For the first time in 11 matches, Phil Hellmuth won’t appear on PokerGO’s High Stakes Duel, a heads-up poker show. Instead, the fourth series of games will pit Daniel Negreanu against Eric Persson starting May 8.
Also for the first time, HSD will have an undercard with Mike “The Mouth” Matusow taking on a former rival, Shaun Deeb. Jason Koon, who defeated Hellmuth in a $1.6 million match on High Stakes Duel III in December, won’t return.
As is always the case when a new series of High Stakes Duel begins, each heads-up participant buys in for $50,000, creating a $100,000 Round 1 prize pool. Deeb and Matusow will play for $10,000 each in the undercard, however.
In the traditional series of games, the stakes are doubled each round, but only the losing player from the previous game is required to add to the pot. So, for example, if Negreanu were to lose in Round 1, he’d be on the hook for buying back in with $100,000 more in Round 2. That is, of course, assuming the losing player wishes to continue.
In this case, a Round 2 rematch has already been agreed upon and will take place May 9 on PokerGO. Both matches will begin at 5 p.m. PT from Las Vegas.
Negreanu Looks to End Losing Streak
This won’t be the first time Negreanu has competed on High Stakes Duel. He faced Hellmuth on HSD II and lost all three matches for a net loss of $350,000.
This time around, he won’t be facing Hellmuth, who went 8-2 overall on the show. Negreanu’s upcoming opponent is the wealthy Maverick Casinos owner Eric Persson, who has become a mainstay on televised poker shows the past year.
Persson has a contrasting style of play to Hellmuth. While the “Poker Brat” is often passive preflop, Negreanu’s new opponent won’t be. One thing poker viewers have learned from watching Persson play, on top of his trash talking personality, he isn’t afraid to fight for a pot. He’s lost a number of big pots because of failed bluffs, but also pulled off many, including one against Jean-Robert Bellande this week on the latest High Stakes Poker episode.
The format for the competition has changed a bit. In previous HSD games, a player couldn’t cash out until winning three consecutive matches unless a challenger wasn’t available. High Stakes Duel IV will crown a champion once a player wins at least two games in a row.
Slow-Roll Part II? The Undercard
On May 5, Deeb and Matusow will play in a one-and-done High Stakes Duel match with a $10,000 buy-in. The poker pros have combined for a total of nine World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelets but they haven’t ever competed heads-up on a live-stream.
There’s a bit of backstory between this former rivalry. In 2015, during a Poker Night in America cash game, Deeb tanked with quads facing an all in bet from “The Mouth” before eventually calling and slowly turning over his hand.
It was, perhaps, the most memorable in a long line of slow-rolls for Deeb.
“You can do anything to me, you can call me any name under the sun, but if you slow-roll me, I will punch you in the f*****g mouth,” an angry Matusow told Deeb as the pot was being shipped.
Will Deeb pull off another slow-roll against Matusow on May 5? Or, will Matusow return the favor and slow-roll his opponent this time around? You can find out next week on PokerGO.
*Images courtesy of PokerGO.