A brand-new show is coming to PokerGO! “High Stakes Duel” will see poker’s most prominent names clash in a heads-up battle, with the total prize pool going as high as $12,800,000 as the game progresses. The first episode of the show features two of the most highly successful poker players in the world, Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari, and Phil “The Poker Brat” Hellmuth.
High Stakes Duel Kicks Off July 30
Over the years, PokerGO’s parent company Poker Central has brought top-notch poker action closer to home by running exciting shows for players and avid fans of the game via their direct-to-consumer OTT subscription video service, the latest of which is High Stakes Duel which airs its first episode on July 30 at 9pm ET/6pm ET at the state-of-the-art PookerGO Studio located at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
The show involves a unique format – participants pay an entry fee of $50,000 for Round 1; whoever wins will advance to Round 2. Other players may get in on the action in separate Round 1s, and the stakes will increase by 100% with each round! Reaching Round 8 gives the player the opportunity compete for up to $12,800,000 in total prize money!
To become the big winner, a player must score 3 straight wins from Round 1 through to Round 5, or capture 2 consecutive heads-up battles from Round 5 onwards. If no other player takes up the challenge within 30 days following the latest match, then the most recent winner books the largest slice of the money.
Esfandiari and Hellmuth are not new to televised heads-up matches. In fact, both players had competed against each other several times in the past in front of the cameras, including playing at the NBC Heads Up Championship in 2005.
Recalling his previous heads-up battles with Esfandiari, Hellmuth said their first one-on-one match began many years ago when Esfandiari was still a young man. The 15-time World Series of Poker (WSOP) is looking forward to his newest battle against Esfandiari and is excited to know whether or not he’ll still be able to dominate the game, like what happened during their NBC Heads Up Championship match back in 2005.
For Esfandiari, the heads-up match between him and Hellmuth has been a long time coming. The American poker pro shared that for a decade now, he has been challenging Hellmuth to a heads-up battle that sees the winner shooting the loser with a taser gun. He is equally excited to see who will and will not back down on the challenge.
Renewal of Partnership With NBC Sports
Another positive announcement made last week by Poker Central was the renewal of their partnership with NBC Sports. Both brands started working together three years ago, and now, the collaboration will extend through to 2022. As part of the agreement, Poker Central’s premier and popular tournaments, including the Poker Masters, US Poker Open, and the Super High Roller Bowl will continue to be included in NBC Sports’ programming across its digital and linear platforms.
The partnership will help both companies reach a wider audience, and will benefit the poker industry in general as the game will be introduced and promoted to the mainstream viewers. More specifically, sports fans will get acquainted with how poker works, and vice-versa. Poker Central’s JR McCabe and Gary Quinn of NBC Sports both expressed their gratitude and excitement for the extension of the partnership.
Poker Central and NBC Sports first signed an agreement in 2017, which was then followed by a broadcast of the Super High Roller Bowl in the summer of that year. During that time, it was the largest buy-in poker tournament in the world. The partnership helped bring high-stakes poker to a bigger audiences across the globe, boosting interest in the game.
Several other poker events will also be included in the programming partnership. Official schedules will be announced soon.

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