Phil Hellmuth won the battles with Daniel Negreanu, and now he has won the war.
Hellmuth completed a three-match sweep of their “High Stakes Duel” on the subscription video service PokerGO on Wednesday, winning a $200,000 buy-in heads-up No-limit Hold’em showdown. Hellmuth won two previous matches, but Negreanu had the right to rematches at double the stakes.
There are no more second chances. Hellmuth can cash out with $350,000 in winnings ($50,000, then $100,000, then $200,000).
Negreanu has criticized Hellmuth’s poker ability, but he offered kudos after losing Wednesday.
“You played great, buddy,” Negreanu said on the broadcast. “You really did. You deserve it.”
There was no avoiding a clash in the final hand of the 5½-hour match. Holding six-five, Negreanu bet a gutshot straight draw on a flop of nine-seven-deuce, and Hellmuth, who held a narrow chip lead, called with his own gutshot (and flush draw) with ten-six.
An eight on the turn gave both players straights, but Hellmuth’s ten-high straight had Negreanu’s nine-high straight crushed. Negreanu went all-in and could only shake his head when Hellmuth called and showed him the bad news.
“What an eight for me. Wow,” Hellmuth said.
Negreanu could split the pot with a ten on the river, but the three of spades sealed his fate.
Hellmuth won as the betting underdog in all three matches (+129 on Wednesday on pokershares.com). He also won his sixth straight “High Stakes Duel” match after previously sweeping Antonio Esfandiari.
Negreanu held the lead for most of the first two hours of Wednesday’s match, but Hellmuth grabbed a big advantage (325,000 to 75,000) when he doubled through Negreanu with three of a kind against an overpair.
Negreanu survived for two hours with the shorter stack, then twice evened the match with unlikely double-ups.
First, both players got all-in before the flop with pocket kings, but four diamonds hit the board to give Negreanu a flush with the king of diamonds. After Negreanu was whittled down again, he went all-in before the flop with king-three and beat Hellmuth’s ace-queen.
They battled back-and-forth almost another hour before the final hand.
Hellmuth, 56, is the all-time leader with 15 World Series of Poker bracelets and has more than $24 million in career tournament earnings, according to the Hendon Mob Poker Database. Negreanu, 46, is a six-time WSOP bracelet winner with $42 million in tournament earnings. (The WSOP awards trophy bracelets for its tournament victories.)
Contact Jim Barnes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0277. Follow @JimBarnesLV on Twitter.