Phil Hellmuth defeated Daniel Negreanu on “High Stakes Duel” after six hours of back-and-forth play on PokerGO. The “Poker Brat” pulled off an improbable comeback to score his fourth straight victory on the show.
The poker legends, two of the best to ever play this game, squared off heads-up for a $100,000 pot ($50,000 buy-in each). Both players talked some serious trash about each other leading up to the match, but only one backed his mouth up.
“High Stakes Duel” is a televised heads-up show that is played sit-n-go style. Play resumes until one player has all the chips. The losing player then has the option to call for a rematch and would be required to put in another $100,000 for Round 2, creating a $200,000 prize pool.
Negreanu immediately said he wants a rematch, so a rematch there will be. The date and time for Round 2 hasn’t yet been announced. But before we start looking ahead, let’s go over Wednesday night’s marathon match.
Comeback for the ages
Round 1 of “High Stakes Duel,” which is available on the subscription-based PokerGO app (on-demand), was a back-and-forth battle. Neither player seemed ready to gamble throughout the night until Negreanu was down to just a few big blinds.
For most of the match, Negreanu controlled the game and held the chip lead. He won the first few hands and would hold that lead up until around the four-hour mark when it all came apart for the GGPoker ambassador.
Each player started with 50,000 chips, and the blinds increased every half hour. They began play with 500 big blinds (50/100 blinds), so they were deep. That changed throughout the night as the blinds started to become more of a factor.
At one point, Negreanu had his opponent all but finished off. Hellmuth was down to just 3,000 chips, only 3% of all chips in play. “Kid Poker” was cruising and seemingly destined to win the match easily. But Hellmuth won a double up, then another, and another, and all of a sudden the match was nearly dead even.
After that, it was all Phil Hellmuth. Negreanu couldn’t pick up a hand, and he missed his opportunity to finish off the “Poker Brat.” If you squander a shot to bust the 15-time WSOP bracelet winner, you’re probably going to lose eventually.
The match lasted six hours and, strange as it may seem, there weren’t many sick hands or coolers, or even any major bad beats. If one player hit the flop, the other missed. That’s how the session went for most of the night.
On the final hand, with Negreanu down to around five big blinds, Hellmuth limped in on the button with pocket nines. He trapped his opponent, who shipped it in with a suited 6-7. Negreanu flopped an open-ended straight flush draw, but the turn and river were blanks, putting an end to the grueling match.
This won’t be the last time you’ll see Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu square off. They’re going to do it again sometime within the next month. Negreanu, as per the “High Stakes Duel” rules, is required to re-buy for $100,000. If he wins the second match, there will be a Round 3 with a $400,000 prize pool. The prize pool doubles each round until one player gives up.
Featured image courtesy of PokerGO.com (Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu from High Stakes Duel II on PokerGO.)