Doug Polk traps Hellmuth with an insane heads-up challenge

Jon Pill
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Posted on: May 7, 2021 9:12 pm EDT

Phil Hellmuth may be riding high after five straight wins on High Stakes Duel, but he’s still getting no respect from Doug Polk.

Polk issued a harsh challenge to Hellmuth, in the form of a pretty sweet deal. Polk offered to play the 15-time WSOP bracelet winner. The setup would be pretty similar to the match with Daniel Negreanu. Polk is offering to play two tables of $200/$400 heads-up no-limit hold ’em over 25,000 hands with 100 big blind stacks.

But there is one big change from the match with DNegs. It is that Polk has offered Hellmuth a side bet: Polk’s $1 million to Hellmuth’s $0, that Hellmuth won’t turn a profit.

That’s a pretty sweet deal. To commemorate this lapse — yet again — from poker retirement, Polk has updated his Twitter profile. It now reads: “professional overrated hu sng player bumhunter and entrepreneur/investor.”

Shots. Fired.

The full tweet from Polk read: “Hey @phil_hellmuth 25k hands 200/400 HUNL 2 tables 100 bb I’ll put up a free 1 million dollars if you win. My $1,000,000 to your $0 Come get some.”

Phil Hellmuth has retweeted the challenge. But as yet, has not publicly responded, except to quote song lyrics at Polk.

Will the match happen?

Hellmuth is pretty hard to draw out on things like this. He doesn’t make his bread by playing poker any more. Instead, he sells himself. His wardrobe is filled with billboards in textile form and he rarely plays in a TV poker game without an appearance fee covering his buy-ins.

But that $1,000,000 to $0 bet will be hard for Hellmuth to ignore.

Bill Perkins asked “Isn’t that 10/BB per 100?” making a reference to his own heads-up game with Landon Tice in which he is being paid 9 big blinds for every 100 hands they play.

“Its a sidebet bill we dont all get autopaid 720k to play poker on the internet,” Polk claps back.

Retired or not, Doug Polk is a poker player. He knows that it is the man across from you that you’re playing, not your hand. And he knows that is true even before the cards are dealt. He knows that a side bet like that, so one-sided in Hellmuth’s favor, is an ultimatum that Hellmuth can’t turn down.

It might not be worth Hellmuth’s time to play 25,000 hands with a slim or break-even edge. But with that bet in place, if he wins $1 at the table, he makes $1 million away from it.

If Hellmuth turns the bet down, then he’s as good as telling the world that he can’t even hope that variance will put him in profit over 25k hands. He would be saying that he is done as a poker player, and he knows it.

“Last time you bluffed like this you got called,” Michael Berk wrote to Polk. He’s joking, but the odds are good this time in a way they haven’t been for other challengers.

For the poker fans out there, let’s hope he does get called. We need this match.

Featured image source: Flickr