Phil Hellmuth Wins $800k High Stakes Duel Against Scott Seiver

Phil Hellmuth Wins $800k High Stakes Duel Against Scott Seiver

Last night the fourth round of the High Stakes Duel was played inside the PokerGO studios. After Phil Hellmuth had defeated Tom Dwan in the third round, the latter was supposed to compete in the re-match last week. However, Dwan cancelled at short notice - he had spontaneous scheduling problems. In no time at all, however, a new opponent was found: Scott Seiver took over for Dwan and put up the buy-in of 400,000 dollars. The duel was played on the night of May 18 and, as in the previous round, it was Phil Hellmuth who claimed victory in the end.

Early Lead for Seiver

Scott Seiver
Scott Seiver

Hellmuth and Seiver started with 400,000 chips each and with blinds of initially 600 / 1,200 there was plenty of room for sophisticated post-flop play. In the first hour both played it closely to the vest, but then Scott Seiver managed to build a sizable lead - by hitting a set against two-pair and later a successful bluff with 9-high against trips from Hellmuth. At one point, Seiver had about 70% of the chips in play.

Hellmuth Mounts Comeback With a Spirited Bluff

But Hellmuth made a brilliant comeback after a he fired a risky river check-raise bluff with a hopeless holding against Seiver's top pair. If the bluff had failed, Hellmuth would have lost almost all of his chips, but Seiver folded the best hand and Hellmuth was back in business. This hand gave Hellmuth vital momentum. He took the lead and never relinquished it.

The final all-in occurred after a total of over 5 hours of play when the blinds were so high that decisions were almost forced. In the final hand, Hellmuth hit two-pair on the flop against Seiver's top pair in a limped pot:

High Stakes Duel Hellmuth - Seiver: Final Hand

Blinds: 8k / 16k

Scott Seiver: 242k (10 6 )

Phil Hellmuth: 556k (3 2 )

Preflop: Seiver calls, Hellmuth checks.

Flop (32k) - 10 3 2

Hellmuth checks, Seiver bets 16k, Hellmuth raises to 60k, Seiver raises all-in (226k), Hellmuth calls.

Turn (484k) - Q

River (484k) - 5

After the final showdown, both opponents shook hands and Hellmuth remarked, "Great Match Scott, I had more fun playing with you than anybody else. You handle yourself so well and obviously you could have won this one easily. It could have gone either way."

The High Stakes Duel Continues

With wins over Antonio Esfandiari and Daniel Negreanu and victories over Fox Sports 1's Nick Wright, Tom Dwan and now Scott Seiver, Hellmuth has a record of 9-1 in High Stakes Duels. His only loss came at the hands of Tom Dwan.

Hellmuth has now moved on to the 5th round of the High Stakes Duel, where he and his opponent will play for $1.6 million. There has been no confirmation of a rematch from Seiver yet. Speaking to PokerGO before the match, Seiver said, "I'm not really thinking about losing, but I expect a rematch if it comes to that."

It's inevitable, however, that the High Stakes Duel will take a bit of a break. The WSOP is just around the corner and Hellmuth will be looking to add to his collection of 16 WSOP bracelets. Seiver will also be active at the WSOP - he has won three bracelets so far in his career. Regardless of whether it's Seiver or a new challenger, Round Five of the High Stakes Duel will most likely take place after the WSOP. The winner will then receive $1.6 million in prize money. Should Hellmuth emerge victorious, he will have the opportunity to cash out and would win his third consecutive High Stakes Duel title. However, should the challenger win, a historic sixth round would be on the line, with a heads-up match played for $3.2 million.

All Highstakes Duels

There have been three highstakes duels so far. The first two were won by Hellmuth after three matches. The current third Highstakes duel is the first to go into a fourth round.

MatchResultPrize Money
Duel I - Match 1Phil Hellmuth wins against Antonio Esfandiari$100,000
Duel I - Match 2Phil Hellmuth wins against Antonio Esfandiari$200,000
Duel I - Match 3Phil Hellmuth wins against Antonio Esfandiari$400,000
-Hellmuth wins Season I after three victories in a row.-
Duel II - Match 1Phil Hellmuth wins against Daniel Negreanu$100,000
Duel II - Match 2Phil Hellmuth wins against Daniel Negreanu$200,000
Duel II - Match 3Phil Hellmuth wins against Daniel Negreanu$400,000
-Hellmuth wins Season II after three victories in a row. -
Duel III - Match 1Phil Hellmuth wins against Nick Wright (Wright waives the re-match)$100,000
Duel III - Match 2Tom Dwan wins against Phil Hellmuth$200,000
Duel III - Match 3 Phil Hellmuth wins against Tom Dwan (Dwan waives the re-match)$400,000
Duel III - Match 4Phil Hellmuth wins against Scott Seiver$800,000
Duel III - Match 5Coming up post WSOP: Phil Hellmuth vs. ??? (probably Scott Seiver)$1,600,000

How the High Stakes Duel Works

Tom Dwan and Phil Hellmuth in High Stakes Duel
High Stakes Duel III Round 2

The rules of High Stakes Duel sound a bit complicated at a first glance. After all, the match between Dwan and Seiver was already the fourth in the current season.

Exactly one heads-up no-limit hold'em match is played in each round of a season. Both players start with 400,000 chips each at 600 / 1,200 blinds. The blinds are increased only slowly and the match usually lasts several hours.

The stakes start at $50,000 in the first round for each player in each season. After the first round, the loser has the option of a rematch. If he waived the re-match, another challenger can take his place within a month and continue the duel. In each subsequent round, the stakes are doubled.

The winner of the round cannot drop out before the end of the season. He must - if an opponent is found - play the next round. A season is over when a player wins three games in a row. If the season goes to the 5th round, two wins in a row are enough to end the season. This is the case in this 3rd season.

In the current season of High Stakes Duel, Phil Hellmuth defeated sports commentator Nick Wright in the first round at stakes of $50,000. Wright declined a rematch, whereupon Tom Dwan stepped in. Although the match that now followed was Dwan's first, it was still the second round. The season continued where Wright left off. Dwan won this second round with $100,000 stakes and Hellmuth won the third round with $200,000 stakes each. Before the fourth round, Dwan spontaneously cancelled and Scott Seiver took over for him. Seiver also lost his match against Hellmuth.

At a suitable date after the WSOP, the fifth round of the season will now be played. To win the season, Hellmuth must win one more round. Under High Stakes Duel rules, the stakes double with each round, and a prize pool of $12,800,000 would be played out in the eighth round. Should it come down to an eighth round, the winner of that match would be deemed the overall winner of the season.

All Highstakes Duels can be watched on For a payment of $99.99, you can watch all broadcast events live for 12 months. Alternatively, you can watch all events for one month for $14.99. New PokerGO subscribers receive $20 off an annual subscription to when they use the code "HSD3R4" when signing up.

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