Jason Koon Makes Easy Work of Phil Hellmuth in ‘High Stakes Duel’ Poker Match

Posted on: December 8, 2022, 07:09h. 

Last updated on: December 8, 2022, 02:36h.

Daniel Negreanu, Tom Dwan, and Antonio Esfandiari are just a few of the poker pros to have fallen to Phil Hellmuth on PokerGo’s “High Stakes Duel.” However, the Poker Brat was kicked off his perch Wednesday night by first-timer Jason Koon.

Jason Koon
Jason Koon shows his excitement after beating Phil Hellmuth in an episode of “High Stakes Duel.” Koon upset the reigning champ, who could now seek a rematch worth $3.2 million (Image: PokerGO)

Hellmuth has repeatedly used his Jedi mind tricks to outmaneuver his opponents in the heads-up poker battles. But not this time. Going into Wednesday night’s battle, he was 9-1, with the only loss coming against Tom Dwan in August of last year.

As the stakes have increased, so has the level of play. Playing for a pot of $1.6 million on Wednesday, Koon, a WSOP bracelet holder with more than $40M in live poker winnings, outran Hellmuth with little problems.

Cards Fall Wrong

Hellmuth had difficulty finding favorable cards on Wednesday. But that wasn’t his only problem. Koon, who claimed the seat against Hellmuth after Scott Seiver backed out in August, picked up on his opponent’s style quickly and never let go.

The defending champion came out aggressively and was able to clear a couple of smaller pots through bluffs before Koon adapted and took command. When Hellmuth tried to bully his way through a pot while holding a Q-6, his stack and ego were both deflated.

Koon was holding pocket rockets, and Hellmuth was suddenly down 2-1 in chips. As the Poker Brat tried to fight back, he found a few minor victories and could never get back on track.

An hour into the match, Hellmuth began a horrible run that would have had Wild Bill Hickok shooting up the saloon. Koon repeatedly started down at Ace-high hole cards, while Hellmuth couldn’t get anything.

The repeated blows took their toll and Hellmuth became more frustrated as he couldn’t find a pot. He tried to bluff his way through a couple, which also failed miserably.

The coup de grâce for Koon was when he forced his 16-time WSOP winner to fold with a better hand. Holding pocket deuces against Hellmuth’s 7-7, Koon got Hellmuth to back down, a sign that he was on the ropes.

In what was the shortest “High Stakes Duel” episode yet, Koon finished Hellmuth off after just three hours of play. The eventual winner had a 10-to-1 chip lead when Hellmuth thought he hit pay dirt. Sitting on A-K against Q-8, Hellmuth went all-in. However, Lady Luck returned once more for Koon, who scored a Q on the flop for the win.

Time for a Rematch

If Hellmuth wants, he can seek a rematch against Koon. But it will cost him. He would have to put in $1.6 million for a game worth twice that much. His loss last night cost him $1.6 million — $1.35 million of which he had accumulated through back-to-back wins.

If he doesn’t want to continue, Hellmuth walks away empty-handed. That, however, isn’t the Hellmuth who poker fans love to hate.

After Hellmuth lost to Dwan, the two returned to the felt this past January for a rematch. Hellmuth came out on top that time, and he hasn’t faltered since. He’s not likely to go down without a fight this time, either.

With over $26 million in lifetime poker earnings, Hellmuth might be willing to open his wallet to save his reputation. If not, there will be others willing to grab his spot at the table.