High stakes poker pro Jason Koon crushed Phil Hellmuth in one of the quickest iterations of the tournament, the High Stakes Duel, which was broadcast online. Koon won a whopping $1.6 million by being just the second player to ever beat the sixteen-time World Series of Poker Bracelet champion. To what extent will this iteration of High Stakes Duel be updated remains to be seen.
Extremely High Stakes Compared to Previous Races
Hellmuth and Koon’s fight was the most high-stakes High Stakes Duel in history. On the greatest level of competition ever seen at the time, Hellmuth defeated fellow pro Scott Seiver back in August. Seiver did not rematch the Poker Hall of Famer after Hellmuth won and took home $800,000 (they had each put in $400,000). Enter Koon, who on Wednesday night in the PokerGO Studios was prepared to put $800,000 on the line to take on Hellmuth.
The heads-up battle, which was shown on a livestream from Las Vegas, was one of the shortest in High Stakes Duel’s history. However, things didn’t start out that way; in fact, Koon and Hellmuth were prepared to exchange chips with each other throughout the first 45 minutes of the game. Hellmuth lost some of his stack when he became horny with Koon at a bad time.
Hellmuth raised with with a Q-6 while the blinds were at $1500/$3000. When Koon in the big blind saw two black aces gazing back at him, he thought for a while and then decided, “Hollywood style,” to reraise to 15 thousand. When Hellmuth three-bet to 32K and busted Koon, he may have overplayed his hand.
Koon needed to drop his hook soon. He thought long and hard before deciding on 120k (each player had 800k to start), shifting the burden back on Hellmuth. In this hand, “The Poker Brat” made a bad decision by deciding to five-bet the pot to 260K, and when Koon called with an all-in, he folded and sent almost a quarter of his stack over the table to Koon.
As a result of the mistake, Hellmuth was doomed to failure forever. Koon eliminated a few more bluffs from Hellmuth’s stack. Hellmuth, in the middle of the second level of play with about 100,000 in chips, decided to make a bet. Hellmuth bet the remainder of his chips on a pair of aces against eights held by Koon. Koon had knocked off the current High Stakes Duel champion, Phil “Ironman” Hellmuth, with a board reading Q-10-4-10-3.
Koon acknowledged that he got lucky and won the match. Following the match, Koon told PokerGO, “I got excellent hands.” To paraphrase, “even the cards I bluffed with, virtually all of them sort of presented themselves in a natural manner, so it was just one of those days when practically anyone in my seat is going to win.”
But has High Stakes Duel finally run its course?
Hellmuth Is Entitled to a Rematch.
Even if Koon is the current High Stakes Duel champion, Hellmuth may still request a rematch with Koon by submitting a challenge. The stakes for Hellmuth’s rematch with Koon would be a staggering $3.2 million. Since Koon recently defeated Hellmuth for $1.6 million, both players would be willing to put that much money on the felt to see another showdown between the two.
Hellmuth may also voluntarily withdraw from the match, allowing another player to continue against Koon from where Hellmuth left off. Given how much is at risk, though, that is quite improbable. Hellmuth is more likely to return to the fray than a late-arriving rookie, especially given the high stakes involved. However, the former World Champion has nothing to be embarrassed of. He is 9-2 in the High Stakes Duel tournaments overall. Prior to Koon’s intervention, Hellmuth had won eleven consecutive matches, eliminating Antonio Esfandiari, Daniel Negreanu, Nick Wright, Tom Dwan (who won one of the two bouts), and Scott Seiver.
It’s possible that High Stakes Duel’s “price of poker” might increase over time. According to PokerGO’s regulations, the maximum number of rounds is eight, and each round is worth an unbelievable $12.8 million (with players contributing $6.4 million apiece). It’s unlikely that a series will ever reach that level, but Koon and Hellmuth must be thinking about it as High Stakes Duel progresses (maybe in the New Year).
Featured image courtesy of PokerGO.com.