There have been few more eagerly anticipated head-to-head matchups in Poker than Hellmuth versus Negreanu. Tensions had been building for weeks on Twitter as the two had been trading barbs in advance of the event. In a Tweet, Negreanu said he had thoroughly researched his opponent’s tournament history and was unimpressed. An astonishingly prescient remark that would come back to haunt him.
Hellmuth had just won many High Stake Duels against Antonio Esfandiari, and it’s possible that this went unnoticed in Negreanu’s study. Hellmuth won $350,000 in that match, proving that he could hold his own against any opponent.
The competition began at PokerGO Studios with a starting chip count of 50,000 for each player. Sit-and-go format, with blinds of 50/100. As the cards began to fly, an early turn left Hellmuth close to financial ruin. He ended up with 5,000 chips instead of the usual 95,000, suggesting the game would end quickly.
But Hellmuth prevailed in the end, shocking everyone with one of the greatest comebacks in poker history. It wasn’t easy, and the whole thing lasted for six hours, but in the end it had to. As a result, he earned $50,000, which is not bad at all for a single day’s labor.
But that’s not the final chapter.
As they shook hands, Negreanu was clearly heard announcing that there will be a second round. The poker legend will likely seek vengeance, but his pride will take considerable time to heal from this defeat. Given that he needs to pay a whopping $100,000 just to participate in the rematch, this is especially true.
On Twitter, meantime, poker players from all across the world shared their shock. Feldman cited the 19:1 deficit before the reversal as evidence that this was Hellmuth’s most spectacular performance.
In a similar vein, Danielle Moon remarked how much fun the whole thing had been and how much she was looking forward to the next one.
Even Negreanu tweeted his opponent’s congratulations. However, underneath those courageous comments, there was probably a sea of tears.