Jason Koon has been officially crowned champion of High Stakes Duel 3. The 37-year-old poker pro unseated 16-bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth, who had an incredible 9-1 winning record as the pair faced off for the exclusive heads-up poker series in Poker GO. Koon defeated Hellmuth in a $1,600,000 match but still wasn’t able to follow through on his winnings. The rules of the show required him to be declared the last hsd champion, Koon would have to win again in the $3,200,000 round or have no challengers in a 30-day window after Hellmuth refused a rematch against him.
Ultimately, it turned out that no one was willing to send $1,600,000 million to play against Koon knowing they would have to not only win that game, but also win the next round (with a whopping $6,400,000 on the line) or have no challenger to them in the allotted time frame.
Koon seemed to anticipate the lack of challengers. After his victory over Hellmuth, he recounted Poker GO reporters, “My preparation for this game was not only specific to Phil, but it was also — I thought it was going to go one of two ways … One, there’s going to be a very wealthy recreational player who wants to break a sweat, which is great. Or there’s It’s going to be some super alpha person from Russia or somewhere else who wants to play me, but I doubt it. I just can’t see anyone playing me. I’m not trying to be arrogant, it’s just that it’s a lot of money to move for a 1% or 2% edge you will have at best against me, but my preparation was to be ready to play an optimal player. I didn’t play an optimal strategy today “I played a very specific strategy for Phil. But if I play with another player, I’ll be ready to play with them if they play like a solver would.”
With no challengers, Koon became the first unnamed Hellmuth player to secure the wrestling style hsd championship belt. Koon may have only had to play one game, but his early December victory over Hellmuth came at the highest stakes ever played on the show and against an opponent who had won High risk duel 1 and 2 with a clean sweep of living legends of the game Antonio Esfandiari and Daniel Negreanu.
High risk duel 3 started with another win for Hellmuth, this time against sportscaster Nick Wright. Wright opted against a rematch for round 2, and high-stakes cash game regular Tom Dwan stepped in to hand Hellmuth his first loss in round 2, ending his incredible 7-round winning streak. Hellmuth secured a rematch and came out on top, setting up an $800,000 showdown with Scott Seiver, who took over for Dwan. Hellmuth came out on top, setting up the $1.6 match which ultimately went against Koon. If Hellmuth had won that match, he could have chosen to walk out three times hsd winner.
Koon’s battle against Hellmuth lasted about 2.5 hours, with the challenger taking the lead relatively early thanks to a bad five-bet bluff from Hellmuth. As it turned out, he had chosen to make this move when Koon had the best starting hand in hold’em: pocket aces.
BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE!!!
JasonKoon</a> wakes up with aces and <a href="https://twitter.com/phil_hellmuth?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">phil_hellmuth he puts both a three-bet and a five-bet with only queen-high.
– You don’t want to miss this match! Watch it here: pic.twitter.com/bDvSKFdw8w
—PokerGO (@PokerGO) December 8, 2022
Koon was able to extend his lead quite consistently after winning that big preflop matchup and finally closed out the game when his Q-8 outlasted a short-stacked Hellmuth’s AK.
To watch a replay of the $1,600,000 round, along with any other High risk duel episodes and a huge library of other top-notch poker content, you’ll need a Poker GO account. Sign up today using promo code “CardPlayer” for $20 off a yearly subscription.
Photo credit: PokerGO / Antonio Abrego.