Hellmuth won $200,000 for claiming the first King of the Hill belt and followed up his win by finishing in second place that same week in the WPT Legends of Poker event. By using his patented “white magic” and staging a comeback for the ages, Hellmuth has reasserted himself into the national conversation and introduced himself to a new audience.
As reigning King of the Hill, Hellmuth returns to defend his title. He returns to the ring with a new set of opponents lining up to take his title from him.
Standing in between Hellmuth and a second title are Olivier Busquet, Shaun Deeb, and Parker “tonkaaaap” Talbot. Deeb and Busquet served as commentators for Poker Night’s “Grudge Match” earlier in the year. Talbot represents a younger generation of professionals with his large streaming audience expected to carry over into the match. All players share a camera-friendly personality and will not be shy about mixing it up verbally during the matches.
Busquet is a former “end boss” of the online heads-up Sit & Go realm and the mentor to 2014 One Drop Champion Daniel Colman. Based on merits and experience alone, Busquet is the likely betting favorite.
Deeb has been successful in all parts of the poker world and participates frequently in Poker Night cash games. In 2016, Deeb claimed his second World Series of Poker bracelet.
The wild card of the bunch is Talbot, who is more well known in the current online tournament world. His heads-up skills have yet to be put on display in an environment similar to this stage. Talbot’s affable personality should carry over well to the Poker Night stage.
Poker Night has been a frequent visitor of Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh since Poker Night in America premiered in 2014. “King of the Hill” coincides with the Pittsburgh Poker Open tournament series.
Located on Pittsburgh’s North Shore, Rivers Casino is a short walk from Heinz Field and the home of the Brains vs AI heads-up poker challenge. Hellmuth has a history in Pittsburgh stemming from 2014 when he won the PPO Main Event.
How to Watch “King of the Hill”
The two semifinal matches will be determined via random draw and live streamed on the Poker Night Facebook Live page.
The matches are live streaming on the Poker Night TV Twitch channel starting on Friday, October 6 at 6:30 pm ET. The elite field of four will be narrowed down to two over the course of two semifinal matches. The second King of the Hill Champion is to be decided on Saturday, October 7 beginning at 6:30 pm ET.
Former “King of the Hill” contestant Doug Polk is serving as host during the live stream. The list of co-hosts joining him in the booth is yet to be determined.
Similar to the first round, the gameplay will be condensed down into an episode of Poker Night in America. The episode will air on CBS Sports Network at a later date.
Poker Night in America continues to push the envelope with poker streaming content and King of the Hill advances that trend.
The combination of great play and contestants not afraid to throw verbal jabs should make KOTH Round II as successful as Round I, no matter who emerges with the belt.