The poker world is tuning in to one of the game’s biggest heads-up encounters – Phil Hellmuth taking on Tom Dwan for a second time on PokerGO’s High Stakes Duel. The highly-anticipated rematch commenced on January 26.
Hellmuth will try to get even with Dwan who handed him his first-ever defeat on the show. Both players faced each other back in August during Round 2 of the latest series of games. Dwan finished Hellmuth off by cracking his aces, the same way he conquered The Poker Brat when they battled it out at the 2008 NBC National Heads-Up Championship.
It will be interesting to see how the rematch would turn out considering that Hellmuth and Dwan are both considered legends of the game. Hellmuth might have suffered his first loss in the hands of Dwan but let’s not forget that he was previously undisputed on the show, sweeping two of the world’s best poker players, Antonio Esfandiari and Daniel Negreanu.
Dwan has proved to be a tough opponent for Hellmuth. The American poker pro ruled the virtual felts during the poker boom era and also achieved huge success competing in live tournaments. While he hasn’t been as active playing competitive poker over the past few years, Dwan still got it and he will look at stopping Hellmuth for the second time around on High Stakes Duel come January 26.
What to Watch For
Hellmuth and Dwan’s first bout on High Stakes Duel back in August lacked any major highlights. Both players tried to avoid the aggressive route, staying passive most of the time. Fans were expecting Hellmuth to have his usual meltdowns here and there but it didn’t happen as the Poker Hall of Famer remained composed all throughout, but in the rematch, The Poker Brat might just give what poker fans always look forward to whenever he’s competing at the table – trash talk, blow-ups, and his so-called “white magic”.
Of course, Hellmuth’s love affair with his old-school strategy will likely remain. His tight and sometimes aggressive game has worked well for him over the years, earning him multiple victories, despite criticism from the modern, younger pros. He’ll face Dwan on the back of a successful 2021 where he was able to extend his WSOP bracelet record after winning his 16th bracelet.
Dwan has moved away from his old hyper-aggressive style, which made him an online poker superstar back in the day. Playing under his famous nickname “durrrr”, Dwan was well-known for initiating the action and pulling off insane bluffs at the biggest high-stakes games during the poker boom era. While we’re no longer seeing that in his recent games, it doesn’t mean he isn’t capable of bringing it back. It will be entertaining to watch him risking it all and putting his opponent in tricky situations.
It will be another epic battle for sure!
Can the Match Extend to Round 4?
The rematch requires Hellmuth to pay $200,000 as buy-in, which means the total prize pool is now $400,000.
If Hellmuth successfully avenges himself, he has the option to give Dwan another shot, extending the match to Round 4, or he can choose to take the money and call it quits. Dwan can do the same if he manages to score a second win against Hellmuth.
Let’s fasten our seatbelts as we watch the action unfold at 8pm ET at the PokerGO Studio at ARIA in Las Vegas, with livestream available on the PokerGO YouTube channel. Ali Nejad and Phil Galfond will commentate on the match.