PokerGo, Poker Central’s over-the-top subscription video service, is launching a new tournament series featuring big-money heads-up matches between rival players.
High Stakes Duel will premiere July 30 with the first match featuring Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Hellmuth. The games will appear live from the PokerGo Studio at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
“This series is different than anything we've created before in poker,” said Mori Eskandani, executive producer at Poker Central. “If you’re a fan of the game, you definitely don’t want to miss this. The stakes and rivalries will be on another level."
The first round of High Stakes Duel has a $50,000 buy-in with the winner advancing to round two of the battle. The loser in each round has an option to challenge the victor for a rematch prior to the next round. The stakes double in each round, resulting in a potential total prize pool of $12,800,000 in round eight. To win, a player must win three straight matches before round six or two in a row from round five onward. If there are no challengers within 30 days of the previous match, the most recent winner also walks away victorious.
The players in the first match, Esfandiari and Hellmuth have been poker rivals for a decade. Hellmuth, known as the “Poker Brat” has won a record 15 World Series of Poker bracelets and has $23.4 million in career tournament earnings.
“Antonio and I have a long history of playing poker together,” said Hellmuth. “From the time he came to my house as a young man and insisted we play heads up (he won), to the time we played televised cash games together (he won), to the NBC Heads Up Championship in 2005 - I won it all. Looking forward to this battle!”
Esfandiari won the initial million-dollar poker tournament in 2012 and has two World Power Tour titles and three World Series of Poker bracelets.
“For 10 years I’ve been challenging Phil to a heads-up match where the winner shoots the loser with a taser gun--so going head-to-head in High Stakes Duel has been a long time coming,” said Esfandiari. “The idea that the winner has to go double-or-nothing at least two more times after the first match is brilliant; it will be interesting to see who will go for the challenge and who will turn it down when it gets to a certain point.”
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