Breaking Down the Action:
  • Hellmuth Looking Invincible
  • Will Wright’s Style Fox the Brat?
  • A Closer Match Than Some Expect?

4 Minute Read

A classic David vs. Goliath battle will see Phil Hellmuth welcome Nick Wright to the High Stakes Duel arena... but could there be an upset?

He’s already wiped the floor with Antonio Esfandiari and Daniel Negreanu, so can Phil ‘The Poker Brat’ Hellmuth make it three and easy with a victory over TV personality and celebrity motormouth Nick Wright?

As we look back on the action so far to see what fans will make of this very different third bout in the popular PokerGO series High Stakes Duel, we can also let you know which man is the current favorite as the light go up on the latest heads-up poker battle.

Hellmuth Looking Invincible

It’s hard to see past the sheer level of success Hellmuth has enjoyed in this format, and not just the format, but this particular series. Hellmuth went 3-0 against Antonio Esfandiari then repeated the trick against Daniel Negreanu after a stunning whitewash of his long-time frenemy to claim a memorable second win on the trot.

Each High Stakes Duel match doubles the stakes, so it’s highly possible that Nick Wright only puts up one bet of $50,000 and doesn’t challenge for the $100,000 it would cost him to take Hellmuth on again if the Poker Brat wins the first bout tonight at 8pm Eastern Time on PokerGO.

Hellmuth has a tremendous record of success and not just in High Stakes Duel, winning 15 heads-up battles in World Series of Poker events over the years. It doesn’t get much better than that. Frequently a counter-puncher, Hellmuth suckers every opponent he plays into playing in a way that he can exploit. It’s hard to see Wright escaping that trap.

Hellmuth beating Negreanu HSDII

Phil Hellmuth took down the talented Daniel Negreanu in High Stakes Duel II

Will Wright’s Style Fox the Brat?

Nick Wright is certainly going to be an unconventional opponent for Hellmuth to negotiate and will be harder to read pre-match than the other opponents he has faced. The two men have faced each other before, sitting next to each other in a PokerGO episode of Poker After Dark, but that’s not the heads-up format, where there’s no dodging the action.

“Phil has had massive success in this event playing against professionals who clearly think they’re better than him,” Wright told PokerGO.

Fox Sports 1’s Nick Wright is going to feel out of his comfort zone from the start then, but having embraced that fully, could he spring a surprise? He will certainly offer something different.

“Phil has had massive success in this event playing against professionals who clearly think they’re better than him,” Wright told PokerGO. “Now he has to play an amateur who has no such delusions. I am almost incalculably worse than Phil at all forms of poker, most notably this form that he may have mastered. I think that should work in my favor! It might actually throw him off!”

It’s hard to argue with Wright on that front.

Nick Wright in action

Nick Wright in action against Daniel Negreanu in a previous Poker After Dark game on PokerGO

A Closer Match Than Some Expect?

As both of Hellmuth’s previous opponents in the High Stakes Duel series can testify, beating Hellmuth isn’t easy to do, and the Poker Brat will have to prepare himself for dealing with the opposite side of that coin.

It’s likely that at some stage, Hellmuth will get himself into a dominant position against the less-experienced player. When he has to close it out, will he be able to stop the underdog Wright from playing hard with nothing to lose?

While heads-up obviously favors the expert player, just as Doug Polk found against Daniel Negreanu, if play gets short-handed then Hellmuth will, like anyone playing no limit hold’em, be in the danger zone. He knows how to handle it, but as he has shown himself in High Stakes Duel in the past, in this format, anything can happen.

Joseph Ellison

Joseph is a dedicated journalist and horse racing fanatic who has been writing about sports and casinos for over a decade. He has worked with some of the UK's top bookmakers and provides Premier League soccer tips on a regular basis. You'll likely find him watching horse racing or rugby when he isn't writing about sport.

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