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Gossip Column: Doug Polk Ready to Bet $1 Million to Play Phil Hellmuth Heads-Up; MJ Gonzales Takes Early Lead Against Dan Smith

Gossip Column
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  • Attreyee Khasnabis May 7, 2021
  • 4 Minutes Read

The ‘heads-up challenge’ season is unending. Just as one comes to an end, another begins. Only a day after the 15-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth extended his heads-up winning record by taking down Round 2 of the High Stakes Duel II, ‘Poker Brat’ seems to have found a new challenger. It was none other than heads-up specialist Doug Polk. The retired poker pro offered to play Hellmuth for 25,000 hands of 200/400 NLH and is even willing to put up a $1 Million side bet to make the challenge happen.

Even though Hellmuth is yet to respond to Polk’s offer, another heads-up match is already underway. In the clash between two poker titans, MJ Gonzales is battling Dan Smith heads-up, and the former has taken a $42K lead against the world #5 (All-Time Money List), Smith, after two sessions.


Doug Polk Challenges Phil Hellmuth to a Heads-Up Match

Doug Polk is at it again. After crushing Daniel Negreanu in their Grudge Match in February and scoring a hefty $250,000 from Bill Perkins in a late-night heads-up match a few days back, the three-time WSOP bracelet winner seems to have set his sights on playing the self-proclaimed ‘GOAT’ of poker, Phil Hellmuth, next!

Dough Polk
Dough Polk


Polk called out Hellmuth on Twitter, challenging him to play 25,000 hands of 200/400 HUNL, two tables, for 100 BBs. To make the challenge more interesting, he is willing to put up $1 Million as a side bet that he will win the challenge, with Hellmuth getting a freeroll on the bet.

The tweet, as expected, took the poker community by storm.

Hellmuth retweeted Polk’s tweet but is yet to officially respond to the challenge.


Dan Smith vs. MJ Gonzales: MJ Gonzales Takes $42K Lead After 2 Sessions

It`s literally “Heads-up Challenge” season – a trend started by a certain Mr. Galfond, and there seems to be no end to the madness. We, for one, are not complaining!

Dan Smith
Dan Smith


Another challenge that took off recently features MJ Gonzales, founder of Hybrid Poker, and high stakes crusher Dan Smith. The two are playing $500-$1,000 NLH heads-up in Ivey’s Room at the Aria Resort & Casino. Through two sessions, Gonzales is ahead for $42,000.

MJ Gonzales


Gonzales had coached Daniel Negreanu for his heads-up challenge. He reportedly hadn`t played live poker in 14 months and was slightly nervous about playing Smith, currently ranked #5 in the All-time Money List with $37.06 million in career tournament earnings.

The match started on May 2, and right off the bat, the more experienced Smith took the lead by booking a $32,000 profit.

The second session took place on May 4, and Gonzales bounced back, winning $72,000 against Smith.

Gonzales even asked the poker Twitterati if they would be interested to see this heads-up challenge live streamed on PokerGO. The response from the poker community was unsurprisingly favorable.

Sadly, PokerGo was unable to accommodate Gonzales and Smith’s match.

However, as long as Gonzales keeps tweeting about the progress of this match, we’ll keep sharing the updates with you.

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