Phil Hellmuth once again showed his heads-up prowess on Wednesday after beating Tom Dwan on PokerGO’s High Stakes Duel in Las Vegas. The win scored Hellmuth $400,000 and moved his record in the series to 8-1.
The win meant some revenge for Hellmuth after Dwan handed the Poker Brat his first loss in the series in August. There’s no word yet if Dwan will challenge Hellmuth again, but Helmuth was magnanimous in victory.
“Hard fought battle, great opponent, and he is a good guy as well,” he noted on Twitter.
Trading pots early
Hellmuth took a small lead early as the two players traded a few smaller pots. Dwan showed some nice folding skills after Hellmuth rivered a flush with K♦9♦. Dwan, who grew up in New Jersey, held top pair with Ace-Queen but was able to find a fold.
Those interested in the Hellmuth food tracker witnessed a bite or two of a cheeseburger by the 15th minute of play. Bringing some of his culinary interests to the table has been a regular part of Hellmuth’s HSD game.
The burger was timed with Dwan locking up a nice hand of his own. His Q♣6♥ produced a straight flush on a board of 9♥7♥5♣8♥10♥. Hellmuth held Q♦8♦ and faced a river bet of 4,200 in a pot of 6,200.
Ultimately, Hellmuth folded and Dwan took down the pot. Hellmuth added his own pot a bit later with a flush.
Both players seemed at ease and continued shipping pots back and forth in the early stages. Dwan rallied and took an early lead after rivering a flush against Hellmuth’s pocket 10s. That left Hellmuth muttering and taking a quick walk around the studio. Dwan moved up to about a 30,000-chip lead.
Hellmuth strikes midway through match
Continuing with his aggressive play, Hellmuth mixed in some big raises here and there. His three-bets seemed to pay off and Dwan seemed to sense he was in trouble in spots.
After the first hour, the two players remained about even with generally small pots moving across the table. Hellmuth’s antics seemed a bit more subdued this time around.
Sure there was some cursing and standing up, but to a lesser degree than seen in earlier matches. Just past the 90-minute mark, the biggest hand of the series so far developed.
On the button, Dwan raised the action to 2,600 with K♦2♦ and Hellmuth called with K♥10♥. The flop brought an interesting 7♥4♦10♦, giving Hellmuth top pair and Dwan a flush draw.
Hellmuth checked and Dwan bet 3,600. That quickly received a call and the turn brought the A♥, giving Hellmuth the nut-flush draw as well.
With both players now with flush draws, Hellmuth checked again and Dwan bet 9,600. That brought a raise from Hellmuth for another 9,600.
Dwan called, swelling the pot to almost 51,000. The 9♠ on the river was a bit of a decrescendo for both players, but left Dwan stuck with only King-high. Both players checked and Hellmuth’s pair of 10s took the pot and a lead of about 60,000 chips.
Closing out the match
Despite that, Dwan would rally and find some pots of his own. By the two-hour mark, both players were about even again. A key hand late saw Dwan holding pocket 10s and Hellmuth with 7♥4♦.
Dwan looked to be in great shape, even on a board of J-2-7. But another 7 on the turn gave Hellmuth three of a kind and he’d eventually rake a pot of 150,000.
That produced a 3-to-1 chip lead and Hellmuth continued picking up pots from there. He avoided giving away too many more chips to his opponent and kept things in control. At one point late, Hellmuth even found an A♣2♣3♣4♣5♣ straight flush.
The final hand saw Hellmuth limp in the action with Ace-King and Dwan raise with pocket 8s. Hellmuth then moved all in and Dwan called. The flop brought a King on the flop and that was it.
Inside the action
Once again Hellmuth came out on top and is dominating the series. He’s certainly proven a tough customer in this format, which might as well be known as the Phil Hellmuth Show. His efforts included this amazing fold as well.
Wow! Is this the best @Phil_Hellmuth fold you've ever seen?
— PokerGO (@PokerGO) January 27, 2022
“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.’
“I think there are about 10 natural-born Hold’em players in the world. I’m one of the 10, for sure. What do I have, 13 world championships in Hold’em or something? Plus, 50 final tables in Hold’em. So yeah, I’m one of them.”
Dwan now has the chance to challenge Hellmuth for $400,000 each, taking High Stakes Duel III to Round 4 for a total of $800,000 on the line. Dwan hasn’t committed to a rematch, but another challenger could emerge if he declines.