Tom Dwan has pulled out of the upcoming episode of High Stakes Duel III citing scheduling conflicts.
PokerGO has not confirmed the specific conflict that caused Dwan to pull out. However, with the Triton Super High Roller series kicking off in Madrid on Thursday and running through to May 25, one can make a pretty good guess as to what that scheduling conflict might be.
With just one week to go, PokerGO has filled Dwan’s seat. The company’s marketing team chucked a poster up on Twitter yesterday which teased who it might be.
The poster came with the caption: “A new challenger appears! Who do you think will enter the ring to face @phil_hellmuth in this $800,000 heads-up match? Due to Tom Dwan’s withdrawal, High Stakes Duel will now take place on May 17th at the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas.”
It sounds like Hellmuth may not know who he is taking on himself yet.
“Who is my new challenger going to be?” Hellmuth wrote, doing his best to also hype the match. “My $400,000 is posted, and, from what I understand, there are more than a few worthy challengers ready to go. An $800,000 match coming next Tues on @PokerGo App.”
Who could it be?
Posts like this are designed to feed the algorithm on the guesses in the comments. The poker world has provided plenty of fodder for the computer.
The silhouette looks a lot like it could be Justin Bonomo in his “widow’s-pink” era. However other suggestions range from wishful thinking (Tony G, Daniel Negreanu) to the truly inspired (Eric Persson).
Several people suggested Alan Keating, who recently lost $1 million on the Hustler Casino Live stream. He has been hanging around with Phil Hellmuth a lot lately, and he could certainly use an $800k win.
Other suggestions from that HCL stream include Mr. Beast and Ninja, two of the influencers who despite being new to the game both put Phil in a corner with their play and table talk. Hellmuth might enjoy getting them on their own in a forum where the powers that be are more on his side.
The challenger will be announced officially on the Weigh-In program on Monday (at 4.30 PM ET), with the match taking place the day after on the Tuesday.
Whoever he ends up taking on will have their work cut out for them. Hellmuth is currently riding high with a 7-1 record on HSD.
Featured image source: PokerGO