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Tom Dwan aims to dethrone Phil Hellmuth on ‘High Stakes Duel’

In 2008, Phil Hellmuth said he wasn’t sure Tom Dwan would make it five years in the poker world.

Thirteen years later, Hellmuth is putting his winning streak on the line against Dwan in the latest “High Stakes Duel” on the subscription video service PokerGO. The $100,000 buy-in heads-up No-limit Hold’em match will be broadcast at 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Hellmuth and Dwan are friends now, but they clashed memorably in the 2008 NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship, when Dwan put a bad beat on Hellmuth’s pocket aces with pocket tens.

Hellmuth called Dwan a “sucker” at the table and said he made a “terrible play.”

Dwan, then fresh on the scene and part of the new group of online players challenging the old guard of live pros, told Hellmuth that going all-in with pocket tens was the correct, “standard” play.

“Learn to play heads-up no-limit,” Dwan said.

“We’ll see if you’re even around in five years,” Hellmuth responded.

Dwan and Hellmuth were unavailable for interviews before the match.

Hellmuth is 7-0 on “High Stakes Duel,” sweeping three matches each against Antonio Esfandiari and Daniel Negreanu, then defeating FS1 host Nick Wright, who declined a rematch.

Hellmuth, 57, is the all-time leader with 15 World Series of Poker tournament victories, and he has almost $25 million in career tournament earnings, according to the Hendon Mob Poker Database.

Dwan, 35, has nearly $5 million in career tournament earnings, but he is known more for his appearances on “High Stakes Poker,” in which he played several pots approaching $1 million. In recent years, he has been a fixture in high-stakes games in Macao.

Dwan is the -128 favorite to win the match on Pokershares.com (Hellmuth +110), but Hellmuth won as the underdog in all three matches against Negreanu.

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

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