Ship it to Jason Koon! Koon defeated the Poker Brat in the latest installment of the popular heads up series High Stakes Duel. The third installment of High Stakes Duel III or HSD3, completed its fifth round with Phil Hellmuth taking on four different opponents and defeating three.
The original High Stake Duel features Hellmuth and Antonio Esfandiari, which seems like a decade ago. The Poker Brat edged out the Magician in three straight heads-up matches. In the second installment of High Stakes Duel II, Daniel Negreanu stepped into the limelight to battle Hellmuth. Kid Poker could not handle the Poker Brat, and dropped three heads up jousts in a row to lost HSD2.
High Stakes Duel III began with Phil Hellmuth battling Fox Sports announcer Nick Wright. Hellmuth easily defeated Wright in Round 1 to win a seventh-straight HSD match.
Wright declined a rematch, and HSD3 found a new opponent for the Poker Brat. HSD3 Round 2 featured Tom Dwan. Dwan and Hellmuth had previous bad blood stemming back to the NBC Heads Up Poker Championship during the apex of the poker boom in the mid 2000s. Dawn beat Hellmuth in the second round, much to the delight of haters and trolls. Hellmuth's record final had a blemish on it at 7-1.
Hellmuth wanted a rematch against the legendary Durrrr, and the two were set to meet in HSD3 Round 3. Hellmuth won the second battle against Dawn, and the Poker Brat took down Round 3. His record improved to 8-1. Dwan declined a rematch in the next round.
Scott Seiver decided to take a shot at Hellmuth in Round 4 with $800,000 on the line. It was another generational battle between a former online poker phenom versus Hellmuth representing the old guard. The grumpy and cantankerous old man fended off another internet whiz kid to win Round 4. Hellmuth defeated Seiver and his overall record improved to 9-1. The two were expected to meet again in Round 5 with the stakes raised to $1,600,000, but a scheduling conflict prevent Seiver from playing. That's when Jason Koon stepped in.
This time the old man in black could not beat the next young gunslinger who stepped up for a high-stakes showdown. Koon defeated Hellmuth in HSD3 Round 5 to bank $1.6 million. Hellmuth's record slip to 9-2.
It's up to Hellmuth to decide if he wants to a rematch worth $3.2 million for a sixth round of High Stakes Duel III . If the Poker Brat declines, then anyone else can challenge Koon if they have $1.6 million to pony up for Round 6.
The escalating and doubling stakes makes High Stakes Duel one of the best made-for-tv .... er, made-for-streaming... events. During the peak of the poker boom 15-plus years ago, TV executives could not figure out a way to generate excitement and drama of poker but contain it to a condensed time frame to appeal to specific broadcast schedules. Heads-up poker was a happy medium and comprise, which is why NBC spent big bucks to create and sponsor the Heads Up Poker Championship.
The recent high balla heads-up drama has been fun to watch since the pandemic began including the Phil Galfond challenges, the beef between Doug Polk and Daniel Negreanu, and the High Stakes Duel series with Hellmuth as the perfect foil and villain.
Stay tuned for more info on High Stakes Poker III Round 6 with $3.2 million at stake if you want to go swimming with Jason Koon and one of the deadliest sharks in poker. We'd love to see HSD3 continue and see the stakes continue to escalate to redonkulous nosebleed stakes. Round 7 would be $6.4 million, Round 8 would balloon to $12.8 million, Round 9 would double to an eye-popping $25.6 million, or how about $51.2 million for Round 10? Heck, let's go to Round 11 and $102.4 million. We'll see if anyone has the bankroll, backers, and/or balls to go nine-figures deep in a heads-up battle.