Negreanu Favored Over Hellmuth in ‘High Stakes Duel’ Despite Round 1 Defeat

Despite a loss in Round 1 of “High Stakes Duel,” Daniel Negreanu is a heavy favorite in the first rematch against Phil Hellmuth. Round 2 takes place May 5 at the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas and will air on tape delay on the PokerGO app — paid subscription required to watch.

daniel negreanu phil hellmuth

Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth are just four days away from what should be an epic rematch. (Image courtesy PokerGO app)

In the first match, both players paid $50,000 to enter, creating a $100,000 prize pool. Hellmuth pulled off a miraculous comeback, rallying to win after trailing at one point 19-1 in chips.

This time around, as per “High Stakes Duel’s” structure, Hellmuth doesn’t have to pay a penny to enter Round 2. Instead, Negreanu must come up with the entire $100,000 buy-in, which is added to the Round 1 pot. The poker legends will now be playing for a $200,000 prize pool.

At the end of Round 2, the losing player will again have the option to force a rematch. If no rematch is requested, the winning player can pocket the money. But don’t expect that to happen as these poker pros have steep pockets and both are unlikely to call it quits this early. In Round 3, the prize pool will be up to $400,000, and then $800,000 in Round 4, if it goes that far. Hellmuth defeated Antonio Esfandiari in three straight matches last year on “High Stakes Duel,” and the players called it off at that point.

Safe to Bet on Daniel Negreanu this Time?

Daniel Negreanu was favored in the first match, according to PokerShares. And he was unlucky to have lost the game considering how huge of an advantage he had at one point in the match. The GGPoker ambassador and six-time WSOP bracelet winner is again favored quite heavily.

The opening line in Round 2 has Negreanu at a -161 favorite, meaning a $161 bet would pay out a $100 profit. Hellmuth, on the other hand, is a +142 dog, so a $100 bet, if he pulls the upset, would net $142 in profits.

The line might be a bit surprising to some considering Hellmuth is 4-0 on “High Stakes Duel” and has been successful in the sit n go style heads-up format throughout his career. But the oddsmakers and heavy bettors consider Negreanu the better and more fundamentally sound heads-up player overall.

Negreanu is fresh off a 25,000-hand heads-up no-limit online poker challenge against Doug Polk. Even though he lost $1.2 million in the challenge, he impressed many poker players for being more competitive than expected against one of the top heads-up NLH players ever.

Negreanu may have contributed significantly to Polk’s retirement fund in the process, but he gained some valuable heads-up experience. Thus, why most, including Polk, consider him a favorite in a heads-up match against Phil Hellmuth, the 15-time WSOP bracelet winner.

“High Stakes Duel” Round 2 will air at 5 pm PT on Wednesday on the PokerGO app with hole cards available for every hand.

Written by
Jon Sofen
Semi-pro poker player with 17 years experience on the felt and more than five years working as professional poker media.

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