Two of the biggest names in poker will square off to determine which generation is truly the best of the best. Tom Dwan, holding the torch for the millennials, will battle the Poker Brat Phil Hellmuth who was born in 1964 and on the cusp of two generations -- Generation X and Baby Boomers. You can make an argument that Hellmuth was a late baby boomer, which would suit the Gen Z kids who view Hellmuth as a member of the old guard and flirting with "Okay, Boomer!" territory.
Hellmuth demonstrated he has some heads-up skills despite the fact that there's a large segment of the community out there who think he's just a bully and luckbox. Phil Galfond caught a ton of heat when he said Hellmuth was much better than he thought after Hellmuth beat down Antonio Esfandiari in the first-ever High Stakes Duel. Hellmuth went 3-0 in the inaugural High Stakes Duel and the debut of the new series. After Hellmuth won the first match, everyone expected Esfandiari would battle back and beat the Poker Brat. Alas, Hellmuth won the second match to go up 2-0 and Esfandiari whiffed on a shot to get even in the third match when they raised the stakes. Poker Brat 3, The Magician 0.
Hellmuth took on Daniel Negreanu in High Stakes Duel II. Hellmuth was catching Kid Poker right after he got his butt kicked by Doug Polk in their highly-publicized High Stakes Feud. KidPoker fell behind early against Polk and although he played much better in the second-half of their 25K hand challenge, Polk still came out ahead by a cool million. Everyone expected Negreanu would wipe the floor with Hellmuth after the Polk feud ended, but Hellmuth's run good continued. Kid Poker dropped the first match... and the second... and the third. Yup. Hellmuth went 3-0 once again to pull off a sweep. The Poker Brat 3, Kid Poker 0.
Last week, Hellmuth and FS1 announcer Nick Wright battled in High Stakes Duel III. As expected Hellmuth won Round 1. However, it was a bit of a surprise when Wright decided to not continue their match, which is how Tom Dwan stepped in. Dwan will appear in Round 2 as the show's alternate. Round 2 has a $100,000 buy-in and the winner will bank $200K. The loser has an option for another round with elevated stakes. Hellmuth won seven in a row... will Dwan thwart his run? Or can the Poker Brat keep it up and make it 8-0?
Dwan and Hellmuth have some old bad blood. It occurred during the apex of the glorious online poker boom at the 2008 NBC Heads Up Poker Championship. Back then Dwan was known as durrrr and one of the premier online players in the world. Hellmuth was still Hellmuth, the ornery narcissistic pro with a God-complex and a penchant for volcanic activity the moment something does not go his way. Hellmuth went on mega tilt at the NBC HUC when Dwan cracked his pocket Aces with a pair of tens. It's a legendary hand that people are still talking about 13 years later after Dwan turned a set of tens and Hellmuth lost his mud. Dwan brushed aside the insults and challenged Helmuth to play heads-up cash game anytime, anywhere, and any stakes. Well, it took 13 years, but the two will joust with $200K on the line.
Tune in to PokerGo on August 25 at 5pm PT for the second round of High Stakes Duel III featuring Hellmuth and Dwan.