Daniel Negreanu will face Eric Persson in the first two rounds of the new season of High Stakes Duel next week, while Mike Matusow will face Shaun Deeb in the one-and-done”undercard” event on Friday.
The show has a unique format that changed slightly this year. The contest requires players to win two matches in a row in order to have the option to cash-out the money and take home the championship belt. Last season, won by Jason Koon in December after more than a year of matches and delays, required players to win three matches in the earlier rounds (as was the case in the first two seasons).
He won $1.6 million after beating Phil Hellmuth, who was the champ of first two seasons of High Stakes Duel. But since no one stepped up with the $1.6 million buy-in required to challenge, Koon was declared the winner in January.
A teaser “undercard” will feature Matusow and Deeb in a winner-take-all $10,000 buy-in match Friday, May 5. This match will be available for free on PokerGO and the PokerGO YouTube channel at 5 p.m. PT.
Negreanu and Persson are playing two matches in a row on Monday, May 8, and Tuesday, May 9. The first match is $50,000, and the buy-in doubles the next day. If one of the players sweep the two matches, they will win the belt and the $200,000.
If they split the two, the loser of the second one has the right to re-challenge the winner for $200,000. If the loser declines, then the challenge window will open for 30 days and any player who wants to put up $200,000 and get into the duel. This will go on until a player wins two in a row, or a challenger fails to step up.
There might be some fireworks in these matches. Persson entered the poker consciousness the last year through the ever-popular high stakes poker livestreams, where he often comes off as a sort of brute wrestling heel. The last time he played heads-up in a made-for-broadcast tournament, he tilted Hellmuth and even flipped him the double-bird.
PokerGO is available worldwide on Android phone, Android tablet, iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV, or through the browser at PokerGO.com. The beginning of the headliner match will be available for free on the PokerGO YouTube channel at 5 p.m. PT.
Although Hellmuth will have the chance to challenge if the contest goes any distance, it’s a minor surprise that he isn’t part of the fourth season from the get-go.
After all, he won the first two High Stakes Duels back-to-back, but he stalled last season and refused to ante-up $1.6 million to challenge Koon.
The first season, he won three matches in a row against Antonio Esfandiari, banking $400,000. He did the same thing against Negreanu in season two, winning another $400,000.
The wheels came off for Hellmuth in season three. After defeating racecar announcer Nick Wright in the first round of $50,000, he fell to Tom Dwan in the $100,000 round. He then defeated Dwan in the $200,000 round, and then beat Scott Seiver in the $400,000 round after Dwan backed-out.
Seiver declined to challenge, and that’s when Koon stepped-in with the $800,000 buy-in. If Hellmuth won that round, he would have three-peated. Instead, it was Koon who won, taking the third belt and Hellmuth’s (or whoever is backing him) $800,000.
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