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The Poker King Who Became A Serial Entrepreneur

by Keerat

Phil Hellmuth – Professional Poker Player & Author


Business ace and poker king Phil Hellmuth is spreading the word of #Positivity, an exceptional new book explaining how positivity has helped him become one of the leading – and certainly most controversial and entertaining poker players in the world.

Hellmuth, who lives in California and is a regular at the card tables in Las Vegas, has won more than £20 million from the game. He is also a serial entrepreneur serving on ten advisory boards and has been involved in three successful reverse takeovers.

Here, exclusively for The Business Influencer, he answers a set of positivity questions which will become a regular feature of the magazine as he quizzes leading entrepreneurs from around the world.


Interview by Laurie Stone






In your business life why is positivity as opposed to negativity so important to you?

My primary role in the business world is that of an “advisor.” I’m on 13 different companies’ cap tables as an advisor (in most cases I am on their official “advisory board”). This includes mostly early-stage companies. I have also helped four late-stage SPACs. I always report directly to the CEO, and I’m told by these CEOs that they value my network, my strategic thinking, and my “cheerleading” (positivity!). Early-stage founders/CEOs need praise and positivity too!

To me, positivity helps inform and define, a good outcome. Exuding positivity in full force doesn’t mean ignoring issues or choosing bad pathways for your company, or for yourself. It means committing to a pathway expecting great results! Be careful what you wish for? Because you often get it? Yep. So then, wish for a great outcome.


Next to positivity, what is the most important factor that leads to success in business?

Two things: strategic thinking and work ethic. The ability to pivot is massive today and aligns nicely with great strategic thinking and decision making. However, you have to be able to finish the job. My friends and I debate this question: “What percentage of people ‘Get things done?’”

Although we are all optimists, many of us believe the answer is: less than 10% of folks get things done… For me, if I’m investing or joining a company as an advisor, I better be impressed with the founder/CEO. I won’t invest unless I believe he has great strategic thinking and the work ethic/ability to get the job done.


What is your earliest memory of an act of positivity?

It’s not my earliest memory, but my younger brother Dave – by 14 months – and I fought like cat and dog growing up and one day I got into a fight with a neighbourhood kid. This guy jumped on top of me and started to punch me. I couldn’t believe it when my brother came to my rescue and took him on. My heart started swelling up, in love appreciation for my brother, who was the smallest of us – but was fearless when it came to protecting me.


Who or what has had the most positive influence on your life and why?

My mother, Lynn. She had a sign on our bathroom mirror for 15 years when I was growing up. It read:

You are what you think,
You become what you think,
What you think becomes reality.
This had a profound influence on me. I thought: ‘Why not think big, if I can create my own reality?’



Which positive person from history would you like to meet?

Spiritual masters that I could learn a lifetime of knowledge from in a couple of hours: Gandhi, Buddha or Jesus Christ.


What is the most positive piece of advice you have been given – where when and by whom?

Well, sorry to be repetitive, but that saying on my bathroom mirror has to be it for me:

You are what you think,
You become what you think,
What you think becomes reality.

There were seven of us in my family, and we all slept in four rooms on the top floor of our house. All seven used the same bathroom, and that sign on the mirror would yellow after so much usage: showers, teeth brushing, etc… Then, the sign would remade in fresh white paper, with my mom Lynn’s legible writing.


What is the most positive piece of advice you could pass on to people?

I would tell the world, “You are always in the right place at the right time.” Then, I prove it to them by citing an example from my book “#POSITIVITY.”

Here is an abbreviated version: while at dinner two men living side-by-side both come up with the perfect idea for a sports bar. One does nothing. The other stops by his favourite sports bar on the way home from work. This simple act of opening the door, and the figurative door (other figurative doors exist behind it), can lead to achieving one’s dream.


How do you deal with negative people?

I try my hardest to avoid them! But, in life, we all have to deal with negative people. I try to appreciate the good things in everyone. That means that sometimes I’ll laugh with a negative person when they are saying negative things, or acting negatively, like them saying, “I lose every pot! All of my stocks are down.” Some folks relish this role. No need to chide these folks. They have a different view than I do.

Nothing wrong with their view, but I think it’s easier to have good things happen to you when you’re expecting them to happen to you.


What are the most positive songs on your playlist?

“We are the champions” (Queen), and Katy Perry‘s song “Roar”.


If you could sit down with five positive people, who would they be, and what qualities would they bring to the table?

Not sure who they would be, but for sure they would be people that I can learn from. They would be people that know themselves well, are comfortable in their own skin, and could have deep conversations with me. I have had the pleasure of getting time with Elon Musk, Presidents Clinton and Obama, Jack Dorsey and my best friend, Chamath Palihapitiya.



They all think big and they all DO big. I have been blessed with an amazing group of pals and I would say they all see reality clearly. This vision has led them to make a lot of great moves and thus, led them to great successes.


What is the most positive film you have watched?

Big Fish! Love that someone could do so much with their life. So much, that his own son can’t believe most of it!


Who is the most positive person in your life – apart from yourself?

My father, Philip J Snr. Dad goes with the flow. Dad believes in me.


Do you have an inspirational catchphrase?

When people ask: ‘How are you doing?’ I always reply: “I’m doing fantastic.


Where in the world are you in your most positive state of mind?

Probably my home in California. I can rest up, hang out with my wife, my sons  and friends. I can walk for most of my meals!


If you could be known for just one positive achievement in your life, what would it be?

Two things: I want to be known as the greatest poker player that has ever lived and I want to be remembered for helping millions of people with the eight Life Tips in my book


Phil Hellmuth’s book – ‘#POSITIVITY: You Are Always In The Right Place At The Right Time‘ is available on Amazon

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