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High Stakes Duel: Hellmuth Defeats Negreanu
Phil Hellmuth mounted an epic comeback to win his High Stakes Duel against Daniel Negreanu. The pair of poker Goliaths spent months needling each other, but it is Hellmuth who has the bragging rights.
Hellmuth and Negreanu met at the PokerGo Studio in Las Vegas, Nevada, and locked horns in a $100,000 heads-up match. The High Stakes Duel was essentially a heads-up SNG, not a heads-up cash game like Negreanu and Doug Polk battled in.
The High Stakes Duel took six hours from start to finish. Negreanu soared into a seemingly unassailable lead, leaving Hellmuth nursing a handful of big blinds. However, the self-proclaimed Poker Brat never gave up and staged a fantastic comeback to win the one-on-one fight.
It was Negreanu who won the first significant pot, doing so during the first hour of the broadcast. Negreanu raised to 375 with Kd-9d before calling when Hellmuth three-bet to 1,500 with Jh-Jd. The flop fell Th-3h-Kc, Hellmuth bet 1,700, and Negreanu called. Hellmuth bet 2,300 on the 3s turn, and Negreanu called. A 4,400 bet from Hellmuth on the 7d river was called.
Negreanu laughed as he passed a box of tissues to Hellmuth, who was visibly rattled by Negreanu’s play.
Hellmuth Aims Expletive-Filled Tirade at Negreanu During High Stakes Duel
The same king-nine of diamonds reared its head later in the High Stakes Duel, and Hellmuth was not at all pleased with how Negreanu played it.
Negreanu opened to 750 with Kd-9d, Hellmuth three-bet to 2,100 with Ac-8d, and Negreanu called. Hellmuth bet 2,100 on the 4d-4s-Jd flop, and Negreanu called. The 9s turn saw Hellmuth check-call a half-pot bet from his Canadian opponent. Both players checked the arrival of the Td river.
Hellmuth burst into an expletive-filled tirade after seeing the pot slide to Negreanu.
“How the f*** do you get away with it? F*** man, I mean how f****** lucky can you get? It doesn’t f****** matter; I’m still going to beat you because you’re gonna give it away just like that.”
Another big hand went Negreanu’s way to put the ball firmly in his court. Hellmuth opted to limp with 9d-9h initially. Negreanu took the bait and raised it to 1,500 before calling Hellmuth’s four-bet to 3,700. Negreanu made that raise with 6d-4d and was rewarded with a 4c-3h-4h flop. The six-time WSOP bracelet winner check-called Hellmuth’s 4,000 bet, with both players checking the 8h turn. Negreanu check-called a 4,000 bet on the 5s river.
Negreanu looked set to win the match because he held 96,000 chips to Hellmuth’s 4,000, with the big blind still at only 500.
Hellmuth Inches His Way Back Into Contention
Everything points towards a High Stakes Duel victory for Negreanu, but Hellmuth had other ideas. He slowly clawed his way back into contention with a series of unconventional plays.
Negreanu got unlucky in one particular hand where he could have easily gone broke. His Kc-2c flopped a club flush draw before improving to top pair on the turn. The board read 8s-6c-Jc-Kh-9h, and Hellmuth checked. Negreanu decided to check behind, and Hellmuth turned over Qd-Tc for a straight.
The 15-time WSOP bracelet winner was now a three-to-one chip leader despite being down to eight big blinds at one stage. Negreanu’s Kd-Qc doubled through Hellmuth’s Ah-6c after the five community cards ran 2d-7c-Tc-Jc-As, but Negreanu could not build any momentum.
The final hand saw Negreanu all-in preflop with 7h-6h and Hellmuth holding 9s-9d. A final board reading 8h-5h-Jc-Kc-8s handed the High Stakes Duel title to the legendary Hellmuth.
There is a rematch on the cards in the coming weeks, as per the show’s rules. The loser is allowed to request a rematch with stakes doubled.
“There will be a rematch, you can guarantee it,” Negreanu said.