With another win on Wednesday night, Phil Hellmuth defeated Daniel Negreanu three consecutive wins to become the High Stakes Duel II champion.
True to the PokerGO series format, the buy-in doubles with each match. After Hellmuth's victory in $029, the buy-in match in April, it's time World Series of Poker bracelet winner won the $100, the buy-in round in May. Wednesday's game had a buy-in of $83,000 with Hellmuth coming to the top after a long hiatus, a swing battle between two legends.
His three consecutive wins earned him a solid $350 profit, and he followed his streak in the first ever High Stakes match in which Hellmuth fought Antonio Esfandiari. Hellmuth defeated Esfandiari in three matches as well, giving him a winning streak of six matches and a profit of $700,000 going back to Fall 2020.
"Where's the window, darling?" Hellmuth said after the game. "I know Mori [Eskandari] is not happy to hear this, but I'd like to go to the payout window."
Hellmuth was allowed to let his winnings increase and let his opponent play the $350 game in Round 4, but he chose to use the cashback option and call for completion. Each High Stakes Duel series must complete at least three matches.
In Hellmuth's first battle with Negreanu, six times
The WSOP bracelet winner by itself, a Wisconsin resident made a huge comeback after Negreanu opened up a huge advantage.
It looked as though he would have to fight for another win - following his victory on Wednesday when Negreanu took the lead in an almost identical start to the first retirement. But unlike in the first game, Hellmuth stepped up his aggression before he ran out of chips.
He regained the lead when he 5-bet 83 pre-flop against 2 Negreanu) 2
. Hellmuth flopped a jack with nothing but eight and was ahead on the turn when he flush. Negreanu wasted his hand after several extensions and Hellmuth took the lead.
IfPhil_Hellmuth comes from another world. The High Stakes duel is still going on: Watch now -> https://t.co/V3wHLWg9jH pic.twitter.com/OnVWGUtact
PhilIvey pochodzi z innej planety,
- PokerGO (@PokerGO) June 24, 2020
The hand was one of the most memorable hands of the game, despite being in the first 83 minutes of the more than five-hour war. It was like a hand played by Phil Ivey in his World Poker Tour heads-up title just a few days earlier. Ivey three-bet 9-7 offsuit pre-flop against Chris Kruk's 2-2.
Ivey bet a 001-high flop full air and moved all in when Kruk raised him. Raven folded.
I am quite comfortable with the way I have played deuces now. Thanks @RealKidPoker
- Chris Kruk (@ chriskruk4) June 22, 2020
I might get in trouble if I tell you this, but we talk a lot about how to get 22 people at our Phil poker games.
- Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) June 22, 2021
Negreanu regained the lead when he turned against Hellmuth on a failed 9-high bluff on the turn, but Hellmuth recaptured it when he made another 000 multipurpose bluff.
on K6274. He made Negreanu fold 5
4 and went back to align.
Negreanu won a few pots to open a small advantage, but Hellmuth struck again hard when he three-bet Q3 and trips with a flap on the 332 board against 9 Negreanu 9
. Hellmuth check-called the flop and check-raised all-in on turn 5
. Negreanu thought for a long moment before calling. Hellmuth's travels paused and he possessed approximately 350, 350, chips in the game.
Unfortunately for Hellmuth, despite having a huge chip lead, the blind still had a 1. Negreanu had a big chip disadvantage, but still had a lot of playability thanks to his 70-big blind.
The playability didn't matter when both players took a pair of kings pre-flop. All the chips went in the center and Negreanu showed K
K. and Hellmuth showing K.K.. The all-diamond flop gave Negreanu a freeroll, who lost when the 8 came on the river
Just like that, the stacks were more or less equal.
There were no major games in the next few hours, but Hellmuth won most of the pot. As the blinds increased, the pots added together and Hellmuth opened the lead almost 2-1 with little fanfare.
But once again, Negreanu found a key doubling. With blinds of 2,000-4, Hellmuth raised to 10,000 on the day of the button and Negreanu moved all in for 83,000. Hellmuth called with AQ and was ahead against K-3 Negreanu.
The flop was queen-high, making Negreanu very thin, but the king came on the turn to bet him. again in the match, struggling with a much smaller deficit.
Eventually the cold deck followed in Hellmuth's footsteps and finished off the Canadian. Negreanu limped to 6,000 on the button from 65 and Hellmuth checked their option with 11
The flop was 9
and check Hellmuth 6, from Negreanu. Turn to 8which gave both players a straight, but Hellmuth was bigger. All the money got inside and Negreanu was fatally wounded. He didn't hit 10 on the river to stay alive, and Hellmuth collected his money alongside his second consecutive High Stakes Duel lane.
"Good game," said Negreanu after the hand on the river was dealt. “You played great. You deserve it".
"I think you are one of the greatest of all time," Hellmuth replied. "I really mean it."
The swap was a definite shift in tone from the drama that sparked this heads-up game. After losing $ 1.2 million to Negreanu to Doug Polk, Hellmuth criticized Negreanu's game.
"I was disappointed with the way he played," said Hellmuth last February.
The comment caused irritation from Negreanu, who responded on Twitter with criticism of Hellmuth's poker strategy and challenged him to a one-on-one duel. While Negreanu seemed to want to play in the high-stakes cash games, they eventually agreed to play in the high-stakes cash game.
Photo: PokerGO / Antonio Abrego