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Phil Hellmuth wins ‘High Stakes Duel’ in poker for $400K

Phil Hellmuth grabbed bragging rights over Antonio Esfandiari on Wednesday, vanquishing his rival with a third straight victory in their “High Stakes Duel” heads-up match.

Hellmuth, the all-time World Series of Poker bracelet leader, cashed out for $400,000 and will await his next challenger. The match was held at the PokerGO studio next to the Aria and broadcast on the PokerGO subscription service.

“High Stakes Duel” is held in rounds with escalating stakes. Hellmuth and Esfandiari started by putting up $50,000 each. After Esfandiari lost, he had the right to challenge Hellmuth again, this time for $100,000. After Hellmuth’s second win, Esfandiari challenged him again for $200,000.

In the end, Hellmuth collected a profit of $350,000. He will start the next “High Stakes Duel” against a challenger to be determined with the starting $50,000 buy-in.

In Wednesday’s match, Hellmuth won a large pot when his flush beat Esfandiari’s smaller flush. In the final hand, Hellmuth’s ace-ten beat Esfandiari’s ace-three all-in before the flop.

The two have a long history of confrontations at the table, but they are now friendly away from it.

Hellmuth, 56, has 15 WSOP bracelets and more than $23 million in live tournament earnings, according to the Hendon Mob Poker Database. Esfandiari, 41, is a three-time WSOP bracelet winner with more than $27 million in tournament earnings, including more than $18 million for winning the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop in 2012.

Contact Jim Barnes at jbarnes@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0277. Follow @JimBarnesLV on Twitter.

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