The forthcoming heads-up match between Phil ‘The Poker Brat’ Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu, also known as ‘Kid Poker’ looks set to be a classic. Kicking off on March 31st exclusively on PokerGO, the match-up forms part of the High Stakes Duel series and there could hardly be more on the line.
The pair may be playing for $100,000 in the first bout, but there’s a lot more at stake, as we found out when we took a dive into what the poker world thinks will happen and the latest betting odds for the battle via Bovada.
The High Stakes Duel Format Explained
The two highly decorated men will be taking each other on in the most popular poker format on the planet – No Limit Texas Hold’em. The structure of the bout is quite clear. Each time Hellmuth and Negreanu take each other on, it’s heads-up and for all the chips, with blinds escalating until we have a winner.
When one man has won the $100,000 first fight, the loser will be offered the chance to come back and play for double. This format goes on almost ad infinitum, and potentially up until the pair scrap it out for millions. In reality, this is highly unlikely. Variance and the price of defeat dictate that it’s more than probable that this bout lasts exactly the same length as Hellmuth’s first High Stakes Duel against Antonio Esfandiari.
Who’s in the Best Form?
This is really tricky to say, with both men coming into the first match having played vastly different amounts of poker in the build-up. Negreanu, as you may know, has been embroiled in a months-long feud against Doug Polk which eventually saw him defeated to the tune of $1.2m. While that obviously tells us Negreanu has been losing recently, Kid Poker’s supporters (and even frenemies like Polk) argue that his recent improvements as a heads-up poker player mean he’s the man to beat.
Hellmuth, meanwhile, has been playing very little poker at all, at least in the public arena. While he’s played online, he’s not played nearly the same volume in recent months as his old adversary Negreanu. As Hellmuth himself told us, however, if Negreanu thinks that he’ll be easy meat, then he’s ‘delusional’.
Which Player is the Fans Favorite?
The money is going in on Negreanu right now because of his recent heads-up match with Doug Polk, which over 25,000 hands proved that Negreanu has the ability to learn a lot from an expert in the field.
Dealing with Phil Hellmuth isn’t like dealing with any other player, however, as many have found to their cost. There can hardly be a poker player in history who has been underestimated so often despite consistent success in no limit more than The Poker Brat.
Hellmuth may refer to himself as White Magic and told us in detail about exactly why he – and not Negreanu – deserves to be spoken about as the potential Greatest of All-Time in poker. But he also has a serious side to his poker game and this is a man who has won 15 World Series of Poker heads-ups to win bracelets, five more than anyone else and nine more than Negreanu.
Why is everyone s fascinated with who’ll win between Hellmuth and Negreanu? That’s like asking for the reasons Rounders is still the best poker movie 23 years since its cinematic release. It’s obvious, but it’s also in the details around the drama.
Phil Hellmuth vs. Daniel Negreanu: What Are the Odds?
The current odds via Bovada show that Daniel Negreanu is the -190 favorite for the first bout, while you can get odds of +145 on Phil Hellmuth to book the first win. There may well be at least two more battles to come, but we’d be very surprised if each player didn’t use the first fight to learn about exactly what they’re up against. If Negreanu comes into the High Stakes Duel playing GTO poker, will Hellmuth, who describes himself as the perennial counter-puncher, have a way to combat it effectively?
One thing is for sure when the talking finally stops and the first card is peeled off the pack on March 31st. Both Hellmuth and Negreanu have some very different betting odds to live up to when their match kicks off on PokerGO.
Betting Picks: The Verdict
The current odds of -190 for a Negreanu victory and +145 for Hellmuth edge us towards Hellmuth purely because there’s such a marginal difference between the two great rivals that taking the best odds is the safe play.
Either man could easily win, however, and we’d only see this first bout as a guide to how the ongoing duel between the two men progresses. It may even be that one man experiments to draw out some of his rival’s tactics during the opening bout.
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