After seeing his streak in heads up poker ended in 2021, Phil Hellmuth has gotten off on the right foot in 2022. Exacting revenge for that defeat to close 2021, Hellmuth defeated Tom Dwan on Wednesday night in the resumption of their battle in High Stakes Duel III. The victory by Hellmuth earned him the stakes for the event, $400,000, but another battle might be on the horizon.

See-Saw Battle to Start the Match

With both players stacked with 200,000 in chips, Hellmuth and Dwan sparred for a bit with neither really taking a firm lead. Gradually, however, Hellmuth was able to work his way out to a 60K chip lead. Dwan, in his ever-attacking style, was able to fight his way back in pushing bottom pair and a flush draw all the way to the river, where Hellmuth finally relented.

Hellmuth would be the first player to make a significant strike. Surprisingly, it was Hellmuth pushing this one, limping in with a 7-4 and then spurring a raise after Dwan pushed back. Dwan called, holding pocket tens, and the flop would give Hellmuth a pair. They would both check their options, leading to Hellmuth improving to trips on the turn. Now it was Hellmuth’s turn to push and he did, popping a half pot bet to the center that Dwan called. The river changed nothing, but it brought another bet from Hellmuth that Dwan called and would result in Dwan’s cards heading to the muck and Hellmuth stacking the chips.

Now up by a 3:1 margin, Hellmuth continued to pressure Dwan. He would use pocket nines to make a straight against Dwan’s Ace high and be graced by a straight flush to put Dwan on the ropes. On the final hand, it was just your typical race situation as Hellmuth limped in with Big Slick and, after Dwan pushed with pocket eights, made the call. There was a King in the window on the flop and no eight came to the rescue, ending the match in favor of Hellmuth.

Will There Be Another Match?

The big question now is whether there will be a continuation of this particular High Stakes Duel. Upon the finish of this segment of the challenge, Hellmuth commented to Dwan, “I know you’re rematching…this time for $800K.” Hellmuth further elaborated on this in the post-game interview, stating “The next match is for $800,000. If I lose, I’m pretty sure that I’m not going to pony up $800,000 to play again, but I bet he will. If he (Dwan) doesn’t, then someone else will. I have to win twice more, and it could be Dwan then (Phil) Ivey, or Dwan then Dwan…IF I can win the next match.”

This particular version of High Stakes Duel started when commentator/poker player Nick Wright stepped into the breech against Hellmuth. With both men putting up $50,000, Hellmuth was able to continue a streak in High Stakes Duel that he had carried through much of 2021. Wright would not come back for another battle, but Dwan would step up to continue the fight, putting up $100,000 against Hellmuth.

Dwan was able to end the streak of Hellmuth back in August 2021, which put Hellmuth to a decision – did he want to continue the mano y mano warfare with Dwan or did he just want to let it go? Hellmuth would decide to continue on with the pleasantries, albeit Round 3 was delayed a bit due to the 2021 World Series of Poker and the holidays. OFFICIALLY, there is no word from Dwan as to whether he wants another bite at the apple, but rest assured that Hellmuth will be there waiting for Dwan if he does want to take another shot.

(Photo courtesy of PokerGO.com)

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