When it comes to PokerGO’s High Stakes Duel, Phil Hellmuth remains the player to beat. On Tuesday, he topped fellow poker pro Scott Seiver for his ninth win in the series.
The two men battled in the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas with Hellmuth once again finding the winner’s circle. He now advances to the next round after scoring $400,000 from Seiver.
Hellmuth has lost only once in the series. That defeat came to Tom Dwan, who backed out of the match last week, paving the way for Seiver to step in. The 16-time World Series of Poker champion said reaching win No. 9 over Seiver wasn’t easy.
“Scott absolutely did not give it to me,” Hellmuth said afterward. “He was just tough, and that’s what I was expecting. He’s one of the greatest players in the world and also one of the best of his generation. He’s won a fortune playing at Bellagio, and he’s just a great big-bet player. I knew it was going to be a tough match, and I enjoyed it.
“I still would have been angry, of course, if I lost, but he has so much class and handles himself so well, and that’s nice. Some of the guys have been mean to me, some have lied to me, and some have been brutal to me. Sure, I get my digs in too, but Scott handled himself well. I didn’t pull too much ‘Poker Brat’ out on him, and he knows how to handle it.”
Hellmuth takes an early lead, Seiver fights back
Things seemed to be going Hellmuth’s way early in the match. He picked up several pots early to build a lead. However, Seiver found a big early hand with K-Q. He executed a nice check-raise with a King on the flop and another coming on the turn.
Hellmuth three-bet to bluffed with 10-9, only to eventually lose a pot of about 168,000 chips. The win vaulted Siver to a lead of about 75,000.
There was plenty of chit-chat between the two players throughout the event. Both seemed affable and friendly toward each other. Seiver didn’t give an inch and proved a tough customer.
There was plenty of bluffing between the two and Hellmuth continued chipping away at his opponent’s lead. He soon grabbed that lead back in the match’s first half.
Seiver showed a nice fold with top pair at one point to Hellmuth’s straight. Seiver later rivered the nut flush when an Ace fell on the river. Hellmuth held an Ace and called, giving Seiver a nice pot.
Back and forth then big Hellmuth lead
The two players seemed to trade leads back and forth in the first part of the match, which lasted almost six hours. Hellmuth continued finding key pots here and there, showing some aggression when needed.
By the midway point in the action, Hellmuth held a lead of almost 100,000. Seiver continued snagging his own fair share of pots, including a huge hand later in the match.
With Hellmuth holding pocket Jacks and Seiver with pocket Queens, both players got it all in before the flop. Seiver’s tournament life was at stake, but his hand held to take a massive pot. The turn of events brought Hellmuth out of his chair and cursing his luck.
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Seiver continued to battle and eventually took a 2-to-1 lead with about 90 minutes remaining in the match. But Hellmuth continued finding small pots to cut that deficit.
By the last hour, both players were once again about even in chips. Hellmuth continued finding some hands and built a lead of about 400,000 with about a half-hour remaining in the match.
Seiver appeared a bit frustrated later in the match as his opponent continued picking up pots. He did catch a nice double-up late when Hellmuth moved all in with K-3 to Seiver’s A-9.
The final hand saw Hellmuth catch two pair with 2♥3♠on a flop of 2♠10♣3♣. Unfortunately for Seiver, he caught top pair with 10♦6♥ and moved all in. Hellmuth instantly called and Seiver got no help on the turn (Q♠) or river (5♠).
Inside the action
The $800,000 among the two players was the largest amount ever featured on High Stakes Duel. There will now be a fifth round unless no one challenges Hellmuth. Another match would be for $1.6 million. Per the show’s rules, Hellmuth can cash out with a Round 5 win and his third series championship belt.
If Seiver returns, he’d need two consecutive wins to be crowned the High Stakes Duel III champion.
In this event, Hellmuth got off to a fast start early, getting paid off for some nice pots. In past matches, at times he’s fallen behind early and needed to get back into the match.
But Hellmuth excels in this format and that showed again on Tuesday. Both players seemed to get along well with little animosity in the longest match in the series’ history.
“I had more fun playing with you than anybody else,” Helmuth noted afterward.