Know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away,
And know when to crunch the numbers:
Phil Hellmuth Jr. may be the world's most decorated gambler, and when it comes to what old-timers call the Cadillac of poker — Texas hold 'em — his record 11 World Series of Poker championship bracelets are tantamount to a royal flush. He won the game's biggest prize, the World Series Main Event, in 1989 and is among the top lifetime money winners, with more than $6 million in World Series event prizes. But last year it all began to fall apart. Hellmuth, 45, lost money and failed to make the final table of even one tournament for the first time in more than a decade.
Was it his cards? No, Hellmuth says, pacing the floor of his suite at New York City's Plaza Hotel. He blames the new breed of math nerd, those guys using a mountain of sortable data from the millions of hands played online to dominate the game. "The reason I won 11 bracelets is my ability to read opponents," he explains. "These new guys are focused on the math. And they are changing everything."