The 15-time WSOP Champion Phil Hellmuth has done it yet again in a high-profile heads-up match after winning the $100,000 prize pool against Nick Wright in Round 1 of the High Stakes Duel III at the PokerGO Studio at the ARIA Resort & Casino.
Hellmuth shed his image as the underdog that he held for the first two High Stakes Duel match-ups as for this match Hellmuth was favored against Wright, who is known more as one of the hosts of the Fox Sports 1’s First Things First show rather than for his poker prowess.
Apparently, it doesn’t matter whether Hellmuth is a favorite or an underdog as he is now 7-0 at the High Stakes Duel. In October 2020, Hellmuth impressed the poker world with a three-match sweep against Antonio Esfandiari before also defeating GGPoker Ambassador Daniel Negreanu in three straight matches last month.
In both cases, Hellmuth came in as the underdog but this didn’t stop him from taking $350,000 from both Esfandiari and Negreanu and now sports a tasty $750,000 profit after defeating Wright in Round 1 on Wednesday evening.
Last night’s six-hour match against Wright, which was broadcasted with hole-cards exposed at the subscription-based PokerGO, witnessed both players pony up a $50,000 buy-in. Wright has the option to demand a rematch, which Hellmuth is bound to accept, where stakes would be doubled for Round 2 with players each ponying up $100,000 each.
Despite Wright not being well-known as a poker player, he did appear to hold his own against one of the all-time greats in Hellmuth, who after the match admitted it wasn’t the easiest of battles he has encountered.
“It was a tough battle, honestly,” Hellmuth said following his seventh consecutive High Stakes Duel win. “I felt like he was going to give me a lot of trouble, and he did give me a lot of trouble. It’s not easy to make the adjustments because I’m playing against guys that think one way. I’m not going to say he has a better chance to beat me than Daniel [Negreanu] but, I mean, maybe, because he’s going to do more unorthodox things.”
Wright has 72 hours to demand a rematch with the stakes doubled for a $200,000 prize pool. Whether this will happen or not at this point in time is anyone’s guess.
“I got 72 hours, right?” questioned Wright. “I’m going to need 71 of them”
“It was exceptional except for the last 90 seconds,” Wright commented about his experience in the High Stakes Duel. “That sucked, but it was great. Maybe I’ll be back to challenge Phil, I gotta think about it. You know, there’s a lot that goes into it. I don’t think I embarrassed myself. I don’t think I played bad. Phil deserves it. That’s seven in a row in this setup. He’s great.”