After months of anticipation and a few choice words, poker legends Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth will kick off their PokerGO High Stakes Duel series this week.
Negreanu comes into the $100,000 head-to-head after a big defeat to Doug Polk earlier this year. The Canadian lost $1.2 million during the 25,000 hand, $200/$400 No-Limit Hold’em match against Polk.
Following the loss, Hellmuth was not happy with Negreanu’s strategy and publically criticized the Canadian’s approach to the match. Negreanu didn’t back down, and the exchange led to their on No-Limit Hold’em head-to-head, which begins this Wednesday.
The upcoming match between Negreanu and Hellmuth is one of the most anticipated poker events in recent history. They are two of the biggest stars in poker with an exceptional pedigree in the game, and a combined $67 million in career earnings between them.
Negreanu or Hellmuth: Who’s the Favorite?
Negreanu is an experienced head-to-head player, while Hellmuth has the most WSOP bracelets ever to his name. Both are skilled players. However, Negreanu is the favorite to win.
Negreanu has more experience in head-to-head matches compared to Hellmuth. Despite losing to Polk recently, the Canadian’s recent experience in this match could be an advantage. Before that match, Negreanu was a massive underdog, with Polk favored at 4:1 before the head-to-head. But, Negreanu earned plaudits from fans for going toe-to-toe with Polk – one of the best head-to-head players in the game.
But Hellmuth is certainly no stranger to head-to-heads either. The serial WSOP winner has experienced his fair share of head-to-heads at WSOP final tables. Hellmuth also beat Antonio Esfandiari in three straight matches last year to win a $350,000 pot.
Stretching further back, Hellmuth also had success at the NBC National Heads-Up Championship, winning in 2005 and finishing second in 2013.
The latest odds show Negreanu as the favorite to win the sit-n-go heads-up match against Hellmuth.
Current odds from the online sportsbook, BetOnline, show Negreanu as the -200 favorite. In contrast, Hellmuth is priced at +150 to win.
What is the High Stakes Feud format?
As part of the High Stakes Duel format, Negreanu and Hellmuth will play a series of sit-n-go matches.
To begin, both players will buy-in for $50,000, creating an immediate $100,000 pot. If a player loses the first round, they can buy back in for another $100,000 to start a rematch. With this buy-in, the pool will rise to $200,000. However, following the second match, the losing player can then double the pot and raise the stakes.
If the match continues to round eight, by which time the overall pot would be $12.8 million, the winner can take the money and end the game. But there is an option to continue, and the stakes will be raised further.
Unlike Negreanu’s $200/$400 No-Limit Hold’em match against Polk, where the blinds did not raise, the sit-n go format between Negreanu and Hellmuth sees the blinds raised.