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He has done it – AGAIN! Phil Hellmuth has had the last laugh against Daniel Negreanu after winning Round 3 of the High Stakes Duel II!
The 15-time WSOP bracelet winner faced off against the GGPoker Ambassador on June 23 at the PokerGO Studio at the ARIA Resort & Casino. Hellmuth completed a three-match sweep and is now on a six-match heater, having defeated Antonio Esfandiari earlier in the premiere of High Stakes Duel. Hellmuth won the $200,000 buy-in heads-up No-limit Hold’em showdown, cashing out for $400,000 ($350,000 in net profits – $50,000 in Round 1, $100,000 in Round 2 and $200,000 in Round 3).
With these two legendary pros battling it out for the third time, Round 3 of the High Stakes Duel II, which was streamed on a short delay on the PokerGO app, was always going to be an epic one.
In the first two rounds, Hellmuth had proved that his claims of being the ‘GOAT’ of poker were not unfounded. He won Round 1 in incredible fashion, coming back from a 19:1 chip deficit. In Round 2 that required Negreanu to contribute $100,000 to the prize pool, Hellmuth scored a more convincing victory.
Negreanu certainly had a lot of pressure coming into Round 3. According to the rules of High Stakes Duel, after the third round is completed, the losing player cannot ask for another rematch if they have consecutively lost all three matches. Since both players had already stated that they would decline another rematch, Round 3 was extremely important for Negreanu. Losing Round 3 would mean Hellmuth would likely cash out the $350,000 profit and move on to a new opponent.
Interestingly, even after winning the first two rounds, Hellmuth was still the betting underdog in Round 3 (+129 on Wednesday on Poker Shares).
— PokerGO (@PokerGO) June 22, 2021
Despite so much riding on the match, Kid Poker sadly could not pull through. The five-and-a-half-hour-long match ended with Hellmuth coming out as the clear winner. While Negreanu has been openly critical of Hellmuth’s poker ability in the past, he offered kudos to the Poker Brat after losing on Wednesday.
“You played great, buddy,” Negreanu said on the broadcast. “You really did. You deserve it.”
Hellmuth vs. Negreanu: High Stakes Duel II Round 3
Negreanu held the lead for most of the first two hours of Wednesday’s match, but Hellmuth grabbed a significant advantage (325,000 to 75,000) when he doubled through Negreanu with three of a kind against an overpair.
— PokerGO (@PokerGO) June 24, 2021
Negreanu survived for two hours with the shorter stack, then twice evened the match with unlikely double-ups.
The most iconic hand of the match took place when both pros got all-in before the flop with pocket kings. But four diamonds hit the board to give Negreanu a flush with the king of diamonds.
— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) June 24, 2021
After Negreanu became short once again, he moved all-in before the flop with king-three to beat Hellmuth’s ace-queen. They battled back-and-forth almost another hour before the final hand was dealt.
Holding six-five, Negreanu bet the gutshot straight draw on a flop of nine-seven-deuce, and Hellmuth, who had a narrow chip lead, called with his own gutshot (and flush draw) with ten-six. An eight on the turn gave both players straights, but Hellmuth’s ten-high straight had Negreanu’s nine-high straight crushed. Negreanu went all-in and could only shake his head when Hellmuth called and showed him the bad news.
Talking about his six-match heater, Hellmuth, in the post-match interview, said, “There’s just something weird about heads-up where I think a lot of the guys are just pure math guys and think they’ve figured it out. And they have figured it out on the internet, but they haven’t figured it out in the real world. So, there is some stuff that I’ve been working on for a long time. I will discuss heads-up No-Limit Hold’em strategy with zero people. I don’t talk about it with anybody because I think there are a few things I do that everybody thinks that are wrong that I’ll just continue to do.”
Speaking about his performance in Round 3, Hellmuth revealed, “This was the match I played my best poker. He started with an amazing card rush and got me down before I went for the crazy bluff with the eight-three of clubs. I just went nuts. I thought he couldn’t call me, and I was right. After that hand, I felt really confident and said, ‘This is great, I’m going to win this thing,’ and then I got him down to 60,000, and I had 340,000. But you know, I’ve played a lot of poker in my life, and I’ve seen people come back, and even I came back once. It was just a matter of staying focused, and I knew I just didn’t want to make any mistakes.”
When asked whether he would want a Round 4 or cash out his winnings, Hellmuth said, “Where’s the window, baby? I know Mori is not happy to hear that, but I would like to go to the cash-out window. I’ll take on another great opponent [in High Stakes Duel III], and it could be Tom Dwan, it could be Phil Ivey, it could be one of the younger guys as there are some great young players out there right now. So I’m going to play another great player, and I just have to win that first match, and that’s it.”
You can watch the first 30 minutes of the match below. The complete match can be watched on subscription on PokerGO.
There is no doubt that this has been an epic High Stakes Duel between two of the game’s greatest NLH players. Even though Negreanu failed to come out with the win, given that both players enjoy a stake in PokerGO, the revenue the company has earned through this phenomenal, albeit somewhat ‘gimmicky’ heads-up match, may just go the distance in filling the $350,000 hole Hellmuth made in Negreanu’s pocket.
Cover Image Courtesy: PokerGO.com