Los Angeles, CA
A couple of weeks ago, word got out that November Niner Happy Shulman hired 11-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth to help coach him for the final table of the WSOP Main Event.
Happy and Hellmuth? I have not seen a diabolical student-teacher match up since the Sensei guided Cobra Kai leader Johnny Lawrence in the All Valley Karate Championship in the early 1980s.
The rigorous training has been physically brutal and mentally exhausting.
"Fear does not exist in the final table, does it?" screamed Hellmuth
"No, Sensei!" shouted Happy.
"Pain does not exist in the final table, does it?" screamed Hellmuth.
"No, Sensei!" shouted Happy.
"Defeat does not exist in the final table, does it?" screamed Hellmuth as he took a sip of Dom.
"NO, SENSEI!" shouted Happy on the verge of being a well-oiled killing machine.
"What do we study here?" screamed Hellmuth.
"The way of the fist, Sir!" answered Happy.
"And what is that way?" said Hellmuth as he tossed a grape into the air and caught it with his right hand. He clenched his fist, squeezing the grape, as a trickle of juice oozed through his fingers.
"Strike first. Strike hard. No mercy, Sir!"
"I can't hear you!" screamed Hellmuth as he crushed another grape.
"STRIKE FIRST! STRIKE HARD! NO MERCY SIR!" barked Happy with spit flying out of his mouth.
"We do not train to be merciful here," ordered Hellmuth. "Mercy is for the weak. Here, in the streets of Las Vegas, in competition at the final table: A man confronts you, he is the enemy. An enemy deserves no mercy."
"Can I have a grape?"
"May I have a grape, what?"
"May I have a grape? SENSEI?"
"Grapes are for the weak. I can crush souls and grapes by just looking at them."
"Sweep the leg, Happy."
"But Phil Ivey, he's my.... my... friend."
"Sweep the leg. Do you have a problem with that Mr. Shulman?"
"Ummm, no Sensei."
"Mercy is for the weak."
Of course, if you ask Happy, he'll tell you that he's the Karate Kid who's been picked on and that Harrah's are the bullies at Cobra Kai. If that's true, then Phil Hellmuth is more like Mr. Miyagi -- the serene and zen-like instructor to Happy's inner feisty Daniel Laruso.
The two have been training near the dumpsters behind the massage parlors on Spring Mountain. All of Hellmuth's fleet of eleven cars (one for each bracelet) are waxed and Hellmuth could see his reflection in Happy's diligent shine that he stood there for three straight days in deep admiration.
"Why didn't you tell me?" asked Happy.
"Tell what?" answered Hellmuth.
"That you knew poker."
"You not ask."
"Well, where'd you learn it?"
"But I thought he was a professor."
"In Wisconsin, all Hellmuths know two things: cheese and poker."
"Ummmm, I suppose."
The student and teacher both kneel behind the dumpster.
"Happy-san, must talk. Walk on road, hmmmm? Walk left side, safe. Walk right side, safe. Walk middle, sooner or later get squish just like grape!" as Hellmuth makes a squishing sound.
"Um, I think I understand."
"Happy-san, here poker, same thing. Either you poker do 'yes' or poker do 'no.' You poker do 'guess so' then you get squished. Just like grape. Understand?"
"Fuck yeah, I understand. But why the hell are you talking like Chau Giang?"
See you at the November Nine.
Original content written and provided by Pauly from Tao of Poker at www.taopoker.com. All rights reserved. RSS feeds are for non-commercial use only.