Dec 24, 2018
Phil Hellmuth Scores Against Tennis Pro – Wins $23k Prop Bet
By RTR Dennis
Phil Hellmuth is well known for his high level of self-confidence. He's proven this at the poker table by saying things like, "If luck weren't involved, I would win every time."
But does Hellmuth believe that he's a god away from the poker tables too? Possibly so, given that he recently bet on his ability to both return a tennis pro's serve and even score a point against them.
Of course, even Hellmuth recognizes his limitations. This is why he asked for a few stipulations to make the prop bet more reasonable. You can read about the stipulations below along with how his wager went.
Win a Point Worth $23,000
The Poker Brat wagered $7,000 at even odds on his ability to return a tennis professional's serve. He bet another $2,000 at 8:1 odds ($16,000 return) that he could score one point during the prop bet.
Some concessions were made for the wager, including that the pro couldn't serve over 80 mph (129 km). Most male professional tennis players serve around 110 mph (177 km), which gave Phil quite a break.
He was also given 20 chances to return a serve and score a point. Hellmuth describes himself as a beginner, which is why he was spotted such a generous amount of serves.
Hellmuth Progressively Gets Better
Hellmuth tweeted a series of clips on his progress during the prop wager. He doesn't fare so well in the beginning and even watches an ace fly by him on the second serve.
However, he starts building some momentum as he continues trying to return serves. One of the poker pros betting against him can be heard saying an expletive after Hellmuth comes within a few feet of returning a shot (third video).
Poker player Jon Ferraro can be heard in the background asking the tennis pro to "kick it up" after he serves a ball at 73 mph (fourth video). Ferraro does his best coaching job in an attempt to beat Phil and hold onto his money.
Hellmuth Miraculously Scores a Point
The beginning of the fifth video shows Hellmuth and the player discussing a buyout option for $3,000. After some discussion, they continue playing the original bet.
Afterward, the Poker Brat not only returns the serve but also scores a point. He hits the ball across the net, and the tennis pro's return is a little too soft. Hellmuth then gets the chance to celebrate winning $23,000 total.
Other Famous Phil Hellmuth Prop Bets
Phil Hellmuth isn't known as one of the biggest poker prop bettors. However, he has (allegedly) made a couple of noteworthy prop wagers in his gambling career.
The first is a prop bet that’s gone down in poker folklore. Hellmuth supposedly bet Seed $10,000 that he couldn't stand in the ocean submerged up to his shoulders for 24 hours.
The tale varies on whether Seed won or lost the best. The reality, though, is that it never even happened.
Seed explained on the 2+2 PokerCast that he almost accepted a bet from Hellmuth that he could float in the ocean for 24 hours without touching.
One prop wager that did happen is Hellmuth’s three-pointer bet with Doug Polk. Phil wagered that he could sink a three-pointer in a single shot, putting up $1,000 against Polk's $10,000.
The Poker Brat nailed the shot and won $10k off Polk. You can see the footage below, which appeared on Polk's podcast.