Tom Dwan Finally Gets a Heads-Up Match Against Phil Hellmuth

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Thirteen years ago, after incurring Phil Hellmuth’s wrath for bouncing him from NBC’s televised Heads-Up Poker Championship, Tom Dwan shot back, telling Hellmuth to “pick your stakes heads-up.” In three weeks (Aug. 25), the former Full Tilt Poker pro will finally get the heads-up battle he’s wanted for years on PokerGO’s High Stakes Duel.

Phil Hellmuth Tom Dwan
Phil Hellmuth vs. Tom Dwan is finally going to happen. (Image: Twitter/PokerGO)

Hellmuth is 7-0 on the heads-up No-Limit Hold’em show. Three of those wins came against Antonio Esfandiari in 2020 and three were against Daniel Negreanu earlier this year. Last week, sports TV host Nick Wright became Hellmuth’s most recent victim.

In Round 1, Hellmuth and Wright bought in for $50,000 each. Days after that beating, Wright, an FS1 sports talk show host, decided he won’t challenge the 15-time WSOP bracelet winner to a rematch. Per High Stakes Duel rules, the game is still on, meaning Dwan is stepping up in relief.

In the first round of the 2008 NBC Heads-Up Poker Championship, the then up-and-coming Dwan busted Hellmuth from the tournament with pocket 10’s cracking pocket aces. Hellmuth, who still to this day can’t help himself from complaining after a bad beat, didn’t just shake Dwan’s hand and tell him “nice game.” That isn’t his style.

Instead, he melted down and attacked Dwan’s poker acumen, despite the fact he was arguably the top online poker player in the world at the time. “Son, I will tell you this much, son, I would never put more than 3,000 in with two 10’s before the flop,” Hellmuth told his opponent.

“I was going to say good game, sorry for the suck-out, but when you phrase it that way, it makes me not want to.” Dwan responded. “Phil, that’s why you lose money online … Pick your stakes heads-up, pick your stakes heads-up,” Dwan continued before pulling some poker chips out of his pocket.

Hellmuth won’t get to pick his stakes for the upcoming match at the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas; he’s already in for $50,000, which he paid to face Wright. To take Wright’s seat at the table and continue the match, Dwan will now add an additional $100,000 to the prize pool ($200,000 total). The losing player in Round 2 must pay $200,000 to enter Round 3, should they choose to do so.

The match begins at 8 pm ET and will be available on the PokerGO app.

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