After almost a month’s layoff, the battle will resume between Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu. High Stakes Duel II will resume its festivities this Wednesday, broadcast over the streaming outlet PokerGO. It will be an opportunity for Negreanu to draw even in the event after what was an exciting opening salvo from the competition.
The Stakes are Going Up
The stage will be the studios of PokerGO on Wednesday night, while the stakes for play have gone up. Instead of the $50,000 buy-in from the first match, the stakes have gone up to $100,000 for this phase of the battle. Hellmuth, having won the first leg of the fight, will have his $100,000 already on the felt, while Negreanu will have to bring a fresh $100,000 to the table.
Even though he won the first-round battle between the duo, Hellmuth is still not getting any respect from the betting public. MyBookie has Negreanu listed as a heavy favorite to draw even in the match, with Negreanu getting -250 for a bet (a $250 bet would return $100). Hellmuth is currently listed at +170 (a $100 bet would return a $170 payday).
The lines on other sites are quite similar to the MyBookie ratings. Bovada has Negreanu installed as the favorite at this time with -170 the line and Hellmuth at +130. PokerShares even has Negreanu as the favorite in the match overall, with Negreanu (-164) clearly favored over the “Poker Brat” (+145).
Hellmuth Comes Back from the Brink in Round 1
For those of you who might have missed the first meeting between these players, you missed out on a memorable battle. Back on April Fool’s Day, Hellmuth and Negreanu went in front of the PokerGO cameras in Round 1 of what has been dubbed High Stakes Duel II. The first High Stakes Duel was a one-sided affair in which Hellmuth drubbed Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari to the tune of $400,000.
Within the first hour or so of the battle, Negreanu was able to get an edge on Hellmuth and, over the next couple of hours, bring the 15-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner nearly to his knees. At one point, Negreanu had $95,000 of the $100,000 that was on the table. It even got to a certain point where a rather cocky Negreanu offered up tissues to Hellmuth as he went on lengthy tirades about how the tide of battle was going.
Hellmuth could have simply given up at this point and come back for Round 2 with a fresh mind. Instead, he went on a streak of his own, battling back from the mat in a fashion befitting a champion. Over the span of three hours, he worked his stack back into health before taking the lead from Negreanu and closing out the more than six-hour match.
Negreanu is nowhere near the dominant favorite that MyBookie has placed him. What he will have to do is get back into a more freewheeling style that he employed in the early going against Hellmuth – the style that got him the early lead in Round 1. He also has to rein in his desire to entertain the PokerGO audience; part of what lost him that massive chip lead in Round 1 was getting a little overconfident in the proceedings. Negreanu’s got to resist this urge to play to the audience and actually realize that he is playing for a pretty decent chunk of cash.
Hellmuth, for his part, has to be patient. The 1989 World Champion has consistently played a steady style and capitalize on when his opponent’s make their mistakes. That is how he clawed his way back into the fight against Negreanu and it will be one of the things that wins him the war – IF he can withstand his urges to take every beat on the table as a massive affront to him personally.
The fireworks will hit the air again on Wednesday at 8PM (Eastern Time). PokerGO will feature a pre-game show at 7:30PM before the twosome step to the felt. Potential PokerGO subscribers can get in on the action here, along with the other poker action provided by the channel.