Phil Hellmuth evens score against Tom Dwan

Jon Pill
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Posted on: January 27, 2022 5:19 pm EST

Phil Hellmuth had a killer run on High Stakes Duel until he ran into Tom Dwan last year. He had an eight-for-eight run going until the match-up with Tom Dwan broke his streak.

Now Hellmuth has got his own back, evening the score against Dwan and setting the stage for the first $800,000 buy-in round of High Stakes Duel.

“It feels good. Tom is just one of the greatest players in the world,” Hellmuth said of his victory last night, displaying some magnanimity in victory. “I like to use the term ‘natural-born hold’em player.’ I think there are about 10 natural-born hold’em players in the world.”

It only undercut the magnanimous tone slightly when he followed up by saying, “I’m one of the 10, for sure. What do I have, 13 world championships in hold’em or something? Plus, 50 final tables in hold’em. So yeah, I’m one of them.”

However, Hellmuth’s victory wasn’t a foregone conclusion going into the event last night. Hellmuth had swept the board against Antonio Esfandiari (3-0), Daniel Negreanu (3-0), and Nick Wright (1-0). However, Dwan had a victory in hand and has a brutal and unpredictable heads-up game.

Heads up action

Dwan took an early lead when an aggressively played draw gave him a flush on the river. It could have been much worse for Hellmuth, who did not call on the river to see if his pocket tens were good.

Instead, Hellmuth laid down his hand and dodged the worst of Tom’s hooks.

“I thought I had him!” tweeted Hellmuth after the event. “Woulda been more fun to see if I could have called if a red deuce hit the river.”

This was the theme of the event: Phil folding his way to victory, repeatedly dodging Dwan’s traps and preserving his chips in spots a lesser player would have gone broke.

The most impressive of these saw Phil laying down the lower full house on a double paired board against a half-pot check-raise. It would have been an easy spot to try and catch a bluff. But Phil threw the second-best hand away instead.

PokerGO tweeted the footage of the hand saying, “Is this the best @Phil_Hellmuth fold you’ve ever seen?” There were a few to choose from just this match alone.

To the winner, the spoils

Phil’s sharp play eventually moved him back into the lead. Eventually, Phil had Dwan down to just 69k in his stack to Phil’s 324k.

Dwan’s stack was about 35 big blinds at this point in the game and all the money went in pre-flop in a classic A♣K♠ v. 88♣ match-ups.

The coin flip came up on Hellmuth’s side this time and Dwan hit the rail.

“I know you’re rematching,” Hellmuth said to Dwan once the match was over. “This time for $800K.”

The format allows Tom Dwan to challenge Hellmuth for double or nothing in round 4. If Dwan declines his option, Hellmuth must wait and see if a challenger can be found. If no one steps up, he can cash out the $400,000 he has. Then its back to $50k buy-ins for round one of High Stakes Duel IV.

Subsequent to this exchange, Dwan did confirm that he will be rematching Hellmuth. PokerGO tweeted the news. These two Megs will be going heads up again and next time there will be $800,000 on the table.

“Just GOAT things. @Phil_Hellmuth beats @TomDwan and moves to 8-1 on High Stakes Duel! Dwan has announced a rematch, meaning that we’ll see these two square off for $800,000 soon!”

Featured image source: PokerGO