“Pick your stakes heads up…I’ve said it a million times.”
The highly-anticipated heads-up match 13 years in the making will finally take place on Wednesday, August 25 when Phil Hellmuth takes on Tom Dwan in High Stakes Duel III (Round 2) at 8 pm ET on PokerGO.
Now with an undefeated record of 7-0 in the High Stakes Duel format, Hellmuth most recently vanquished Fox Sports personality Nick Wright in the first round of HSD III. When Wright declined the option for a rematch, the powers at PokerGO filled the open seat with of the most popular personalities to emerge from the early eras of online poker, fan favorite Tom Dwan. Hellmuth and Dwan will pick up where Wright left off, skipping the initial $50,000 buy-in match and jumping straight to Round 2, where both players will put up $100,000.
“We’re going to play heads up, I told you.”
Bringing Dwan in to face Hellmuth is more than just a case of fan service, it’s also a nice nod to history. At the 2008 NBC Heads-Up Poker Championship, Hellmuth and Dwan faced off in what is arguably the most memorable match of the events eight-year history. Back then, Hellmuth was just an 11-time WSOP bracelet winner – still the record holder – and as popular as he’d ever been. Dwan was an emerging online poker star in a time when there was still a divide between “real poker” and “internet poker.”
The miniature heads-up table was nowhere near big enough for the two egos sitting at either end. Hellmuth, clad in his then signature Ultimate Bet hockey jersey, looked eager to show the kid a lesson or two while Dwan, having trouble getting comfortable, wasn’t interested in old-school ways of thinking. And just when the match was getting started, it was over. Hellmuth and Dwan were both all in, Hellmuth with pocket aces and Dwan with pocket tens. Standard. But when the ten of spades hit the turn and Dwan took the lead, the Poker Brat quickly emerged and the jawing began.
“Son, I would tell you this much, son, I’d never put in more than three thousand with two tens before the flop,” Hellmuth chided Dwan.
“I was going to say good game, sorry for the suck out but…when you phrase it that way it makes me not wanna.” Dwan replied, with his ever-present skyward side-eye in full effect.
“Phil, that’s why you lose money online.”
Dwan pushed the envelope telling Hellmuth to pick his stakes, that he’d play Hellmuth as many times as he’d like. As the back-and-forth continued, Hellmuth then uttered what may be the most memorable line from the match.
“We’ll see if you’re even around in five years,”
Thirteen Years Later
Far more than five years later, Dwan is still here and both he and Hellmuth enjoy the perks of being two of the most popular players in the game today. With the clash of thirteen years ago well behind them, the 2008 NBC Heads Up Poker Championship is still the backdrop for what will be an interesting clash of perceived styles when they reunite to finally face off in a televised rematch.
The hype for the match will get started on PokerGO on Tuesday, August 24 at 8 pm. ET when Ali Nejad and Nick Schulman are scheduled to break down what can be expected when the two meet face-to-face.
Then both Hellmuth and Dwan sit down with Nejad just before cards are in the air during The Weigh-In which starts on Wednesday, August 25 at 7:30 pm ET. Both players will give their thoughts about the match and, very likely, talk about their history together both in front of the cameras and behind the scenes.
Finally, the action kicks off on August 25 at 8 pm ET as Hellmuth puts his undefeated record on the line while Dwan returns to the poker spotlight, bringing his years of playing in the ultra-high-stakes Macau cash games to the High Stakes Duel felt.
Whether Dwan bests Hellmuth to take the HSD belt or if Hellmuth avenges his 2008 NBC Heads-Up loss over Dwan, the loser of the match will have the option to call for a rematch with the stakes doubling to $200,000 a player.
High Stakes Duel III, Round 2 – Phil Hellmuth vs. Tom Dwan is available with a subscription to PokerGO.