$40000 NL HE 6-max: Tony G vs. Phil Helmuth "all-in without looking"



Jun 3, 2019
Total posts
Game Format
No Limit
Table Format
6-max (6 seats)
This is probably one of the most famous TV-poker hands off all times, and everyone seem to agree, that Tony G ran a massive angle shot on Phil Helmuth by claiming, he did not look at his cards before 3-betting and essentially putting Phil Helmuth all-in for his last $30.500. However if we analyse the action, I will actually argue, that Tony G looking at his cards or not did not even matter to the outcome, or at least it should not have.

The action in this hand might be a little confusing, but blinds are 400/200 with a 100 ante, and Phil Helmuth is the big blind. Action begin on Jennyfer Tilly, who straddle to 1000 (or the graphics are wrong and its only 800), and then Tony G overstraddle to 1600. It folds to Phil Helmuth, who open to 6600 or slightly more than 4X Tony Gs straddle. Tony G looks down on AK and 3-bet to 21.600, which is the largest, he can go, since this game is pot limit preflop. But it essentially puts Phil all-in, given that he only has 30.500 to start the hand.

Here is, where the controversy begin, because during the process of Jennyfer Tilly straddling and Tony G overstraddling, Jennyfer Tilly joke, that Tony G is taking away her straddle, and then someone else comment, that she can comfortably raise, because she know, he has not looked at his cards. That is per definition, how a straddle work. When Phil raise, Tony pick up on this joke and ask "after looking?", and Phil reply "yes I am pretty sure, I looked". When Tony G 3-bet, Jennyfer Tilly continue the joke by asking "without looking?" and Tony reply, that he did not look.

Phil end up calling and then complain, it was horrible etiquette by Tony to say, he had not looked at his cards, when in fact he had, and the commentators go along with this. However if we look at the actual game play, then with Tony Gs straddle being the new effective big blind at 1600, Phil Helmuth only started the hand with around 19BB, and when he raised to 6600, this already represented more than 20% of his stack. And there is just no way, you can put in more than 20% of your stack with AJ with only 2 players left to act behind you, and then fold to a 3-bet.

If we plug this into ICMizer, which is a program used for tournament push-fold situations, then the only hands, Phil should raise-fold for this sizing, are weak KX hands like K9o or K7s. Every single AX is a call, so AJ is not the hand, where you even need to take time to think about it. So at the end of the day the hand was just a standard cooler, where Phil Helmuth managed to make himself look like a victim.

This is not to say, that Tony Gs table talk after the hand (and in earlier hands) was not out of line, because it definitely was. But at the end of the day Phil Helmuth was not the victim of any dirty angle shot. He was a victim of his own poor play, where he lost almost $70,000 to Tony G in the very first hand by calling down massive bets with second pair, when Tony G had flopped a straight.



May 27, 2007
Total posts
They know AJ vs q 2 is a 65%

If he didnt look he has a 6% chance of holding a pair
plus 2% he could have got dealt AQ AK

This is a cash game not a sng or MTT

When PH called with AJ
He agreed to play bingo with him

Except lolz
he got angled and it wasn't a 2% chance
it was a 100% lmao

PH's best advice he doesn't always follow
"Can I Find a better spot?"