Let’s get it on: Hellmuth, Negreanu to square off on High Stakes Feud

Jon Sofen
Published by:
Posted on 02/18/2021

Daniel Negreanu challenged Phil Hellmuth to a heads-up match, and the “Poker Brat” couldn’t back down from the offer. The two poker superstars and legends of the game will battle it out on PokerGO’s show, High Stakes Feud.

The date for the upcoming match hasn’t been set, according to Negreanu on the No Game No Future podcast. The GGPoker ambassador, however, sounded off on his future opponent in that interview.

“DNegs” recently lost $1.2 million over 25,000 hands to Doug Polk at $200/$400 stakes of heads-up no-limit hold’em. Hellmuth, who claims he challenged Polk to a match, was critical of Daniel’s play.

That tilted Negreanu who then challenged the “Poker Brat” to some heads-up poker. A few days later and the offer was accepted.

Negreanu told No Gamble No Future hosts Jeff Platt and Brent Hanks that the match will take place on PokerGO’s new-ish show High Stakes Feud, filmed at the PokerGO Studio on the Las Vegas Strip.

Hellmuth faced Antonio Esfandiari in three matches on the show, winning all three, in 2020. We’ve been waiting a few months to find out his next opponent, and now we know who it will be.

Easy win for Negreanu?

It appears that Daniel Negreanu doesn’t think his upcoming opponent poses much of a threat to his bankroll. He said in the interview that he won’t even prepare for the match because he knows what Hellmuth will try to do.

Contrast that to his challenge against Polk, in which he studied the game for countless hours. But that match was against arguably the best heads-up no-limit hold’em player ever. This match is against a multi-table tournament specialist, and one who refuses to learn even the most basic GTO concepts.

“It’s gonna be a grind, and by the end it’s just gonna come down to whether or not he can win three or four flips in a row,” Negreanu predicts of the match.

He predicts that it will be “very difficult” for his opponent to find spots where he can extract value. Suffice to say, he doesn’t have much respect for Hellmuth’s heads-up game. Perhaps Hellmuth had better study up on Poker.org’s poker hands chart.

Familiar foes

Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth have never faced each other in a heads-up match. But they certainly aren’t strangers. They’ve played against each other in cash games and tournaments hundreds of times over the years. So, they each should have a general sense for how the other will play.

Hellmuth and Negreanu are arguably the two most polarizing and popular poker players in history. They have a combined 780,000 Twitter followers, more than $65 million in live tournament winnings, and 21 WSOP bracelets. And they both have many fans and haters.

The match won’t have the same format as Negreanu’s battle against Polk. As Negreanu said in the interview, Hellmuth would never play such a lengthy competition. He prefers smaller sample size games where variance is a major contributing factor. But this heads-up challenge will be one for the ages given the opponents are so beloved, sometimes hated, and so polarizing. And even better, this one won’t be played online and we’ll get to see the hole cards.

We now wait for the exact format and stakes of the match, and when it will take place. Negreanu and Polk decided against playing any of their match at the PokerGO Studio due to COVID-19.

Both players are being cautious about the virus and have said they are waiting to get vaccinated before going back out in public much. So, it’s possible the High Stakes Feud won’t take place until the players have been vaccinated, which could be a couple of months.

Featured image source: Flickr