The WPT Raw Deal analyst’s job is to offer no-holds-barred commentary on select hands during WPT broadcasts. The position became available when host Tony Dunst was picked to replace legend Mike Sexton in the commentary booth.
The perfect successor
This week, the WPT announced 14-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth would be taking the job. In a press release announcing the change, the WPT said, “With an attitude personified by his nickname, “The Poker Brat,” and backed by a legendary record of accomplishments, Hellmuth brings the perfect blend of bold opinion, confidence, and experience to the WPT Raw Deal.”
WPT CEO Adam Pliska added, “It takes a unique ability to be the WPT Raw Deal analyst, and the World Poker Tour is confident that it has found the perfect successor to Tony Dunst in Phil Hellmuth. Phil’s insightful poker analysis comes with the right amount of edginess, and his poker résumé speaks for itself, exemplifying all the WPT looks for in its Raw Deal analyst.”
The perfect embodiment of narcissism
However, the same traits the WPT believes make him the perfect host, might also make Hellmuth the perfect embodiment of narcissism.
Hellmuth’s more than 30-year career as a professional poker player has seen him win the WSOP Main Event. He’s cashed in nearly 300 live tournaments. Plus, he has collected more than $21 million in live tournament earnings. However, Hellmuth may be as well known for his accomplishments as the numerous times he’s blown up on TV broadcasts.
He berates and belittles other players. Hellmuth arrogantly refers to himself as the best player on the planet. He acts like he’s the only one in the world to ever experience a bit of bad luck. Plus, Hellmuth demands players show him respect in an attempt to manipulate how they play against him.
According to the website Psychology Today, “The hallmarks of narcissistic personality disorder are grandiosity, a lack of empathy for other people, and a need for admiration. People with this condition are frequently described as arrogant, self-centered, manipulative, and demanding. They may also concentrate on grandiose fantasies (e.g. their own success, beauty, brilliance) and may be convinced that they deserve special treatment.”
Hellmuth is very active on Twitter. In fact, his posts are often filled with examples of name dropping and boasting about all the celebrities he’s hanging out.
Psychology Today‘s definition of narcissistic personality disorder goes on to say, “People with narcissistic personality disorder believe they are superior or special, and often try to associate with other people they believe are unique or gifted in some way. This association enhances their self-esteem, which is typically quite fragile underneath the surface.”
Poker community reaction
After the announcement of Hellmuth’s hiring was made, a segment of the poker community took to social media to criticize the move. Many believe Hellmuth’s antics have outlived their entertainment value. They find his TV tirades insulting. They believe his behavior shows the community of professional poker players in a bad light.
In fact, several players felt an opportunity was missed to introduce a new and younger talent. Perhaps one who might better appeal to viewers new to the WPT broadcast, and poker in general, similar to Dunst.
Hellmuth lives in a self-centered bubble. In fact, it currently has him floating around the country on a book tour signing copies of his autobiography Poker Brat. Should he get wind of the community reaction, he’s likely to be very hurt by it. Additionally, there’s little chance he goes the other route and adjusts his own behavior in any way.
According to Psychology Today, “Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder have difficulty tolerating criticism or defeat, and may be left feeling humiliated or empty when they experience an “injury” in the form of criticism or rejection.”
WPT on FOX Sports Regional
Hellmuth is likely the perfect WPT Raw Deal analyst or a classic example of a narcissist. In fact, he may even be both. Either way, he will begin work on the segment starting with the broadcast of the Season XVI WPT Choctaw event.
The WPT is currently airing its 15th season on FOX Sports Regional Networks. It airs Sunday nights at 8 and 11 p.m. regionally. Check your local listings for specific times.
*Lead image courtesy of the World Poker Tour Flickr