High Stakes Duel
Who'll take the High Stakes Duel Belt on PokerGO? Jason Koon and Phil Hellmuth both want to win, but only one man can.

The stage is set, the hype is almost over and the match is about to begin. Phil Hellmuth’s 9-1 High Stakes Duel record isn’t just unparalleled, it’s a ludicrous record of success against players of the calibre of Tom Dwan, Scott Seiver and Daniel Negreanu, who recently told us his favorite place to play poker.


With Hellmuth a marginal underdog for most punters, will Koon take the crown and deny the Poker Brat the opportunity to walk away with $1.6 million return on his initial $50,000 investment?


Taking the Crown


Phil Hellmuth’s run of 10 games in this No Limit Hold’em heads-up format is phenomenal, with a record of nine wins and just a single loss deserving of respect. Indeed, the Dwan defeat was the first of two matches between the pair, with Hellmuth winning the double-or-nothing rematch, meaning technically, Hellmuth remains undefeated.


Looking back at that defeat to Dwan, what went wrong that Koon can use? Hellmuth had a big lead early but was unable to make it count. Hellmuth’s early advantage, where he had 123,000 chips to Dwan’s 77,000 at blinds of 400/800, was the highest the Poker Brat rose, eventually dropping behind and only achieving parity thereafter. He was some way behind when he got unlucky in the final hand.



If Koon is to replicate Dwan’s victory and deny Hellmuth the ‘walk away’ title, the first time anyone in High Stakes Duel would have won and taken the prize pot, it would be a huge accomplishment for the self-confessed early member of the Pocket Fives poker community.



What Does Koon Say About the Match?


Jason Koon took to Twitter in looking forward to the bout, with the West Virginian paying plenty of respect to the 16-time WSOP bracelet winner.


“I know the fans really want the drama, and I’ll sure Phil will bring enough for everyone!’ he said. “I look forward to being the guy he berates. The fact he’s putting up $800,000 to play me heads-up shows he’s got battle in him. He’s been crushing since I was in diapers.”


You can watch the full video right here:



Koon certainly likes his chances and to be honest, who wouldn’t? He has a terrific record in heads-up poker battles. In ranking events alone, Koon has won 20 of the 37 heads-up matches he’s players, and on several occasions, that’s been for a seven-figure score.


Phil Hellmuth comes into battle as the lion at the feast and told us all about what he eats in his pursuit of victory as recently as just last week (no roast beef sandwiches were harmed in the making of this preview).


With both men coming into the bout on the back of very different summers – Hellmuth recovered from illness at the start of the WSOP and claimed a runner-up result while Koon crushed the high rollers in Europe – it’s unlikely that recent form will play much of a part in the action. Both men have had little time to prepare, either, so we’re sure to see each man in his element battling it out for $1.6 million.


Jason Koon
Jason Koon has won big at the Poker Masters before, but can he win his first-ever High Stakes Duel bout and defeat Phil Hellmuth?


Could Jungleman Be Next in Line?


The option of who will come next very much depends on who wins this battle. If Phil Hellmuth wins, it is thought by many that the Poker Brat will walk away having parlayed an initial stake of $50,000 into $750,000 worth of profit. That in itself is an incredible return on his investment, so it would be a logical decision to make.


Koon on the other hand, would need to win one more bout and this time for double the stakes, with $1.6 million of his hard-earned money on the line. Who his opponent would be if Hellmuth turned down his mandatory first refusal as the loser would be anyone’s guess, but one player determined to make it him is the notorious Daniel Cates, otherwise known as ‘Jungleman’.



Charlie Carrel echoed the thoughts of many when he replied: “This is what the fans want to see!” and who wouldn’t love a rumble with the Jungle in the next round?


To face off against Jungleman, either Koon or Hellmuth face the biggest High Stakes Duel yet first.


Can the 16-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner outgun the 2021 WSOP $25,000 High Roller champion? The wait is almost over and having been on hiatus for months, High Stakes Duel is back in the biggest way possible. It could be all or nothing for Phil Hellmuth. It’s now or never for Jason Koon, and it’s live only on PokerGO on Wednesday evening.