People News: Heads-up is the new deal! Latest buzz on challenges feature Polk, Hellmuth, Galfond, and Burakov 

In this column, we deliver you the most interesting news detailing the latest heads up challenges among the industry’s best in today’s scene.

Twitter feud between Doug Polk and Bryn Kenney ushered talks of a $1,000,000 HU challenge

The #1 all-time winner Bryn Kenney sparked a Twitter spat beginning last Father’s day’s festivities when he called out today’s poker content “complete trash, by people who can’t even beat the games”. Unrelentlessly, HU champ Doug Polk made a snappy tweet himself saying, You guys all suck and I’ll take your money cause I’m the best ever btw happy fathers day to all the dads you guys rock”. This resulted in back and forth insults between the two poker greats and sparked offers of a million dollar heads up challenge.

While Kenney, who has over $56 million in tournament winnings under his name, wasn’t up for the challenge himself, Polk remained confident and reminded Kenney of his offer to challenge Hellmuth in a duel two months ago. 

Poker fans appeared to be enjoying the feud as well, following Polk’s amusing antics of his new profile picture now featuring a sheep and his bio to “just a sheep bro”. Nevertheless, the pair put an end to the negativity after a few days with Kenney issuing an apology for the harsh post.

Stefan ‘Stefan11222’ Burakov bags $1,776,837 win against Wiktor ‘Limitless’ Malinowski

Heads up challenges is by far the most popular form of competition in the high stakes community nowadays with top-name pros engaging in these games one after the other. This week, it’s Russian pro Stefan ‘Stefan11222’ Burakov taking the scene after he defeated high stakes regular Wiktor ‘Limitless’ Malinowski in a 50,000-hand duel that lasted for five months.

Having concluded the challenge last July 24th, Burakov disclosed his results for the challenge, recording a profit of $592,279 and a win rate of 11.84BB/100. His winnings from the side bet puts up his total profit to a whopping $1,776,837 for the recent victory.

In an interview with Russian website Gypsy Team following the win, Burakov commented, “It was the most incredible experience of my life. It was like if I had been on a psychedelic trip for months. A heads-up match with a predefined number of hands is a very brutal form of poker competition. There’s nowhere to hide if you feel insecure.” 

The champion further hinted on his future endeavors, saying “..another challenge is the last thing I want right now” while at the same time, leaving the next coming months open for changes.

Fox Sports TV personality Nick Wright set to battle Phil Hellmuth in High Stakes Duel III

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After two consecutive wins against Antonio Esfandiari and Daniel Negreanu, 15-time bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth will once again engage in a High Stakes Duel, only this time battling a recreational contender rather than its previous legendary competitors. The announcement came just yesterday, with PokerGO revealing Fox Sports host Nick Wright to be the third opponent for the Poker Brat’s unmatched success.

While poker enthusiasts were quick to fire negative comments, especially when iconic Tom Dwan is waiting in line to battle the industry’s top bracelet winner, the decision to put willing participant Wright may just bring in more appeal to amateur and new players of the game. With over 400k in followers on social media, Wright’s appearance for the first round on July 28th at the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas is definitely set to bring in a different set of audience.

Phil Galfond takes on Brandon Adams in a live match this July

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The Galfond Challenge has been a successful move for the Run It Once Poker founder Phil Galfond, having won all of his three completed matches against Venividi, Actionfreak and Chance Kornuth. Next on the list is high stakes player Brandon Adams who agreed to battle Galfond back in 2019. With the global health crisis postponing much of the live events last year, the duo has now agreed to play their live duel in Las Vegas this coming July.

The pair will play through 40 hours of $100/$200 PLO with a side bet of Galfond’s $150K to Adams’ $100K. However, if Galfond ends up defeated in the live challenge, a rematch online will follow suit with essentially, more hands played.


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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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