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"Poker Brat: Phil Hellmuth's Autobiography" Review

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TitlePoker Brat: Phil Hellmuth's Autobiography
AuthorPhil Hellmuth
Skill Levelany
ProsAutobiography of the WSOP's career leader in bracelets, final tables, and cashes, with great stories throughout.
ConsQuite a bit of repeat material, especially the earlier years, from Hellmuth's earlier books.

Table of Contents
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7Foreword by Daniel Negreanu
9Please Help Me Mom1
11Every Rose has its Thorn, Part 12
26Every Rose has its Thorn, Part 23
35Where is that Poker Game?4
40Working in the Fields5
46Vegas; the First Time6
49Vegas Busts Me Again and Again!7
53Home Poker Games in Madison8
60Serious Progress and a New Resolve!9
66I Can See the Light!10
71My First Trophy!11
74The 1988 World Series of Poker12
82The 1988 Bicycle Club; My First Major!13
91Why Do I Act Like a Jerk Sometimes?14
94Big Ego Trip Leads to Cascading Fall15
108Choppy Waters Lead to a World Championship16
119The 1989 World Series of Poker17
136The Reigning World Champion Wins More18
141Hello to the Love of My Life19
154December 2, 1989, Magical! Marriage Already?20
158Our Wedding and Honeymoon Cross Paths21
162It's a Boy!22
167Crushing the 1992 and 1993 WSOP23
172One More Son!24
193Bono Buys Our California House, and Televised Poker Begins!25
199Toughest Table Ever? Risking it all in 199726
204Great Start in 1998, Bad Ending27
208Millionaire Gets Staked in 1999?28
212Hello Europe, Hello Hole Card Cameras29
217The Greatest Poker Player of All Time, Already?30
225Kathy Has Had Enough!31
231The 2002 WSOP, Chan vs. Hellmuth, and the Shaved Head32
2352003 WSOP: The Bracelet Race is on, and Forgiveness Pays!33
239A New York Times Best Seller!34
2452004-2005: Tournament of Champions; NBC Heads Up35
257President Bush, French Open and the 2006 WSOP, All in a Month36
265My Biggest Loss, Ever: Nightmare in Monte Carlo37
268Poker Hall of Fame; Magical WSOP Bracelet 1138
27512 Million Beer Cans; Deep Run 2008 WSOP39
279Hail, Caesar! Coaching Shulman40
282USO Tour and Black Friday41
286A Year of Seconds, An Amazing Gift!42
291Hello WSOP Numbers 12 and 13!43
3022013: NBC Heads-Up Success and WSOP Failure44
306WSOP Close Call and Phil has Health Issues?45
309We Lost Goldie: Phil Almost Leaves Kathy46
316The Question, and Founders, and my Partner Companies47
328Great Friendships and Masters of the Universe Poker Game48
338The Future, Love, and Goals, Goals, Goals49
342Appendix 1: Start to Finish
353Appendix 2: Poker Aces
357Appendix 3: Charity Poker Tournaments $40 Million Raised to Date!
360Appendix 4: All My Cashes
375Appendix 5: All My WSOP Final Tables

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Poker Brat: Phil Hellmuth's Autobiography, like his previous book, Bad Beats and Lucky Draws, reveals a lot about the all-time WSOP bracelet leader's personality, reaching all the way back to his childhood to explore why Hellmuth is Hellmuth. While the book doesn't excuse his behavior, it at least explains it with remarkable candor. Hellmuth was the oldest of five children, one of whom was developmentally disabled, and hence, he did not nearly as much attention from his parents as he wanted. He had attention deficit disorder, suffered from warts and acne, and was socially awkward until he grew into his rather tall body in college.1

Already a disappointment to his educationally-minded parents because of his poor grades in high school,2 he further met with their disapproval when he became a poker pro.

Fortunately for the younger Phil, he reached the top of the poker world very quickly, and when he became the youngest WSOP Main Event champion ever at age 24 in 1989, his rift with them was quickly patched -- his dad was there in person when he won.

Poker Brat contains almost as much life advice as poker strategy advice. Hellmuth set out a number of lofty life goals and has attained most of them. He wanted to marry a "wonderful" woman. Check. He wanted to buy a beautiful house. Check. Car. Check. Win the WSOP Main Event. Check. Write a best-selling book. Check. His Play Poker Like the Pros made the New York Times list.

Many of his older stories have appeared in his previous books, especially Bad Beats and Lucky Draws, which came out in 2004. The thirteen years between books are covered in the final third of the book, less than you'd expect because Hellmuth originally planned to publish in 2011 just as Black Friday struck. But there is plenty of new material in the older chapters as well.

Hellmuth may brag a lot about his accomplishments, but he does indeed have a lot of accomplishments to brag about. His updated poker goal was to win 24 WSOP bracelets (he's now at 15). You'll hear all about it if he gets there, but if not, you can be sure he'll personally write about it in another book.

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