Get In the Hole: Phil Hellmuth Grabs the Bags for ESPN Cornhole Celebrity Challenge

February 10, 2022
Get In the Hole: Phil Hellmuth Grabs the Bags for ESPN Cornhole Celebrity Challenge

Fresh off a big heads-up win over Tom Dwan, Phil Hellmuth has another major competition heading his way this week. He may be able to play poker – but what about cornhole?

On Friday, the Poker Brat headlines the American Cornhole League’s (ACL) “SuperHole III” annual pro and celebrity event at Mandalay Bay Casino in Las Vegas.

The event is part of the casino’s Super Bowl festivities and ESPN will air all the cornhole action from 9:30-11 pm (ET).

How will Hellmuth handle things when the tense tossing gets underway? Will the “White Magic” carry over to his bag skills? The Poker Hall of Famer and 16-time World Series of Poker champion spoke with USPoker this week about his skills with the bags.

Squaring off in a different game

The matches are part of the multi-event “SuperHole” series consisting of six different prelims. This is the first preliminary event and the series culminates with the SuperHole III Championship in August at ACL headquarters in Rock Hill, South Carolina. 

When the bags are unleashed, Hellmuth will join CBS’ S.W.A.T. star David Lim, Pawn Stars’ Austin “Chumlee” Russell, and former NFL running back Terry Kirby.

All players will be paired with a pro to battle it out for a chance to compete in the championship. Cody Henderson joins Hellmuth in the arena – no word if he can dodge bullets as well.

Previous SuperHole events featured football stars Doug Flutie, Sam Darnold, Daniel Jones, Rashad Jennings, Mac Jones, and Devonta Smith.

When the series concludes, championship winners can donate a share of $100,000 to the charity of their choice. Flutie and his ACL pro partner Matt Guy took the title in 2021. The pair will compete as the defending champion at the championship.

Hellmuth talks cornhole

There’s no doubt Hellmuth brings plenty of competitive juices to the tables. But how will he fare on the cornhole courts? He offered some insight into playing the event and what to expect from the event.

How did you get involved with the event and are you a regular cornhole player?

Nope, played like twice in my life! I’m not great, but I am much better than Matt and Cody thought I would be! I’m pretty good at HORSE versus the poker world – I’m top 10% – so I thought I had a chance.

How do your skills at poker compare to your bag skills?

One I’m one of the best in the world and the other a rank amateur.

Will you be able to control your emotions or will the “Cornhole Brat” persona be a concern?

Matt is hoping I go Poker Brat! But, I’m just an amateur player in a pro-am.

Anything else to add about the event?

I had recruited Jim Harbaugh for a minute. He would’ve been great and I would have loved to see him! I had “Iceman” Chuck Liddel for a minute as well, another nice guy.

Chumlee ready for the Poker Brat

Hellmuth joins a growing sport when he squares off in cornhole battle. The ACL has broadcast deals with ESPN, CBS Sports, and NBC Sports and has 150,000 players worldwide.

The league also has numerous sponsors and Superhole offers an opportunity to spotlight the game even more.

“SuperHole just keeps growing in popularity with our fans, and that’s why this year we decided to change things up and give them even more SuperHole with a tournament that runs throughout the year,” league founder Stacey Moore said in a news release. “This year will feature more action, more celebrities, and more competition as all the participants vie to be crowned champions.”

As in a poker tournament, Hellmuth has his eyes on the ultimate prize – winning the title.

“I’m looking to go all the way here and take home the title of SuperHole III champion,” he adds. “I think the trophy will look pretty nice next to my 16 WSOP bracelets.” 

One competitor already has Hellmuth in his sights. No word on the cornhole skills of Pawn Stars’ Chumlee, but he seems ready for action and takes on Hellmuth’s team first.

“I might not be able to take Phil down at the poker table yet, but I think I’ve got a good shot on the cornhole boards,” he said. “If I take home the trophy, don’t bet on seeing it at the pawn shop any time soon!”

The American Cornhole League’s “SuperHole III” is set Friday from 9:30-11 pm (ET) on ESPN.

* Lead Phil Hellmuth image courtesy World Poker Tour

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