Nick Wright is a TV personality and not a poker player and hence it was no surprise to see Phil Hellmuth come out on the winning side in his recent High Stakes Duel match.
Wright has decided against calling for a rematch and has preferred to move on by focusing on his current role as co-host on Fox Sport 1’s “First Things First” morning talk show. The sports broadcaster recently announced via a two-minute Twitter video that he would not be pursuing a rematch against the Poker Brat.
Right after Hellmuth completed a three-match sweep against Daniel Negreanu in June, spectators were keen to know who his next opponent would be. There were speculations he could take on either Tom Dwan or Phil Ivey, both of whom are highly respected in the world of poker because of their exemplary achievements. Fans were initially filled with excitement as they looked forward to another epic heads-up battle between legends. But in the end, an unlikely opponent emerged in the form of Nick Wright.
Hellmuth Defeats Wright
When Wright was revealed as Hellmuth’s next heads-up opponent, some poker fans were left disappointed as they had expected another high-profile pro to take on the Poker Brat. In the eyes of the poker community, Wright was no match for Hellmuth considering the latter’s excellent track record, but the sports broadcaster was confident he might just end up as the winner.
Wright and Hellmuth had their first match on July 28 at the PokerGO Studio at the Aria in Las Vegas. This time, Hellmuth didn’t come in as the underdog as he obviously had the edge as far as poker skills and experience are concerned.
Wright had no prior tournament record. He is generally an amateur player, and everyone expected him to lose which was what eventually happened. But Hellmuth complimented Wright’s performance, saying his style had him “dazed, confused, and frustrated”.
Wright did really well during the first two hours of the match. He played aggressively, and at one point dominated the game by having nearly triple his opponent’s stack. But it didn’t take long before Hellmuth overtook the lead. He never looked back and ultimately sealed his victory with a better flush.
Wright Not Pursuing A Rematch
According to the rules, Wright, as the losing player, can demand a rematch. Right after his Round 1 loss, Wright was hesitant to say whether he’d want to face Hellmuth for a second time. Hellmuth appeared disinterested for a rematch as well, as he stated that he’d prefer his next bout to be against a more prominent pro.
The 15-time WSOP bracelet winner also said he didn’t want to lose some “legacy points” by losing to an amateur.
Over the weekend, Wright made it official – he would not pay another $100K for Round 2. The 36-year old tweeted that he would not re-challenge Hellmuth and would instead go back to hosting his morning show on Fox Sports 1. He also admitted that he “really blew it with some poor play”, and cited fatigue or lack of experience as the main reason for his poor performance during Round 1.
Wright thanked the PokerGO team though for making him part of the show. He will also be appearing alongside Hellmuth in a future episode of Poker After Dark. That particular session was filmed before their match on High Stakes Duel.
So far, Hellmuth has triumphed in all of his High Stakes Duel matches. He previously defeated Antonio Esfandiari via a sweep for $350,000. He was able to replicate that victory in his recent match against Daniel Negreanu where he took home another $350,000. Scooping another win against Wright, the Poker Brat has amassed $750,000 in total earnings for his impressive performance on High Stakes Duel.
With Wright officially throwing in the towel, the question now is, who would be next to take on Hellmuth on High Stakes Duel? Will the highly-anticipated match against Dwan or Ivey finally happen, or will a new name come into the picture? Let’s stay tuned to the future episodes of the No Gamble No Future podcast to find out.

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