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Gossip Column: Daniel Negreanu Challenges Phil Hellmuth to Heads-up Match Following Poker Brat’s Scathing Comments

Gossip Column
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  • Attreyee K. Ganguly February 12, 2021
  • 5 Minutes Read

If you thought that after losing the Grudge Match to Doug Polk, GGPoker Ambassador Daniel Negreanu would be sulking in a corner, licking his wounds, think again. The six-time WSOP bracelet winner is rearing to go head-to-head yet again. But not against Polk. This time, he has issued a challenge to friend-turned-rival Phil Hellmuth!

How did this challenge come about, you ask? Well, the 15-time WSOP bracelet holder made some choice remarks regarding Negreanu’s performance in the Grudge Match. And as expected, it irked the Canadian pro who took to Twitter to challenge Hellmuth to a heads-up confrontation.

Negreanu even went so far as to say that he would play Hellmuth, “live, online, at any stakes you feel comfortable with for as many hands as you would like.” Pretty bold words coming from someone who recently dropped $1.2 Million to Polk in the 25,000-hand challenge.

The tweet sent the entire poker community buzzing. Many of the big guns commented on it, and the general consensus seemed to indicate Negreanu as a big favorite against Hellmuth. Negreanu’s three-month heads-up run against an elite player like Polk and the extensive coaching and preparation definitely puts him in the zone to take on another challenger.

However, we seem to be getting slightly ahead of ourselves as Hellmuth is yet to respond to the challenge. But if he does accept, this could easily be the most epic heads-up challenge ever in the sport!


Phil Hellmuth Criticizes Daniel Negreanu’s Play in the Grudge Match

The Grudge Match between Negreanu and Polk was perhaps one of the most anticipated ones in modern poker history. Most poker experts were of the opinion that Polk, being the NLHE HU specialist, was the clear favorite to win. Despite knowning that the odds were stacked against him, Negreanu accepted Polk’s challenge and certainly proved to be a worthy opponent.

Phil Hellmuth
Phil Hellmuth


As expected, Kid Poker did end up on the losing end, but most poker analysts would say it was a challenge well fought between the arch-rivals.

Well, Hellmuth seems to have a different opinion. The poker legend, in an interview on the new PokerGo show, ‘No Gamble No Future,’ stated that he was “disappointed in the way that Daniel played.” He went on to say that he knew who Negreanu’s poker coaches were, and they are good at what they do. Basically, Hellmuth indirectly implied that Negreanu’s loss to Polk was due to the former’s poor play.

He made scathing comments about Negreanu trying to play a GTO-like strategy against Polk, who specializes in game theory optimal play.



Daniel Negreanu Challenges Phil Hellmuth

We all knew that Negreanu wasn’t going to take Hellmuth’s comments lying down, especially on a sensitive topic like this. As expected, minutes after Poker Central posted the tweet featuring a snippet of Hellmuth’s remarks, Negreanu had issued his challenge.

Daniel Negreanu
Daniel Negreanu

The Poker Twitterati had a lot to say about the possible HU challenge.


Negreanu vs. Hellmuth: The Ultimate Poker HU Challenge

Yes, yes, Polk v. Negreanu was the Grudge Match of the century! We know, and we agree. But you have to accept that Negreanu vs. Hellmuth would perhaps be even bigger and more epic.

In the Grudge Match, Polk had a distinct advantage over Negreanu, but this match-up would be more balanced. Hellmuth and Negreanu are, beyond a doubt, two of the most renowned poker personalities today – both are live tournament pros. Forget about the hardcore poker enthusiasts, even those who play poker casually or recreationally know about these two poker greats. So, a match-up like this is bound to generate massive interest.

Additionally, the suggestion that Negreanu would be a favorite this time around is not without merit. While both Hellmuth and Negreanu are live tournament heavyweights, the latter is more acclimatized to playing online NLHE HU matches after his three-month-long challenge against Polk.


Will Doug Polk Coach Phil Hellmuth?

Though Polk had refused a rematch against Negreanu and possible other challengers, he had stated that “If a scenario arose where Daniel wanted to play someone else, I would potentially be interested in heading the coaching the opposing player.”

Dough Polk
Dough Polk


However, in the same tweet, he had also mentioned how hard it would be to coach someone like Hellmuth.

Polk tweeted a poll, asking whether Hellmuth will accept Negreanu’s challenge.

With seven hours left for the poll to close, 10,277 votes have already been cast.

Hellmuth is yet to respond to Negreanu’s challenge; however, if this challenge does indeed transpire, it would likely be one of the greatest in poker history!

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