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Well, 15-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth didn’t get to the top of the heap by giving up, and apparently, he’s not going to start now. Hellmuth announced over the weekend that he was going to ignore our well-intentioned advice and challenge Tom Dwan to a rematch in High Stakes Duel. The decision sets up High Stakes Duel III Round 3, where this time both players will pony up $200,000 for a seat at the table. When you rattle off seven wins in a row, it’s understandable that you can bend the rules a little. Originally, when past players have been ousted in the Duel, they have traditionally had 72-hours to decide if they will call for a rematch (provided they haven’t been beaten three times in a row). For “The Poker Brat” it appears that PokerGO gave him a little more time to figure out his next move. Dwan originally dethroned Hellmuth in a five-and-a-half-hour battle back on August 26 and now, eight days later, just when you thought he was out…Hellmuth pulls you back in. It’s too early to know the details of exactly when Dwan and Hellmuth will face off again but it will for sure take place at the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas and when it does, for anyone who follows poker, there will simply be no escaping knowing about it. And why not run it back? Sure, some poker pundits may have predicted that Hellmuth would bow out but that doesn’t mean that seeing these two go at it again isn’t great for poker. There are simply too many unanswered questions that need to be resolved: How will Hellmuth handle entering the arena as the challenger as opposed to the champion? What adjustments might each player make with their experience in the first match? What memes will be created around whatever foods Hellmuth devours tableside? This is what makes this show fun. The stakes are higher with the buy-in doubled to $200,000 (a level Hellmuth hit with both Esfandiari and Negreanu) but arguably so is the entertainment value. And everyone involved seems to know that. So, with the High Stakes Poker belt back up for grabs, prepare yourself for a second helping of Dwan vs. Hellmuth - coming soon (presumably).
“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. [caption id="attachment_635969" align="aligncenter" width="750"] Phil Hellmuth, Tom Dwan (and Mr. Beast) play high-stakes cash at the Aria.[/caption] 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.
For six hours on Wednesday night, Phil Hellmuth sat across from Fox Sports 1's First Things co-host Nick Wright and found an opponent willing to match him blow-for-blow - both in cards and the verbal jabs. In the end, it didn't matter and Hellmuth went on to win the opening round of PokerGO's High Stakes Duel III. Hellmuth now has a perfect 7-0 record in this format. He defeated Antonio Esfandiari 3-0 in 2020 and then rattled off three straight wins against Daniel Negreanu earlier this year. Hellmuth and Wright spent the opening minutes of the match promoting each other's platforms before spending the next 30 minutes playing small pots, feeling each other out, before Wright struck the first blow. Hellmuth raised to 450 with [poker card="as"][poker card="8d"] and Wright called with [poker card="5d"][poker card="5s"]. The flop came [poker card="jc"][poker card="8s"][poker card="5c"] and Wright bet 500 and then called after Hellmuth raised to 1,500. Both players checked the [poker card="9h"] turn. After the [poker card="4s"] river, Wright bet 3,500 and while Hellmuth was considering his options, Wright began to to talk to the 15-time WSOP bracelet winner. "You're definitely folding," Wright said, multiple times. Hellmuth called and Wright showed him the winner to take a 57,000-43,000 lead. The next big hand didn't come for another 45 minutes but lead to an epic Hellmuth rant. Hellmut opened to 500 with [poker card="ks"][poker card="jc"] and Wright called with [poker card="td"][poker card="6s"]. After the [poker card="6h"][poker card="4d"][poker card="3s"] flop, Wright check-called Hellmuth's bet of 500. Wright then checked the [poker card="jh"] turn and Hellmuth bet 1,500 with top pair and Wright called. The river was the [poker card="tc"] to give Wright two pair and he checked once again. Hellmuth bet 4,600 and Wright called and tabled his hand saying, "I rivered you, buddy." Hellmuth immediately stood up and began pacing around the studio, and dropped F-bombs in the ensuing rant including the following soliloquy. "What a fucking mockery, man. This is my fucking living here. Just a fucking off-suit fucking ten. From a fucking calling station," Hellmuth said as both players were playing the next hand. Wright had built his stack up to 72,000. Hellmuth took a chunk back 15 minutes later with [poker card="7c"][poker card="7s"] against Wright's [poker card="as"][poker card="9d"] on the [poker card="4c"][poker card="4d"][poker card="4s"][poker card="3d"][poker card="qs"] board. Most of that went back to Wright after Hellmuth led out for 7,200 into a pot of 12,500 on a board of [poker card="qs"][poker card="8c"][poker card="2s"][poker card="qc"][poker card="3s"]. Hellmuth was bluffing with [poker card="7d"][poker card="5d"] while Wright had turned quads with [poker card="qd"][poker card="qh"]. Wright raised to 27,000 and Hellmuth tossed his cards into the muck. Wright was in front with 64,000 to Hellmuth's 36,000. Hellmuth slowly chipped away at Wright's lead over the next hour to once again find himself even. Rather than relinquish the opportunity, Hellmuth continued to apply pressure to Wright and three hours into play, held a 2-1 chip lead of his own. An an hour later, that lead had grown to 5-1 before Wright played a familiar tune to gain some chips back. Hellmuth called from the button with [poker card="qh"][poker card="js"] before Wright moved all in for 12,200 with [poker card="5d"][poker card="5s"]. Hellmuth called only to see the [poker card="5h"][poker card="3c"][poker card="3d"] flop give Wright a full house. Hellmuth was drawing dead after the [poker card="as"] turn as the meaningless [poker card="8d"] river completed the board. Hellmuth still held a 3-1 lead. The duel went on for another two hours with little fluctuation before a cooler of a hand ended things. Holding 70,000 of the 100,000 in play, Hellmuth limped the button for 800 with [poker card="8c"][poker card="5c"] and Wright checked with [poker card="7c"][poker card="6c"]. The [poker card="ac"][poker card="kc"][poker card="5s"] flop gave both players a flush draw and Wright check-called Hellmuth's bet of 2,000. The [poker card="tc"] turn completed both flush draws and Wright checked again. Hellmuth bet 3,000 and Wright called, leaving himself 22,000 behind. The river was the [poker card="8d"] and Wright checked for a third time. Hellmuth bet 7,400 into the 13,200 pot and Wright moved all in for 22,000. Hellmuth called and tabled the winner to capture his seventh straight High Stakes Duel victory. While Esfandiari and Negreanu were both quick to invoke the rematch option provided to the loser of the match, Wright indicated after the match that he wanted to think about it and consider his options before deciding if he will be back to play Hellmuth in a $100,000 buy-in.