Phil Hellmuth had his heads-up winning streak snapped at seven at the end of August after losing to high stakes phenom Tom Dwan in the second round of PokerGO’s High Stakes Duel III. But the pair of poker pros will battle at least one more time.
Over the holiday weekend, the 15-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner tweeted that he would play a rematch against the man known for his online prowess under the screen name “Durrrr.” Since it will be the third round of the duel, the buy-in for the heads-up sit n’ go will be $200,000.
I texted my boy
TomDwan</a> to let him know that I am officially challenging him to a match for $200,000 ($400,000 total) in “High Stakes Duel,” only on <a href="https://twitter.com/PokerGO?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">PokerGo App. Tom is a great great poker player, and he beat me last match. I’m sure next round will be a battle! #POSITIVITY pic.twitter.com/ITo0xV6NFP
— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) September 4, 2021
It’s the first time that Hellmuth will need to have more than his first round buy-in of $50,000 at risk in any match. Per the rules of the match, the stakes double with each consecutive round.
Given that he swept Antonio Esfandiari and Daniel Negreanu in three straight matches, the worst he could do was lose the initial five-figure sum. He was freerolling the subsequent $100,000 and $200,000 buy-ins thanks to the positive variance.
In his third appearance on the series, there was a bunch of speculation as to who Hellmuth would square off against. Eventually, it was announced that sports broadcaster Nick Wright would get the first crack at the Wisconsin native with a $50,000 buy-in. Wright declined to play the second round in the following days, which a spot open that was eventually filled by Dwan.
It was a rematch of a memorable first-round pairing from the 2008 NBC National Heads-Up Championship where the then up-and-coming Dwan defeated the poker mainstay after getting all in preflop with pocket 10s against Hellmuth’s pocket aces and spiking a 10 on the flop to win the match.
Following the suckout and the official victory, Hellmuth gave Dwan a taste of his classic “Poker Brat” tirades.
“We’ll see if you’re around in five years,” Hellmuth said about 13 years ago.
The second round of the PokerGO series was the first time the two squared off since. Although Hellmuth got out to an early lead, Dwan battled back and finished off again when he once again cracked Hellmuth’s pocket aces.
Hellmuth took a little more than a week to make a decision about taking another match, but eventually committed to play again. With the WSOP set to kick off at the end of the month, and the PokerGO studio filled with other high-stakes tournaments leading up to the start of it, it’s unlikely that the rematch takes place before December.
What the rematch does guarantee, however, is a fourth round of the series for the first time in its history. The fourth round will feature a $400,000 buy-in.
Since the rules dictate that someone must win three straight matches before they can cash out and take their winnings to the cage, it guarantees that regardless of the winner, there will be another match with the stakes doubling. A player may take their winnings after two consecutive wins if it takes place after the fifth round, which has an $800,000 buy-in attached to it.
The only scenario in which the event doesn’t move to a fourth round is if there is literally nobody in the poker world that would play the winner heads-up for $400,000.
Photos courtesy of PokerGO