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WSOP Grudge Matches Begin: Hellmuth vs. Chan
It was shades of 1989 on Day 3 of the 2011 WSOP as Johnny Chan and Phil Hellmuth were embroiled in a heads-up battle in the center of the Amazon Room.
Chan vs. Hellmuth is the first match of three special events organized by the WSOP that will pit classic rivals against each other in hotly contested rematches.
Hellmuth of course defeated Chan heads-up at the 1989 Main Event, denying Chan his record-setting third consecutive title.
Considering the size of current of current Main Event fields, it's a feat that will likely never be accomplished.
Meanwhile Hellmuth rocketed to stardom after the event and became one of the most recognizable poker players in the world with numerous TV appearances and endorsement deals.
Later in the day Chris Moneymaker will once again take on Sammy Farha in a rematch of the heads-up match at the 2003 WSOP Main Event, which is widely credited with kick-starting the poker boom.
Moneymaker is far from the amateur he used to be, however, having played countless live tournaments around the world while Farha remains one of the elite-cash game players in poker.
Finally Chan will hit the tables once again for a highly anticipated rematch of the 1988 final heads-up match against Erik Seidel.
The eventual heads-up battle, where Chan traps Seidel in the final hand, was immortalized by the poker film Rounders and became one of the most notable heads-up matches in poker.
Beating Seidel again could be a tall order for Chan as Seidel is currently in the midst of one of the best runs in the history of poker with $5.4 million in live tournament earnings this year.
All three of the WSOP Grudge Matches are scheduled to take place today at the ESPN final table and are open to the public for viewing.
MATCH 1 UPDATE: After a back-and-forth match that saw Chan dominate early, Hellmuth battle back in the middle and Chan suckout late to gain control, Johnny Chan has won the first matchup!