Daniel Negreanu Eyes Phil Hellmuth As Next Heads-Up Opponent
The poker world could be in for another exciting heads-up match, involving two of the biggest names in the game.
Daniel Negreanu recently lost to Doug Polk in their recently completed grudge match, but the result did not come as a surprise as the Upswing Poker founder had been the dominant player for most of the sessions, and a strong favorite to win the match since it began back in November.
For most of the experts out there, Negreanu’s loss was widely anticipated given his opponent’s significant edge, being one of the world’s best HU players with vast experience playing poker for real money online. But for Phil Hellmuth, Negreanu could’ve done better.
The “Poker Brat” recently shared his views on the match on ‘No Gamble No Future’, a new show on PokerGO. Hellmuth said he was “disappointed” at how Negreanu played, though he also praised the Canadian’s “brilliant” coaches.
Hellmuth who has been debated to be the G.O.A.T, who currently holds the record for the most number of World Series of Poker (WSOP) gold bracelets at 15, criticized Negreanu for adopting a GTO-inclined strategy, when Polk is already an expert at that. Hellmuth is known for his blunt persona, and would often wear his heart on his sleeve regardless of the circumstances.
Well, Negreanu has refused to take the criticism in stride. His response came in the form of a challenge – a heads-up match against Hellmuth.
Yo @phil_hellmuth you said you watched “zero” of the match but seem to have strong opinions on the play.
I’ll play you a heads up match live, online, at any stakes you feel comfortable with for as many hands as you would like.
Wanna play big guy? https://t.co/ac9KVpwuaO
— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) February 10, 2021
Negreanu vs. Hellmuth: Will It Actually Happen?
On the same show where he criticized Negreanu, Hellmuth expressed his willingness to become Polk’s next heads-up opponent, that’s despite Polk previously confirming he wouldn’t be accepting any more challengers. So, will Hellmuth shift his aim to Negreanu instead? Will he agree to the challenge?
Hellmuth claimed he won 29 of his last 30 heads-up battles, losing only to Cary Katz. His heads-up background is also quite impressive. He took down the NBC National Heads-Up Championships in 2005, and eight years later, he came back with a runner-up finish.
Hellmuth also outclassed Antonio Esfandiari on Poker Go’s High Stakes Duel, winning all three matches. He also faced Polk and Dan “Jungleman” Cates in a King of the Hill competition on Poker Night in America and he ended up becoming the dominant player.
However, all of these heads-up encounters involved small sample sizes. It would be interesting to see Hellmuth compete in a lengthy match against Negreanu (quite the same size as the recent grudge match). If that happens, and considering the pair’s poker status, the potential battle would become the biggest-ever in poker history, and would eclipse even the Polk vs. Negreanu grudge match.