high stakes duel round 2

Phil Hellmuth and Antonio Esfandiari Face Off Again

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After Phil’s win of Round 1 that all came down to a flip of a coin the Pros are back at it again, facing off for $200,000… with a prize pool that doubles after each game played.


Flopped Straight against Two Pair Cooler

The momentum was swiftly off to Phil’s side early in the match, with this ultra cooler flop landing, Phil flopping the nuts against Antonio’s top two pair.

If this was a shallow stack to pot ratio spot then all the money would have got in, however, the players were early in the match, so Antonio simply check-called Phil down.

With a four straight coming on the end with the board pairing Turn card hitting, Antonio probably chose the worst option here to be honest, I probably like a fold, followed by a close second-best of turning our hand into a bluff and moving all-in repping all the combinations of full houses that might also slow play like this.
flopped two pair against straight

Tough Fold

Antonio got there in this pot, Turning and Rivering three eights, with a slight overbet on the River Phil made a pretty swift and great laydown. He only really loses this pot to Antonio’s exact hand, so the fold was pretty amazing. He said after the hand that he would have snap-called a smaller bet, but he picked up strength from his sizing.

Not sure why he would tell his opponent this, he has a great read on the situation but is sharing valuable information with the guy who is trying to beat him.
phil makes the tough fold

Overbet with straight

Phil makes another great laydown to Antonio’s larger overbet in this spot too, here it was probably an easier fold as the bet wasn’t laying Phil good odds, with Antonio betting around 2.4x the pot here with his flopped straight.

Phil Fires 2 Barrels

Probably looking to bet Antonio off hands like small pocket pairs with his Ace high, Phil chose to fire a second barrel on the Turn here against the Turned two pair of his opponent, however, if the Turn was anything else it would have been tough for Antonio to make this call.

Phil shut down on the River and saved doubling Antonio up with his two pair, which would have been a snap call. The decent thing about betting twice here is that Phil can even beat some hands like Heart flush draws that might call this bet.
2nd barrell from phil

Antonio Floats and Jams River

This was defeinately the sickest pot of the whole match, Phil 3-Bet the Turn card here with just Ace high and Antonio continued with a call! With just Eight high and a gutshot.

Which seems a little crazy, however immediately after making the call, Phil seemed to have given up on the hand, however… lightning strikes and Phil hit an Ace on the River!

This was a bizarre pot that was probably a lot based on feel from both players knowing that the other didn’t have a Jack in their hand and that’s all that mattered to either of them. Antonio followed through with his plan on the River and Phil called fairly quickly getting good pot odds at that point.

Antonio quickly said you needed to hit that Ace to win that pot, I win on every other River, which is probably very close to the truth alot of the time, Phil replied with “You Think So?”

Raising on a big draw

The beauty of taking the initiive when you have a draw is highlighted nicely in this pot, with Antonio Turning a bunch of equity with his straight and flush draw. Phil had second pair and a draw with his second card being a five as we later found out.

So Phil had the Dolly Parton, 9-5 hand, but didn’t want to clock in for a shift once the Turn action went down. There’s so many draws here on the Turn that would raise I wouldn’t mind seeing a call here, or just checking back this Turn in the first place to try and realise our equity in Phil’s spot.

Spiking a Jack

Phil called a 3-Bet and hit this board with his suited Jack here, Antonio had a troublesome hand with second pair to the board, but still beating hands like 66-88 that might play this way, or maybe a stubborn A2s-A5s.

Antonio after C-Betting made this call and didn’t like seeing he was a huge underdog in this massive pot. The board ran out blank and Phil regained the chip lead.

The Biggest pot of the Match

This match was all over the moment Antonio Turned two pair against Phil’s better flopped two pair… Antonio 4-Bet Jammed the Turn covering Phil slightly and saw the bad news, he would need a two to hit on the River to win this pot and the match, but he missed.

Two pair in any heads up match is a huge hand, when stacks are shallower the money just goes in, both players want to protect their hands and get value. However, Antonio could have avoided this whole set up by limiting playing the 72o out of position pre-flop.

The problem is when we start with weak ranges, even when we make good hands they can be vunerable, this two pair was dominated, just the same way that if we have a low suited connector and make a flush, we can quite often be up against a bigger flush when we put a lot of action in.

Domination to end it

Phil put on a pretty dominating specicle of a match heree and it makes me wonder if Antonio is just throwing down a little act for when they double the stakes for the next match, dumping the first two matches in this format where the stakes constantly rise could be good for him.

He might go in as an underdog for some side bets for the biggest match of the three… however, that’s just a little conspiracy. That being said Phil owned Antonio pretty hard in this game and deserved the win, making some classic tight hellmuth folds at all the right times and making some good bluffs too.

Maybe after all the talk of him being the best, he just is the GOAT after all.