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Poker news | Mar 30, 2021

Daniel Negreanu to Face Phil Hellmuth in Next Poker Grudge Match?

By RTR Dennis

665x200 mar21 daniel negreanu phil helmuth

Daniel Negreanu has never shied against admitting when he has a problem with a fellow poker pro. He’s had some verbal wars with Doug Polk over the years, which recently resulted in a poker grudge match between the two.

This match didn’t go as well as Negreanu would’ve dreamed. He ended up dropping $1.2 million to the briefly unretired Polk. However, Negreanu is a lifetime tournament specialist, while Polk rose to fame as one of the best live and online cash players.

With the heads-up grudge match between Polk and Negreanu in the bag, the latter may already have a new target lined up in Phil Hellmuth. You can keep reading to find out why the two might be facing off along with who has the likely edge.

Hellmuth Rips Negreanu’s Efforts

15-time WSOP champion Phil Hellmuth was one of the onlookers when Negreanu and Polk faced off. He wasn’t too impressed with Kid Poker’s game either—despite the fact that Negreanu was already a 4-1 underdog before the match started.

Speaking with PokerGO News, Hellmuth put the blame squarely on Negreanu while, at the same time, praising his coaches. “Yeah, I was disappointed in the way that Daniel played,” said Hellmuth. “But I know his coaches, his coaches are brilliant.”

The Poker Brat was especially critical of Negreanu for employing a game theory optimal (GTO) strategy against Polk, who’s well-versed himself in GTO.

Negreanu Responds with a Challenge

Kid Poker has faced off against Hellmuth many times in his career. He apparently isn’t too scared of Hellmuth after hearing the latter’s comments.

“Yo @phil_hellmuth you said you watched ‘zero’ of the match but seem to have strong opinions on the play,” Negreanu tweeted. “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?”

Hellmuth had originally reached out to Polk about playing. Polk, who’s mostly retired from the game, doesn’t seem interested in any more grudge matches. Now, however, it seems that Hellmuth indeed has a willing challenger in Negreanu.

Who Would Win: Negreanu or Hellmuth?

Both Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu are very accomplished tournament players who’ve made their livings by taking down huge tourneys and earning sponsorship money. Negreanu currently has a lucrative deal with GGPoker.

These longtime pros are also experienced in cash games. Neither is quite the cash stud that Polk is/was, but they’re at least adept against other top pros.

It’s almost a tossup when picking a favorite in this proposed grudge match. I would have to go with Negreanu at the moment, though, considering that he just survived 25,000 hands against Polk.

They multi-tabled two tables at $200/$400 NLHE stakes over the 25k hands. Polk clearly won the match, but Negreanu held his own and sometimes booked winning sessions against his superior opponent.

Perhaps if Hellmuth was recently coming off a match against Polk, I would give him the edge. This isn’t the case, though, and Negreanu has more heads-up poker experience in recent times.

Will This Grudge Match Happen?

Negreanu seems willing to jump into a second heads-up matchup, given his recent challenge to Hellmuth. The latter, on the other hand, has yet to acknowledge the challenge.

Perhaps the Poker Brad was just looking for attention in calling for a match with Polk. If Polk isn’t going to play him, though, then Hellmuth should consider facing off against Negreanu.

This matchup would be great entertainment for the poker community and perhaps even more high-profile than the one between Negreanu and Polk.