Who’s next on deck to challenge for Phil Hellmuth’s High Stakes Duel title?

Who’s next on deck to challenge for Phil Hellmuth’s High Stakes Duel title?
Poker writer Geoff Fisk profile photo
Geoff Fisk
Posted on: June 24, 2021 10:25 PDT

Projecting the matchup for a potential High Stakes Duel III on PokerGO

The book is officially closed on High Stakes Duel II, with Phil Hellmuth ending the show’s second season with another 3-0 sweep. The “Poker Brat” has now pulled off that feat twice, sweeping Antonio Esfandiari in the original High Stakes Duel and following up with another 3-0 win against Daniel Negreanu on High Stakes Duel II.

Hellmuth took down wins against Negreanu at three different price points over the three-game match ( $100,000, $200,000, and $400,000). Per the rules of the show, Hellmuth held the option to allow a new challenger to compete in an $800,000 sit & go, or cash out and close out High Stakes Duel II.

The 15-time WSOP bracelet winner chose the latter. If the show continues, which it almost certainly will, the next chapter would be called High Stakes Duel III, and restart as a new series with a $100,000 opening-round match.

After closing out the match against Negreanu, Hellmuth speculated on who might sit opposite of him in a mythical High Stakes Duel III pairing.

“’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,” Hellmuth told PokerGO after the match. “So I’m going to play another great player, and I just have to win that first match, and that’s it.”

Who could take on Hellmuth in the next go-around of High Stakes Duel? Let’s throw out some speculative guesses:

Tom Dwan

Hellmuth mentioned Tom Dwan by name in his post-victory interview with PokerGO. On a recent episode of PokerGO’s No Gamble No Future, Dwan mentioned that he was originally slated to take on Hellmuth on High Stakes Duel II, but Negreanu jumped ahead of Dwan for reasons Dwan didn’t allude to.

It seems that a Hellmuth-Dwan matchup is the most likely pairing for High Stakes Duel III. That duo would mark a third straight match between poker-boom-era icons on the show, and that formula has drawn big interest from the viewing public so far.

Dwan’s trademark unpredictable style would provide a fascinating contrast to Hellmuth’s measured and occasionally wild play.

Phil Ivey

Hellmith also mentioned Phil Ivey’s name when alluding to the next chapter of High Stakes Duel. Is Hellmuth privy to information that the poker public might not know about Ivey’s interest in a High Stakes Duel challenge?

The past week saw both of poker’s most legendary Phils take down high-profile heads-up events. Ivey emerged with the win in the $25,000 WPT Heads Up Championship, going through four of the toughest opponents imaginable en route to the win.

Hellmuth vs. Ivey would certainly move the needle in 2021. The poker legends that still play in the modern era seemingly haven’t lost viewing appeal with the poker community.

Doug Polk

What would it take to get poker’s heads-up end boss to take a seat at the PokerGO Studio against Hellmuth?

Doug Polk would sit across the table as Hellmuth’s ultimate challenge. Hellmuth’s 6-0 record on High Stakes Duel came against a pair of poker legends, but it’s hard to imagine Hellmuth pulling off a sweep against arguably the best HUNL player in the game.

The slow structure of High Stakes Duel would give Polk plenty of room to make moves. We’ve already seen a little slice of what a Polk-Hellmuth dynamic looks like, as the two players engaged in one of the most memorable hands in the history of PokerGO’s High Stakes Poker earlier this year.

Featured image source: PokerGO