the entire interaction but it’s part of his signature look with the tracksuit so we’ll just opt to not ask questions.
I spoke with Phil Hellmuth for an interview during the 2021 World Series of Poker. At that time, Hellmuth was on a HISTORIC heater in the WSOP and we discussed his keys to success that Summer.