Hey, the kids today are nostalgic for the 2000s. So it's pretty rad that the modern poker world that soaks up events in real time via Twitch and live streams get to witness two giants from the peak of the online poker boom in the late 2000s meet in a throwback throwdown between Patrik Antonius and Phil Ivey.
The two met in the final of the $25,000 buy-in 2021 WPT Heads Up Championship presented by Poker King where most of the field headed to Mexico to play on the Poker King app. Of course all of the 32 players in this special invitational event were filmed so you got a view of their face while slugging it out online. First place paid out $400,000 and bragging rights in the inaugural WPT Heads Up Championship.
Patrik Antonius defeated Sam Greenwood to lock up his spot in the finals. Phil Ivey defeated John Kruk in the semifinals and advanced to the finals. Ivey pulled off a sick bluff with 9-7 off suit against Kurk's pocket deuces. Everyone is still talking about it.
The WPT Heads Up Championship finale had a slightly different format with a best-of-five game format. Instead of blinds increasing after every seven hands, that threshold was bumped to 11 hands. Yes, the blinds were sorta redonkulous toward the end of some matches, which ended up a pushfest. The new tweaks suggested the finale would have some longer and deeper play between Ivey and Antonius. After all, it's not too often you get to see two guys that got to joust once again a decade later.
"A couple of GOATS down here," said Nick Schulman who was part of the commentary team.
Ivey won Game 1 with pocket nines versus Ace-Eight.
Ivey won Game 2 with pocket Jacks. There was the on the flop and the turn and river were also spades. Ivey held against Antonius' . Ivey checked the river and Antonius moved all in, so Ivey thought for a few seconds and called. His Jacks were good and Antonius "got caught with his hand in the cookie jar" as Mike Sexton would put it. Antonius lost the first two matches and trailed Ivey 0-2. Antonius would have to win three matches in a row if he expected to win the WPT Heads Up Championship. Conversely, Ivey would have to choke and blow a 2-0 lead by losing three matches in a row. Hey, it's poker and anything can happen with a world class stud like Antonius.
The two had not settled into the third game for long before they saw fireworks. Ivey flopped a straight against Antonius' Ace-six who chased a flush draw and backdoored two pair. Ivey's little straight held up and he took out a huge chunk of Antonius' stack.
Ivey took out Antonius with Ace-Ten against . Ivey won the third match and completed a 3-0 sweep against Antonius in a super fast third match and overall quick heads-up battle. It just wasn't meant to be for Antonius who fell behind early and never recovered. Antonius earned a $200,000 prize for second place. Not too shabby, eh?
Ivey earned $400,000 for winning the 2021 WPT Heads Up Championship via Poker King.