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Poker Legend Phil Hellmuth Extends Heads-Up Win Streak With Victory Over Sports Commentator Nick Wright

The 15-Time WSOP Bracelet Winner Has Won Seven Consecutive Matches And $750,000 With Latest Win In High Stakes Duel III


Poker legend Phil Hellmuth extended his heads-up winning streak Wednesday night as the 15-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner defeated a sports talk show host in the first round of High Stakes Duel III.

Over the course of what turned out to be a grueling six-hour battle, Hellmuth emerged victorious against Nick Wright. The 36-year-old Kansas City native is the co-host of “First Things First” on Fox Sports 1. Before transitioning to a successful television career, the Syracuse University graduate hosted several different sports talk shows on local radio stations throughout the U.S.

As is the case with every first match of PokerGO’s High Stakes Duel, the buy-in was $50,000. Hellmuth’s victory lengthened his winning streak on the show to seven and added another $50,000 to his total profit. Per the rules of the show, the loser of the match is guaranteed a rematch against the winner for double the stakes if that person chooses it.

Wright, the first amateur poker player to compete, seemed unsure about whether he was going to take another shot at the all-time leader in WSOP bracelets, this time with a $100,000 buy-in.

“I have 72 hours to decide?” asked Wright after the match. “I’m going to need 71 of them.”

After a three-match sweep of Antonio Esfandiari and Daniel Negreanu in High Stakes Duel I and II, and his win at the PokerGO Studio at Aria Wednesday, the Wisconsin native profited $750,000 over the duration of the streak.

Nick Wright in High Stakes Duel IIIWright was chosen as Hellmuth’s third opponent in the weeks following his victory over Negreanu. But given his hesitancy to commit to a rematch, a much higher profile opponent could be in the weeds for Hellmuth in the next round. Hellmuth is forced to play at least three matches before he can cash out his winnings and start from the $50,000 buy-in level again.

“I went from Antonio [Esfandiari] and Daniel [Negreanu] and people were expecting because we’ve been talking about the next opponent being Tom Dwan, ‘Durrrr,’ or Phil Ivey,” said Hellmuth in the pre-match Hype Show. “So, a lot of people were expecting that match, including me.”

“If those people are right, and you make quick work of me, and you win,” responded Wright. “Then they are still going to get the match they wanted, except it’s going to start at higher stakes.”

In the early stages of the match, it looked as if Wright’s critics might have to swallow a bitter pill as the professional sports commentator jumped out to an early lead. He held that roughly 2:1 chip advantage lead for the first half of the match as every card fell Wright’s way and the overwhelming majority of his bluffs got through.

After checking a queen-high flop with top set, Wright turned quads. Hellmuth bet the turn and put in a three-bet with nothing after Wright raised. Hellmuth bluffed the river as well before folding to Wright’s inevitable river raise. The hand summed up the first three hours of the match.

But the tides turned for Hellmuth at about the halfway mark when he three-outed Wright on the river. Hellmuth’s 8-7 got called by Wright’s A-7 on a 9-9-9-3-8 board to give Hellmuth the slightest of chip leads, which he would not relinquish for the remainder of the night.

Hellmuth won the majority of pots moving forward and quietly opened up a 2:1 chip advantage of his own.

Over the next few hours, Hellmuth held and expanded his lead, although Wright scored a couple of small double ups along the way.

Eventually, Wright ran his 7Club Suit6Club Suit into Hellmuth’s 8Club Suit5Club Suit on a board of AClub SuitKClub Suit5Spade Suit10Club Suit8Diamond Suit. With blinds of 800-1,600, Hellmuth limped in preflop and Wright checked his option.

Wright check-called 2,000 from Hellmuth on the flop before both players made their flush on the turn. Wright check-called 3,000 on the turn before check-raising all in on the river. Hellmuth called and secured the win.

Images Courtesy of PokerGO