Phil Hellmuth Crowned Main Event Champion in Pittsburgh at the Rivers Casino
Another Star-Studded Cash Game Filmed for “Poker Night in America”
Pittsburgh, PA (Nov. 17) — By any measure, it’s been an eventful week for Phil Hellmuth, Jr., best known as the 1989 world poker champion and the all-time leader in WSOP gold bracelet wins.
He began his Sunday night in Las Vegas, by giving the induction speech for the legendary Jack McClelland, who was officially inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame.
The following two days, he spent several hours appearing on national television as part of ESPN’s coverage team for the World Series of Poker championship finale.
Then, it was off to Pittsburgh for an appearance on “Poker Night in America,” which is broadcast weekly on CBS Sports. Hellmuth played in the televised cash game for two full days, which was also shown via live stream.
Earlier tonight, I had the great honor of emceeing this year’s annual Poker Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
I’m deeply grateful to Ty Stewart and Seth Palansky (from Caesars Entertainment) for being chosen by them to host the event and for being permitted to stand along with so many poker legends, both past and present.
The Class of 2014 was comprised to two inductees — Jack McClelland and Daniel Negreanu. Both of these exceptional gentlemen have contributed to the game immensely in different ways — McClelland primarily as a tournament official and industry leader, and Negreanu as a poker player and ambassador. I was pleased to see quite contrasting individuals honored in this way, which reveals there are many ways to be successful, have an impact, and make the game better. Both honorees have done exactly that, and more.
The night was made even more special because we all returned to the hallowed “place that made poker famous” (that’s the casino’s catchy tagline). Binion’s Gambling Hall (formally Binion’s Horseshoe) rolled out the red carpet for everyone who attended, hosting the gathering inside what used to be known as Benny’s Bullpen. Now, it’s called the Longhorn Room. My deepest thanks goes to Michelle, Paul, Jerry, Brad, and all the other fine people working at Binion’s who helped put the evening together, and who keep the tradition alive.
A reporter recently asked me, “who’s the greatest poker player of all time?”
My answer was — it depends on how we define “greatest.”
Are we judging raw talent? Are we counting the most money won over a lifetime? Are we comparing the most accomplishments and accolades? Are we measuring longevity? Are we weighing popularity? Or, should we define “greatest” by all these things?
Bingo. That’s my final answer. All these things — talent, money, accomplishments, accolades, popularity, and longevity — should merit serious consideration.
By these criteria, when it comes to determining the greatest ever, I don’t know how anyone could argue any poker player, past or present, other than Doyle Brunson. The documentation in support of Brunson from the mid-1950s to the present is so self-evident, that the far more interesting debate should be — who is the poker player most likely to follow in “Texas Dolly’s” footsteps and eventually match his legacy?
Again, I think the evidence here is pretty self-evident.
Even if you didn’t know Joe Sartori by name, you still knew him.
He was the kind of guy who was always there for everyone. He was the person who watched over those he cared about. Some people in life are just like that. They’re called guardian angels.
Joe was steadily dependable, unwaveringly so, always there when you needed a favor or just a helping hand. He never took credit for anything, and even displayed an endearing social awkwardness when receiving praise. He shied away from the public spotlight, and instead was seemingly far more comfortable with trying make others look and feel good. He was a doer, not a talker. He believed in actions and results.
Joe was a gentle soul, who worked hard, and loved life. He was best known for his tireless and often varied work within the poker industry. He started out at Palace Station and later the Palms, in Las Vegas. Joe also worked at Casino Morongo, near Palm Springs. For the past two years, he worked exclusively at the television show, “Poker Night in America,” owned by Rush Street Gaming.
Yesterday, Joe passed away at the age of 55, which goes to show that life just isn’t fair sometimes. Most of us never had a chance to say our goodbyes.