Daniel Negreanu slams Phil Hellmuth’s poker greatness

Jon Sofen
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Posted on March 10, 2021 5:17 pm EST

The upcoming Daniel Negreanu vs. Phil Hellmuth heads-up match on PokerGO is getting more intriguing by the day. “Kid Poker” took a shot at the “Poker Brat’s” greatness claims on Twitter, and it sparked quite the flame war.

Hellmuth and Negreanu will battle heads-up on “High Stakes Duel” March 16. The show is only available on the PokerGO app (paid subscription required).

Negreanu recently finished off a $1.2 million loss over 25,000 hands to Doug Polk. Hellmuth was critical of Negreanu’s play against Polk despite admitting he didn’t even watch the match.

The trash talking sparked a new heads-up challenge. And since they agreed to play, the back-and-forth feud has amped up even further. Beyond the heads-up match, the Poker Hall of Famers have a side bet.

Hellmuth must turn a profit over 50 high-roller events at Aria in Las Vegas. If he does, Negreanu owes him $400,000. If not, he must pay “Kid Poker” $200,000. That bet caused Negreanu to, as he says, take a deep dive into the “Poker Brat’s” high roller tournament resume.

“I took a deeper dive into @phil_hellmuth tourney record. For a guy who thinks he can beat $25k and higher buy in events against the worlds best players, the record doesn’t show any such thing,” Negreanu tweeted.

Hellmuth is the all-time WSOP bracelet record holder with 15, which includes a 1989 Main Event title. Overall, he has more than $24 million in live tournament cashes.

But Negreanu is onto something with Hellmuth’s lack of success in high roller events. Part of that is due to Hellmuth only playing a limited amount of high rollers, however.

Hellmuth loves to flaunt his bracelet record and claims to be the best no-limit hold’em player of all-time. Jason Koon, one of the top high-stakes pros ever, gave his take on the issue.

“I have no dog in this fight but using a person’s results at the WSOP as a metric for who the poker GOAT is would be the same as using a person’s Little League stats to determine the greatest baseball player. The top players can’t be bothered to show up for 95% of the events,” Koon argues.

Poker legend answers back

You didn’t think Hellmuth would just sit back and take it, did you? The 15-time bracelet winner responded to Negreanu’s tweets and defended his record.

“Believe I only played 30-40 High Roller tourneys in my life: winning money at One Drop AND SHRB! I won over $10 million in cash games ($2.2m last 15 months). I don’t disrespect today’s players, I’m not saying I am better. But, some sure disrespect my play w small sample size,” Hellmuth wrote.

He is referring to the claims that he only wins in small sample size heads-up matches such as the 2005 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship or when he beat Doug Polk in 2017 in a “Poker Night in America” sit n go match. But he’s never played a 25,000-hand or more heads-up challenge, so it’s difficult to assess his true heads-up skills.

Doyle Brunson, who is tied for second all-time with 10 bracelets, stood up for the bracelet record holder.

“I won 400k betting on @phil_hellmuth in a previous WSOP. I bet several guys 40k and they could pick 10 players to beat Phil. My reasoning was I would lose 1 or 2 bets or win lots. Phil won 1 and none of the selected won,” Texas Dolly tweeted.

When Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu meet on “High Stakes Duel,” you can bet the mortgage that the poker community will be tuned in. They’re certainly doing an excellent job marketing the match.

Featured image source: Flickr