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May 12 was when Phil Hellmuth and Tom Dwan were to enter PokerGO Studio at the ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas for Round 4 of the High Stakes Duel III. Two days before the $800,000 match was to take place, PokerGO announced that Dwan had backed out due to “scheduling conflicts.”
So, what does it mean for the Poker Brat? As the scenario stands, Hellmuth can’t withdraw his winnings just yet. He’ll instead face a different opponent who must pay $400,000 for his or her half of the pot to get into the game.
A new challenger appears!
Who do you think will enter the ring to face @phil_hellmuth in this $800,000 heads-up match?
— PokerGO (@PokerGO) May 10, 2022
Round 4 has been pushed to Tuesday, May 17; however, Hellmuth’s new opponent is yet to be revealed. When Nick Wright had bowed out of Round 2 of High Stakes Duel III, some of the names considered as replacements included Phil Ivey, Tony G, and Johnny Chan, making these players top picks to jump in to play Round 4!
While the speculation about the mystery opponent will continue for a few more days, let’s recap how Phil Hellmuth has been faring in the High Stakes Duel so far.
Hellmuth’s Seven Match Heater
Before facing Dwan, Hellmuth had already proved to all his naysayers why he is considered to be the best in the business. The Poker Brat defeated Antonio Esfandiari and Daniel Negreanu in three straight rounds in previous High Stakes Duels.
His third opponent was Fox Sports broadcaster, Nick Wright. Round 1 of the High Stakes Duel III played out on July 28. Given that Hellmuth had already beaten Esfandiari and Negreanu, a relatively less experienced Wright wasn’t much of a challenge.
After losing Round 1, Wright had the option to play Round 2 for a $100,000 buy-in. On July 31, Wright announced that he would not be facing Hellmuth for another round. Hellmuth was under contract to play two more matches before he could quit the challenge. With Wright stepping out, there was speculation around who would be Hellmuth’s next opponent.
While several names of poker pros were floated around, on August 4, PokerGO made the official announcement that Tom Dwan would be Hellmuth’s next opponent.
Dwan Ends Hellmuth’s Winning Spree
Dwan, who was a -128 favorite on PokerShares.com before the match started, held the lead for most of the five-and-a-half hours’ long match before taking over completely when he called with the bottom pair to snap off Hellmuth’s bluff with ten-high. Taking on a 7:1 chip lead, Dwan was in the driver’s seat, and this time around, Hellmuth could not bounce back. Round 2 of the High Stakes Duel III ended with Dwan booking a convincing win.
Hellmuth Avenges Loss
Round 3 took place on January 26 and Hellmuth avenged his earlier loss against Dwan. While both players started cautiously, about two-and-a-half hours into the match, Hellmuth began to dominate the proceedings. Dwan only managed to drag out the session for about another hour before his pocket eights fell to Hellmuth’s Big Slick, locking in the 57-year-old’s eighth High Stakes Duel victory.
Who Will Play Hellmuth in Round 4?
While the earlier options of Ivey, Tony G, and Chan can be considered, a few other names could very likely get the call.
About a week ago, Doug Polk was looking for a heads-up opponent to play a live $100/$200 heads-up challenge. Last February, the NLHE heads-up specialist famously bested GGPoker Ambassador Daniel Negreanu in their three-month-long ‘Grudge Match’ heads-up challenge. Polk would undoubtedly be a worthy opponent!
If PokerGO wants to take the match mainstream, venturing outside of poker pros to YouTube stars MrBeast and Ludwig Ahgren or chess prodigy Alexandra Botez could auger well for the OTT platform’s new subscriptions. All three had played against Hellmuth and Dwan in an epic Hustler Casino Live stream on May 1. The three YouTube sensations booked significant profits, with Botez emerging as the biggest winner. Hellmuth came out $96,400 in the red, while Dwan managed a small profit of $26,500.
The poker community now eagerly awaits to find out who the mystery opponent will be! Keep following PokerGuru for all the latest updates!
Cover Image Courtesy: PokerGO