Is Phil Hellmuth the Greatest Poker Player of All Time? [GOAT]

November 6, 2021
Clinton Jacob Machoka

It’s high time we hold the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All-Time) debate in the poker world, like other sports and disciplines. Who is the Greatest Poker Player of All Time?. In reality, it’s an impossible question to answer accurately. At the end of one’s career, even being regarded for such a title is an honor in itself. One player worthy of this conversation is Phill Hellmuth.

Recently, Phil Hellmuth emerged victorious in the $1,500 no-limit 2-7 Lowball draw event held in Las Vegas, extending his record with his 16th World Series of Poker gold bracelet. This win sparked poker G.O.A.T debates online. Hellmuth also leads in All-time cash in WSOP, cashing 153 times, and final-tabled 70 times. Hellmuth is the only player to win both WSOP main events in Europe and the USA. He has had tremendous success in WSOP events, and his track record is second to none. Hellmuth has a total of $25,411,159 in his live career earnings, according to Hendon Mob.


Which basis should one use to declare a player the Greatest of All Time? In poker, is it the bracelets, money, or the longevity of one’s career? As for the money, Phil Hellmuth does not come close even in sniffing the top 10 in the all-time money list.

The table below shows players’ rankings in the all-time money list.


Bryn Kenney



Justin Bonomo



Daniel Negreanu



David Peters



Erik Seidel


Can you be the G.O.A.T. in poker if you don’t appear in the top 10 money list?. Money runs the show in the poker sphere, and it is difficult to challenge it. The majority of Kenney’s career earnings are from playing high rollers games. Arguably, his super-high roller games earnings are not enough to qualify him to be regarded as an all-time great.

Online Poker

Hellmuth has never been unable to translate his live poker game success into the online sphere. Most of his critics claim he is a one-dimensional poker player and will get crushed online even in mid-stakes by GTO maniacs. In a heads-up match, his live counterpart Daniel Negreanu got destroyed by Doug Polk, one of the best online poker players in the world, and lost $1.2 million. Hellmuth is a great player but likely would not compete with the very best online poker players outside a brick-and-mortar casino since they will demolish him on the virtual felt.


Hellmuth is the undisputed G.O.A.T. of WSOP. His illustrious career spanning over four decades is nothing short of spectacular. He is the only player to win bracelets in the 80s,90s,00s, and even recently 2021. His lack of online poker success somehow taints his resume. Hellmuth’s emotional outbursts, trash-talking his opponents, storming off are some of the traits that earned him the ‘Poker Brat’ nickname. He is hard to deal with, especially at the poker tables. Regardless of his antics, his accomplishments speak for themselves.

Hellmuth has had remarkable achievements in WSOP and managed to have a long successful career. Despite all these attainments, he still has room for improvement to be considered the Greatest of All Time.

Hellmuth is not the only deserving player of the G.O.A.T. title. Phil Ivey has even a stronger case than him. Legends of the game like Doyle Brunson, among others, are also worth mentioning.

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