Just 48 hours before squaring off with Phil Hellmuth on PokerGO’s High Stakes Duel, the company announced Tuesday that Tom Dwan had withdrawn from the show. Producers are now looking for a new opponent and has moved the match to May 17 in the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas.
The high rolling heads-up action was to returns this week with two of the biggest names in poker doing battle. Hellmuth and Daw were to play for $800,000, the highest amount seen on the show so far.
Seeking a new opponent
In announcing the latest developments, PokerGO didn’t offer a reason for Dwan backing out of the match. He’s become a regular on PokerGO events such as High Stakes Poker.
Certainly a last-minute cancelation threw a wrench into the show’s production. The company is now scrambling to not only find a player, but one willing to put up $400,000 against Hellmuth.
PokerGO hinted at Doug Polk possibly taking the seat against Hellmuth. The site’s news section also mentioned YouTube and Twitch streamers such as Ninja, MrBeast, and Ludwig. All recently played Hellmuth in Hustler Casino Live stream.
The new opponent is expected to be named on Monday via the show’s “weigh-in” show.
A new challenger appears!
Who do you think will enter the ring to face @phil_hellmuth in this $800,000 heads-up match?
— PokerGO (@PokerGO) May 10, 2022
History of the matchup
Hellmuth and Dwan promised viewers another juicy matchup. The two split their first two matches in the series. When they squared off in August, Dwan fell behind early but surged in the second half. His aggression mixed with some nice instincts and excellent folds had Hellmuth flustered at times.
Later in the match, Dwan utilized several all-in raises to get Hellmuth off his hands. The duel ended with Hellmuth trapping with pocket Aces, only to get them cracked for his first loss in the series.
“I think I adjust how I play more than most people do depending on what other people are doing in the game,” Dwan said after the match. “So I definitely made some unconventional plays there. Some I think were good, some I think were bad.”
The second match saw Hellmuth become more aggressive with several three-bets paying off throughout the action. Hellmuth seemed more focused with fewer cursing fits and less frustration.
The final hand saw Hellmuth get it all in with Ace-King versus Dwan’s pocket 8s. A King hit on the flop and Hellmuth took the match.
“It feels good,” Hellmuth told PokerGO after the win. “Tom is just one of the greatest players in the world. I like to use the term ‘natural-born Hold’em player.’”
Wow! Is this the best @Phil_Hellmuth fold you've ever seen?
— PokerGO (@PokerGO) January 27, 2022
Hellmuth has a history of winning on HSD
As PokerGO viewers know, Hellmuth has excelled in the show’s format. Before the loss to Dwan, he’d won seven straight High Stakes Duel matches for $750,000.
Dawn scored $100,000 from Hellmuth for his victory and the two then played for $200,000 each. In High Stakes Duel III Round 4, the two players in the next duel will battle for $400,000 each.
Helmuth enters the duel after some recent controversy in the Hustler Casino Live poker stream. Many viewers believed Hellmuth folded his hand during a critical heads-up moment.
The game featured several newer players and his opponent showed his cards, but Hellmuth actually didn’t fold his hand. The events brought plenty of comments on both sides from poker players. Hellmuth eventually decided to give the player back $5,000 and half the pot.
With the new High Stakes Duel, Hellmuth is back in a familiar spot. He seemed to have moved on this week and was excited at seeing himself on the cover of the new Cigar Aficionado magazine.
— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) May 7, 2022