Rio Casino Interview

Las Vegas, NV – Last week, poker pro Phil Hellmuth made headlines (not just in poker media, either – here’s a piece at USA Today) thanks to an expletive-filled rant at a final table, during which he threatened to “f***ing burn this place down.” The place he’s referring to, of course, was the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino – home of the World Series of Poker.

Less than one week later, Hellmuth won his 16th WSOP bracelet – extending the record he already held for most bracelet wins.

This got us wondering – what exactly is the relationship between Phil Hellmuth and the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino?

The Rio Talks

BonusCodePoker was able to land an exclusive interview with The Rio to discuss Hellmuth’s success.

BCP: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Rio: Sure. I’m the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, but my friends just call me Rio. You can too. I’m the proud home of Penn & Teller, the world’s greatest magic act.

BCP: As well as the World Series of Poker?

Rio: Yes, but I’m somewhat less proud of that.

BCP: Why do you say that?

Rio: The WSOP certainly has its moments, but to be honest, I have had some negative experiences with it.

BCP: Would you feel comfortable describing one or two?

Rio: Well… OK. I guess it all began in 2005, when the WSOP first moved in. It was mostly fine – it’s not exactly the cheeriest group of folks considering most don’t win anything, but overall I prefer the space get used to not. And then I met Phil…

BCP: Hellmuth, you mean.

Rio: Yes, Phil Hellmuth. At that time he had 9 WSOP bracelets, and so did Doyle Brunson and Johnny Chan. That year, in 2005, both Brunson and Chan won their 10th bracelets… and Phil got mad.

BCP: He got mad?

Rio: He… threatened me.

BCP: What did he say?

Rio: He said he’d make sure that Caesars would implode me and put a baseball stadium in my place. So in 2006, I made sure he also won his 10th bracelet. But that wasn’t enough for Phil – he wanted the record, and he told me that all the time. The following year is when things got really bad.

BCP: What happened in 2007?

Rio: He… god, I can’t even say it aloud without swelling up… he… drove a racecar into a pole in my parking lot.

BCP: And you think it was done on purpose?

Rio: Yes, to make a statement that he would hurt me further if I didn’t give him what he wanted.

At this point, the Rio began crying and we took a short break.

Rio: In a dark moment, I gave in to his demand and made sure he won his 11th bracelet that summer, taking over the record by himself for the first time. And he was happy with that, or at least happy enough not to threaten me, for a while. His next bracelet victory in 2012 I didn’t even have anything to do with, and he’s paid a bit less attention to me since… until last week.

BCP: I’m sorry about what happened last week.

Rio: It’s OK. I’m just glad it was caught on camera this time so people can see the real Phil. You all heard him… he sounded very serious about burning me down, and I immediately had flashbacks to the racecar incident – I know firsthand what he’s capable of.

Fearing the worst, I caved, and this week I made sure he won bracelet #16. I hope his antics are over, but to be honest I know how the cycle works. I can only pray that the rumors of the WSOP moving to a different location are true because it would be a dream to never have to see Phil Hellmuth again.

BCP: Well, we hope that works out for you, and thank you for the brave statement. Do you have anything else to tell our readers before we end this interview?

Rio: I know you said many of your readers are poker players, and I hope this echoes with them: please don’t act like Phil. Treat others with respect. Also go see Penn & Teller, it will really help me out.

Note to the reader: Yes, we know that in 2007 he won his 11th bracelet before he crashed the car, Kevmath. But that wouldn’t work for this joke. And how are you hung up on the order of events but totally OK with a talking casino, anyway?

ALSO READ: Phil Hellmuth “Apologizes” For Inappropriate Rant… Before Getting Revenge

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