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Aaron Todd

Aaron  Todd

Home-game hotshot Aaron Todd was an editor/writer at Casino City for nearly eight years, and is currently the Assistant Director of Athletics for Communications and Marketing at St. Lawrence University, his alma mater. While he is happy to play Texas Hold'em, he'd rather mix it up and play Omaha Hi/Lo, Razz, Deuce-to-Seven Triple Draw, and Badugi.

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Hellmuth Wins Tenth WSOP Bracelet

26 Jul 2006

By Aaron Todd

"Johnny Chan, Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth. Congratulations, again you have made World Series of Poker history."

And with that, World Series of Poker (WSOP) Commissioner Jeffrey Pollack handed Hellmuth his 10th career gold bracelet after Hellmuth came from behind to defeat Juha Helppi in WSOP Event # 34, a $1,000 No Limit Hold'em Rebuy tournament.

Hellmuth won $631,863 for outlasting 753 opponents, but the money was secondary for the man who became the youngest player to win the WSOP Main Event in 1989.

Chan and Brunson each won their 10th bracelet in 2005, and Hellmuth has been on a mission to catch up to the Hall of Fame players this year. He's been on the verge of that twice already, finishing second and sixth in events earlier in this Series.

The win was clearly an emotional one for Hellmuth, who waxed philosophical in an impromptu post-tournament presentation with Pollack.

"I said this the other day," Hellmuth said. "I said I'd pay a million dollars to win a bracelet, but (I) had to win it. I didn't know if I'd get there because I came close three times this trip. I'm just so, so happy."

The crowd was clearly pulling for Hellmuth, chanting "10! 10! 10!" after every pivotal hand. After he clinched the victory, Hellmuth abandoned Pollack, who started the bracelet presentation, to high-five members of the audience, including poker pros Mike Matusow (who nearly tackled him) and John Bonetti. He hugged his family, generating a loud round of applause when he hugged his son Phil, before rejoining Pollack to pick up his bracelet.

Hellmuth came into the final table as the chip leader, and except for a few hands along the way, maintained that chip lead until Helppi knocked out Daryn Firicano in third to build a 2-1 lead going into heads-up play.

Helppi was just one card away from the title in an unbelievable sequence, as both players were all in before the flop, Helppi with A-6 and Hellmuth with pocket Fives. While Hellmuth hit a set on the flop, all three cards were diamonds, giving Helppi a flush draw. Helppi hit the Queen of diamonds on the turn to take the lead, but the river brought another Queen, giving Hellmuth a full house. The players were virtually tied after the hand.

Hellmuth didn't need as much luck on the next pivotal hand, calling Helppi's all-in re-raise with pocket Kings, which held up against Helppi's A-10. Hellmuth had a 7-1 chip lead after the hand, and it was all over but the crying for Helppi, who has yet to win a WSOP bracelet.

"(Helppi) played great poker," Hellmuth said after the tournament. "I played at his table three days, and don't worry about Juha, he's going to win some bracelets."

Hellmuth finally knocked out the Finn with an A-J, beating Helppi's A-9.

Known for his taste for expensive champagne, Hellmuth didn't disappoint the crowd, rewarding his supporters for being in his corner during the match.

"Now I want this on the record," Hellmuth said. "I'm not buying the Dom (Perignon), because I don't want to get sued later. But Ultimate Bet is buying the Dom! Over in the UB lounge, I'll be there; I'll be drinking a few glasses."

True to form, the lounge was hopping at 2 a.m., as fans and friends were there to celebrate Hellmuth's victory. There are 10 reasons to toast Phil Hellmuth tonight.

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