Ivey, Not Hellmuth, is the Poker Player Who Best Compares to Tom Brady

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No disrespect to Phil Hellmuth, a true poker legend, but it’s actually Phil Ivey who best compares to NFL superstar Tom Brady. Poker fans on social media recently shared a meme comparing the “Poker Brat” to the Super Bowl-winning quarterback. Although debated in good fun, the creator of the meme got the wrong Phil.

Phil Ivey Phil Hellmuth
Phil Ivey is poker’s biggest superstar, and has been for many years. (Image: CardsChat News)

Brady led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a 31-9 beatdown of the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. In doing so, the former New England Patriots quarterback won his record seventh NFL title. Even at age 43, he’s still unstoppable, and most football fans consider him the best QB ever.

Hellmuth can certainly make some comparisons to the future Pro Football Hall of Famer. Like Brady, the 15-time WSOP champion has the record for most titles, his being in World Series of Poker events. And he’s won bracelets in multiple decades, much like Brady’s Super Bowl rings have been spread out over nearly a 20-year period. But that’s where the real comparisons end, despite what you read on the following meme.

How Ivey Compares to Tom Brady

Hellmuth holds the record for WSOP bracelets (15), but Ivey is tied with Johnny Chan and Doyle Brunson for second place at 10. And, Ivey’s won all those World Series of Poker titles over about a 20-year period, which includes a few years in which he was absent from the summer series.

There are many other comparisons between Ivey and Brady, starting with them being born six months apart (Hellmuth is 13 years older). Ivey and Brady also have similar personalities during competition. Both take a business-like approach to their game, and are usually mild-mannered, and don’t lose their cool under pressure. Hellmuth, on the other hand, well, you know where we’re going with this.

In terms of their place in history, Ivey is widely considered the best poker player in the world during the current century. He’s one of the only players ever who has crushed it online (his old Full Tilt Poker account is the winningest internet poker account ever), in live tournaments (more than $31 million in cashes), and beaten the highest stakes cash games.

Brady has won Super Bowl titles with two teams (Tampa Bay and New England), led the league in passing yards three times, and has been consistently dominant for nearly 20 years.

On the flipside, Hellmuth’s dominance in poker has faded in recent years. Although he won his 15th bracelet in 2018, his high-stakes peers no longer consider him among the best in the game.

If we’re going strictly by career WSOP performance, of course, Hellmuth is the Tom Brady of Poker. That wouldn’t even be debatable. He holds virtually every meaningful WSOP record (bracelets, cashes, final tables, opponents berated, etc.). But while the WSOP is certainly the most important series in poker each year, it isn’t the only important event.

Ivey has a World Poker Tour title and 10 WPT final table appearances, compared to 0 and five for the “Poker Brat.” That’s not to say Hellmuth hasn’t posted a brilliant career. He’s one of the best to ever play No-Limit Texas Hold’em, and he’s indisputably the GOAT of the World Series of Poker. But, Ivey is the one who best compares to Tom Brady.


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