Daniel Negreanu bets $400,000 that Phil Hellmuth is a losing player

Well-known poker icon Daniel Negreanu has regularly reveled in the industry’s spotlight whether it be for his skills in gameplay, daring opinion or exciting matches. Most recently, the Canadian pro is once again under the limelight as social media banter against soon-to-be opponent in another interesting round of heads-up challenge Phil Hellmuth caught everyone’s attention. The all-time record fifteen bracelet winner is now under pressure as Negreanu questions his overwhelming skills in tournament play with a gripping side bet. With the two’s official challenge set to start on the 16th, the whole poker community is definitely tuned in on what’s to come in the next few weeks.

RS58327 Daniel Negreanu 2019 WSOP 1
Daniel Negreanu – Photo

The bet

Following a previous back and forth between the two Poker Hall of Famers, an interesting tweet from Negreanu confirmed another bet on the table. Aside from the upcoming high stakes duel, Negreanu posted a bet of $400,000 to Hellmuth’s $200,000 that the latter would be at a loss after over 50 $25,000 buy-in tournaments. Interestingly as Negreanu had revealed, the proposed bet had already been accepted by Hellmuth.

With thousands of fans amassed over the course of the last two decades, the tweet had garnered a ton of reaction from the poker community. High profile players such as Ali Imsirovic, Joseph Cada and many more others have likewise tweeted in reply to the pending venture. The majority of the followers seem to agree that Negreanu has put his money in the right place with fellow pro Joe Sal even thanking the icon for bringing in a serious amount of dead money on these $25k events.

“The entire community should be giving you a freeroll on the 400k for getting 1.25 million in dead money into the economy … you love to see it . He absolutely should have a time frame he has to complete or he pays penalty. I can see him dragging on forever if/when he bricks 10.”, Sal tweeted in response.

Bosnian pro Imsirovic suggestively had the same views with eagerness to put in as much action as Hellmuth would allow.

The impressive tournament player Hellmuth however, wasn’t fazed one bit as he tweeted in reply saying, “Hi @aliImsirovic, I didn’t realize you had such a low opinion of my tournament Hold’em skills. Thank you for being honest, much better than having you snipe from the shadows. Let’s see what happens over the next 10 years in NoLimHold’em tourneys, and specifically, in $25K buy ins”.

While the wager may be in place, many remain doubtful that the conclusion would extend over a prolonged period of time or may not even see an end at all.

Director of Poker Operations at Aria, Sean McCormack noted that the agreed venue offers a few $25k tournaments a month on average while summer months and busier times can possibly yield more. Entrants generally run a field of 30-40 with some topping the 70 mark. Given that, it would take some time for the bet to see a probable winner with the eventual outcome mainly relying on Hellmuth’s dedication to finish the full 50 games.

The eternal question: Is Phil Hellmuth any good?

Despite many believing that Hellmuth is on the losing end of the deal, the real question dictates whether the honored pro is actually any good. This debate has come and gone for years with many criticizing his unorthodox plays. While many cannot deny Hellmuth the fame he has acquired, his outstanding run during his early years has left today’s greatest runners unimpressed with the Poker Brat’s gameplay.

It was merely two years ago when Hellmuth acquired his most recent 15th World Series of Poker bracelet where one would think a highly coveted win would gain the whole community’s respect for the long-time pro. Hellmuth’s latest win in a heads-up challenge against Antonio “The Magician” Esfandiari should have again solidified the American legend’s standing yet remains to leave many high stakes profiles doubtful if his skills would outlast today’s modern generation of pros.

While his most recent victories have indeed garnered the respect of some reputable pros such as Phil Galfond, many have yet to agree with his sentiments. After watching PokerGo’s high stakes duel featuring the American pro, the Run It Once founder shared some of his thoughts with the poker community on Twitter. In his post, he revealed how Hellmuth’s performance in the match was for him “the most impactful accomplishment of his illustrious career” and that he has “witnessed greatness” while acknowledging that “Hellmuth knows something I don’t.”

High roller Olivier Busquet unrelentlessly tweeted in response to Galfond’s praise calling it “easily 1 of the silliest things I’ve ever read from someone I respect.” Ranked best MTT player Fedor Holz also shared his contradictory opinion saying, “He punted every 300k I’ve seen him play in so I don’t share your view. I think he’s a clear losing player in tougher lineups and mostly plays a style that exploits vs. tighter weaker opponents and WSOP & oldschool player tendencies. I find it entertaining to play against him.”

“I don’t mean this in a mean way, that’s just my observation from playing against him and seeing him play. I think it’s important to be open to other approaches and solutions, I just don’t think his is particularly outstanding in the current game”, the younger successful pro added.

Either way, nobody can deny that Hellmuth has indeed won more WSOP bracelets than anyone else in the industry. In addition to his inspiring record of $24 million in tournament live cashes, his continuous profits from the game, be it from branding or sponsorships, is certainly of great value regardless of how many of today’s pros view his plays. With many keen on criticizing the 35th Poker Hall of Famer, his future achievements may only dictate an added respect from the community or an unending disappointment for the 56-year old pro’s game.

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Janette Dee

Graduated from De La Salle University, Janette works as a full time teacher in Manila, Philippines. She has long joined the local poker community as a recreational player for the last decade. Having a natural love for the game, she decided to branch out into a different avenue of poker. Currently, Janette works for Somuchpoker as a content writer reporting local and international news for the site.

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