Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth to do battle in latest heads-up challenge

Online Poker

It could be the heads-up challenge to end them all, or at the very least kick-start a new era of them.

Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth involved in a head-to-head on PokerGO for fans to lap up? Count us among those renewing their season pass just to watch the pre-match interviews.

Negreanu, of course, has just lost a heads-up match to Doug Polk and to the tune of $1.2 million. It was his performance that came into question from Hellmuth, who took to camera on the PokerGO show No Gamble, No Future to lay out what he thought of his friend’s show.

Hellmuth didn’t hold back, saying that he was “disappointed in the way that Daniel played,” as a result of having spoken to DNegs’ coaches for an hour or so before discovering that their philosophy “Aligned” with his.

The Poker Brat even bet on Negreanu to win the challenge pre-match, but claimed that this could have happened if the Canadian had approached the task from a different perspective.

“I was betting on Daniel’s talent,” Hellmuth said. “I think if Daniel is going to try to play Doug playing pure GTO or next-level GTO, then I think that Doug has a lot of fire, so Daniel is going to fight fire with fire. And I think Daniel should’ve fought fire with Daniel.”

Well, fire never put out fire, but Negreanu self-immolating is a new one. Who’ll be at their best when the match-up takes place? Negreanu will hope to run hot and has plenty of confidence in his heads-up ability.

As he said in his tweet, Negreanu was happy to throw down the gauntlet.

“Yo Phil – 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?”

It may be a novel twist for Negreanu to call out his old friend without even the merest hint of sausage-related banter, given recent headlines, but the match looks likely to take place on PokerGO.

Negreanu went on to express doubt that Hellmuth would go through with it in an interview with the Las Vegas Review Journal.

“I think he’s chicken, to be honest with you,” said Negreanu to the paper. “I think he’s scared. I think he knows he’s going to look bad.”

Whether that’s the case, we’ll wait to see. CardPlayer Online reported that online sportsbook BetOnline have Negreanu as a -250 favourite. Hellmuth, however, will be no mug, as he proved in the three high stakes duels he enjoyed victory in against Antonio ‘The Magician’ Esfandiari on PokerGO last year.

Mike McDonald, ever one to court online controversy, asked “Will you be spotting him any BB/100? Asking for a friend,” to which Negreanu replied with an in-joke from the recent Terrence Chan/Mike McDonald clash online.

With poker players sure to wager on this game, they already have one to go for already on McDonald’s Poker Shares site. Fans have been betting on Bill Perkins to beat Landon Tice with the line drawn at $720,000 (in favour of Tice), with Bill Perkins trading at 2.40 to lose less than $720,000 or win and Landon Tice currently priced at 1.61 to win more than $720,000 over the course of the challenge.

Betting on poker? It’s the next best thing to being in the seat yourself.

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