The Poker Bat, your ambassador to poker knowledge and Badassador to the rest of the world, has some thoughts on his favorite Brat. The Bat imagines one day he’ll get the chance to sing “Philly” as the grizzled veteran Sam Grizzle once called him, off the table after dismissing that nit with deuce seven special that hit real snug against his over-valued overpairs. Until that day, the Bat must admit he’s enjoying every mis-step by Hellmuth as it comes to online poker games.
Good ol’ Philly (and by the way, it should be “ol’ ” why does Ole Miss use ole that’s something Mexicans say, not Mississippians) stubbed his toe on his way out the door at UB. He and Annie Duke picked up and left the embattled poker site, and now UB is headed by noted poker pro Joe Seebok (?). What is Cereusly going on over there. While Philly will probably land on his feet as the face of some poker entity’s online poker tournaments what will happen to Duke?
The Bat knows rats are first off a sinking ship and the Bat doesn’t want to call good ol’ Annie Duke and good ol’ Philly Hellmuth rats but they are jumping ship. The Bat’s wondered why big brother Howard hasn’t been signing Annie’s pay-checks for some time, so it’s probably only a matter of time before Duke is cuddling up to Jennifer Harmon in Full Tilt gear. Though you got to wonder if the self-declared best woman in poker is going to enjoy another woman at her side in photos. Her friendship with Erik Seidel could help get the deal done, though likely it’d just take Howard’s consent–at least it appeared that way in the Jimmy Fricke email fiasco.
The real question is does Full Tilt need her? What kind of market does Duke provide? What new players are going to sign on because Duke is there? Truth is parting ways with UB might be welcomed both by the company and by Duke. UB is still a yellow and black mare on the reputations of many associated with it and now Duke doesn’t have to answer questions on their behalf anymore. For UB, the volatile Duke while at one point a strong advocate also brought some “haters” to the brand.
Phil Hellmuth is as divisive as he is popular. Nobody is a better self-promoter in the game, including Daniel Negreanu, and lately Tony Dunst. While Hellmuth is a brand, you need only look at his Tiger Woods wannabe hat to see that, he’s not opening any new doors for many sites either. Truth is there are sexier possibilities for new sites, and Hellmuth doesn’t really fit the Full Tilt mold.
PokerStars seems a better fit despite their movements to go young and international, Phil seems to be the type of star that could cozy up to Daniel Negreanu in one of the Pokerstars specials, and offers a good counter point to the potential of Jason Mercier. They have a great stable and he wouldn’t be out of place there because unlike Duke he kind of transcends a brand.
Philly kind of likes to be the Main Guy so perhaps a stake in a new site or a European one looking to make inroads in the United States. The merger of bwin-party poker is interesting as they might have the kind of clout to afford poker’s biggest free agent and he’d be a great marketer of them when they return to the United States after U.I.E.G.A. is overturned. They are a very savvy consolidation and the Bat wouldn’t be surprised if Hellmuth is squarely on their radar. Course, the only problem with singing Philly Hellmuth is you get Philly Hellmuth.