The self-proclaimed best poker tournament player and cash game regular Phil Hellmuth won a prop bet against Doug Polk testing, not his player reading abilities, but tennis skills. Hellmuth was eager to show that his understanding is up to snuff with what’s fast becoming one of the most popular sports in the States.
Known in the poker circles as the “poker brat”, Hellmuth is also known for not shying away from unconventional prop bets. And rightly so, a jack of all trades, he has shown not once why he has a reason to be so overly confident both on the table and anywhere else.
Hellmuth showed an enviable aptitude for athletic sports to win the two-part bet. However, his success was contingent on the agreement he and Doug Polk had made beforehand. Both poker pros agreed they’d have only 20 attempts to make a successful return against a professional tennis player and win the $7000 bet.
However, this isn’t all. It doesn’t come as a surprise that Hellmuth decided to sweeten the pot a bit. From what it seems, He kicked it up a notch by proposing a side pot up for grabs for whoever manages to make a winning return or scores a point in-play. In such case, an additional $16 000 bounty would be added to the $7000 won for returning the serve.
Like always, Hellmuth played his cards perfectly, negotiating an additional critical stipulation. Knowing what he’s about to face, he offered a gentlemen’s agreement that none of the twenty serves would be faster than 80 mph. And that about sums up the conditions both millionaires and friends agreed on.
To better imagine the importance of the last contingency, let me quickly mention that retired tennis pro Andry Roddics has a legit 155 mph serve on his record. So, it’s abundantly clear that giving a male tennis pro the right to perform their best serve would be like giving them a license to kill.
The Event Lived up to the Hype
Hellmuth made a public display of his speed and grace on his twitter account, publishing a short succession of videos filmed on the court. Jokes aside, from the published footage we can see that the poker brat has the footwork to be called a decent amateur tennis player.
The videos show that the luxury resorts’ tennis courts might very well be Phil Hellmuth’s stomping ground. The possibility of him hiring a highly qualified tennis coach before the actual challenge took place is not out of the equation either.
If you watch the video documentation with the eyes of a tennis pundit, you’d see the poker pro going for chip-and-charge, reaching for demi-volleys, and displaying good composure and stance. This time the 15-time WSOP bracelet winner has earned the bragging rights and no one can take that away from him.
From the looks of it, It seems as though Hellmuth is way out of Dough Polk’s league at least when tennis is concerned. We can only hope that Polk is bearing up after the humbling experience.