Poker Players

Phil Hellmuth once turned down a chance to play poker with Michael Jordan

Phil Hellmuth once turned down a chance to play poker with Michael Jordan

The WSOP bracelet leader will always regret his missed once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

Seventeen-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth, known to drop names occasionally, appeared on the NESN Chicken Dinner Podcast and talked about turning down an offer to play poker from Michael Jordan, a decision he later regretted.

Hellmuth talked about meeting the six-time NBA champion several times, one instance that included him turning down Jordan’s poker challenge. With a longtime reputation as an avid gambler and an estimated $2 billion net worth, bets against Jordan can be very big. His former Chicago Bulls teammates said he would get them to wager on which of their bags would come out of the baggage chute first, not knowing that Jordan had already paid a baggage handler to put his bags ahead of theirs.

“He challenged me once, and I didn’t have a lot of money in town,” Hellmuth said. “I was stupid. I should have just called my friends and said, ‘Hey, (send me some money).’ And (Jordan) would have wanted to play until seven in the morning.”

“He’ll grind you down,” Hellmuth said. “But I’m not some 23-year-old playing his first session with MJ. I [would] be like, ‘I’m leaving.’ I [would have given] him an hour’s notice, which is reasonable.” Hellmuth also discussed experiencing periodic financial swings and how his wife handles those, including his recent $180,000 loss.

“It’s not the financial swings because money’s a great friend of mine, and I have faith that I’ll always have money,” he said. “She has been stressed about money in a reasonable, normal human being way. But me, I’m like, ‘Whatever, by the time I’m 76, we’re going to have a billion dollars. It’s coming.'”

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