Two of the most important players in poker history met last night in a heads-up match, played at the PokerGO studio by the Aria, in Las Vegas, USA. It was a US$50,000 buy-in “High Stakes Duel” broadcasted live on the subscription video service PokerGO. Canadian Daniel Negreanu (known as ‘KidPoker’) was leading the match during 4 hours (he even had a chip lead of about 95,000 to 5,000!), but Phil Hellmuth (USA) (‘Poker Brat’) was able to fight back a 19-1 chip deficit to finally win this poker marathon.
Each player started with 50,000 chips and the initial blinds at 50/100. After a hard fight, Hellmuth got under 5,000 in chips, but eventually got the double-up he needed when he flopped a queen-high flush draw and got all-in against Negreanu’s ten-high flush draw. Hellmuth ended up making a straight. Later, the cards ran Hellmuth’s way. He made a flush on the river to beat Negreanu’s top pair. Then, he made two pair on the river to beat another top pair. Negreanu battled, but wasn’t able to turn the tide again. In the final hand, a short-stacked Negreanu went all-in with seven-six of hearts, and Hellmuth called with pocket nines. Negreanu flopped a straight flush draw, but Hellmuth’s hand held on. In sum, Negreanu had control for four hours, but Hellmuth never gave in and his patience finally paid off.
In that sense, it seems that G&M News gave Hellmuth luck. Is that he had retweeted yesterday afternoon, a couple of hours before this duel, the article in Spanish that the multiplatform had written in the preview of the match.
A LONG-AWAITED BATTLE THAT FULFILLED FANS EXPECTATIONS
Hellmuth is the all-time leader in World Series of Poker bracelets with 15, five more than anyone else. But Negreanu called that legacy into question, saying Hellmuth won against mostly weaker fields and couldn’t compete against top players. Last night, Hellmuth proved the opposite. After a month of provocations, twists and turns and dates postponed for various reasons, they finally saw each other and put on a great show, as millions of poker enthusiasts anticipated.
Hellmuth (56) has accumulated more than US$24 million in career tournament earnings, according to the Hendon Mob Poker Database. Negreanu (46) is a six-time WSOP bracelet winner with US$42 million in earnings. Now, Negreanu has the right to a rematch at double the stakes, an option he immediately exercised. “There will be a rematch. You can guarantee that,” he said as they shook hands. Thus, fans will have another chance to see these poker stars in action in a second confrontation that will undoubtedly be exciting again.