Move over Negreanu, Tony G wants to battle Hellmuth

Jon Sofen
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Posted on: February 17, 2021 6:00 pm EST

Daniel Negreanu recently challenged a critical Phil Hellmuth to a heads-up poker match. But Antanas Guoga stepped in and said he’d like to take the first crack at the “Poker Brat.”

Here in the poker world, we know Guoga as “Tony G,” the loudmouth pro who left the game in 2014 for a career in politics and business. He’s back in the game now that his career with the European Parliament has concluded, and he certainly hasn’t lost the cockiness that made him famous around the poker community 15 years ago.

Guoga and Hellmuth have some history together. They are both outspoken pros who often berate opponents at the table. So, they’ve clashed many times, as the PokerStars YouTube channel recently explained.

Tony G wants a piece

The pros might settle it on the felt soon. Well, if one of the players gets his wish. Tony G challenged the “Poker Brat” to a heads-up competition for charity.

“When it’s safer to travel, I’m taking @phil_hellmuth for a dance on the felt. High stakes Hold’em for charity. Who can set this up? International TV is a must!” Guoga tweeted.

Hellmuth has yet to respond to the challenge, and it’s unclear at this point if it will actually take place. The 15-time WSOP bracelet winner has a second pending match awaiting his approval.

Negreanu first challenged Hellmuth after the “Poker Brat” criticized his play against Doug Polk. So, that very well could be the first match Hellmuth faces, although he also hasn’t publicly responded to the offer from “DNegs.”

For now, we’ll wait and see what Hellmuth decides. Will he face Tony G? Will he battle Negreanu? Or, will he say to heck with it and refuse to play either pro? Perhaps Hellmuth will play them both. The poker community would certainly love for that to happen.

Good for poker

If one or both of the proposed matches take place, the poker community will benefit. With COVID-19 forcing the cancelation of nearly every major live poker tournament for the foreseeable future, the community doesn’t have much to look forward to.

Negreanu vs. Polk was great for the industry because it gave the fans something interesting to follow. On most days during the match, more than 15,000 people watched the high-stakes competition.

Negreanu vs. Hellmuth would likely draw in even more viewers because these are arguably the two most popular and polarizing players in poker history. And the potential Tony G vs Hellmuth match would also draw in a large audience.

Although many poker fans are excited for these potential matches, don’t hold your breath. Hellmuth never takes on a lengthy heads-up challenge and sticks to small sample size matches such as his recent competition against Antonio Esfandiari.

He won all three games against Esfandiari, but did so over a small sample size, which proves very little. Compare that to Negreanu vs. Polk where 25,000 hands were dealt. Negreanu would likely prefer playing a lengthy match because he wants variance to be minimized.

Featured image source: Flickr