Twittertainment: Fans Debate Hellmuth vs. Koon Ahead of $1.6 Million High Stakes Duel

Twittertainment: Fans Debate Hellmuth vs. Koon Ahead of $1.6 Million High Stakes Duel
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This week’s Twittertainment sees us revisit one of poker’s eternal questions: is Phil Hellmuth really the best player in the world? 

Listen for long enough and you’ll probably hear the man himself proclaim his own greatness. Naturally, as you’d expect, some people don't share the same opinion. For example, those who compete in poker's richest cash games don’t typically rank Hellmuth as highly as he ranks himself. 

However, in certain arenas, it’s hard to argue that Hellmuth isn’t one of the best. The WSOP is clearly his domain. With 16 bracelets, more than anyone else, he’s clearly doing something right. Another format he’s found a niche in over the last two years is High Stakes Duel.

Hellmuth is High Stakes Duel King

There have been ten heads-up matches since the show first aired in 2020, and Hellmuth has won nine of them. Among the players left trailing in his wake are Antonio Esfandiari, Daniel Negreanu, Tom Dwan, and Scott Seiver. Even sports broadcaster Nick Wright couldn’t beat Hellmuth heads-up. 

The heads-up sit & go format clearly suits Hellmuth’s playing style, but his next opponent could spoil the party. PokerGo announced this week that Jason Koon will play Hellmuth in round five of High Stakes Duel 3 on December 7.

The structure of High Stakes Duel is such that the buy-in doubles every round. Hellmuth has played his way through four levels this season, which means the buy-in now stands at $800,000. A quick calculation tells us that Hellmuth and Koon will be playing for $1.6 million next week.

That’s not just a lot of money for a heads-up match, it’s the biggest prize pool High Stakes Duel has ever offered. Of course, for Hellmuth and Koon, there’s something more on the line: pride. Hellmuth wants to retain his title and prove the haters wrong. Koon wants to dethrone the king and show he’s one of the best in poker.

Twitter Fans Split on Hellmuth vs. Koon

The stage is set for an epic showdown and, as expected, Twitter had something to say about it. Fans are currently split on who will win. Some are rooting for Hellmuth, others believe Koon will be too advanced. 

“Just a Guy” on Twitter referred to it as D-day. Exactly who it’s D-day for isn’t stated, but the implication is that he believes December 7 could be the day of reckoning for Hellmuth. Twitter user @jd4change disagrees with the idea that Hellmuth is facing his toughest challenge so far. 

He’s backing Hellmuth “all the way” and believes Koon can’t handle the “smoke.” How serious @jd4change is, however, could be up for debate because he goes on to say that he’d “crush” Hellmuth heads-up. 

Cyd Trawicki is also backing Koon, tweeting that he “has the edge” over Hellmuth. Mandi Minx expressed her support for Koon in the only way true Twitter experts know how to, by posting a gif. 

That gif didn’t win over Marius Heiene. He tweeted that he’s “not excited” for Koon in this match. Also joining the chorus of support for Phil Hellmuth was his brother, David.

Anyone Could Win $1.6 Million 

One thing we know for sure is that the match won’t be short of action. High Stakes Duel’s sit & go format means the pace gradually builds as the blinds increase. Koon can be aggressive when necessary. He can also fold in tough spots. 

The video below is a great example of his ability to read situations and lay down big hands when other players would call. 

Of course, we all know that Hellmuth can dodge bullets. Something he told us all during the 2005 World Series of Poker. He’ll have to dodge plenty of bullets on December 7. Koon is coming to win $1.6 million, but he’ll have his work cut out against an in-form Hellmuth. 

The fifth round of High Stakes Duel 3 will be broadcast live on YouTube and PokerGo. The action starts at 8 p.m. ET (5 p.m. PT) on December 7. The first hour of play is free on YouTube. After that, subscribers can watch the match play to a conclusion on PokerGo.

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