Jason Koon has been declared the official winner of the High Stakes Duel III game after no high stakes player was willing to stump up the $1.6m entry fee to challenge the current belt holder.

Koon stepped in for Round 5 of High Stakes Duel III to take on the then leading player Phil Hellmuth, paying $800,000 for the privilege to do so after Scott Seiver backed out as Hellmuth’s original opponent.

The match between Koon and Hellmuth was surprisingly one-sided with the Poker Brat unable to get his A-game flowing meaning that Koon wrapped up an unexpectedly easy win.

That immediately doubled Koon’s $800,000 buy in, but it meant that Koon would not be able to get his hands on the $1.6m prize if another high stakes player paid the $1.6m buy in to challenge him in what would have been a $3.2m heads up match.

Perhaps unsurprisingly given Koon’s immense talent, nobody was willing to stump up that price and risk losing the money, which meant that the game organisers had no choice but to declare him the Champion of High Stakes Duel III.

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Will Koon Return for High Stakes Duel IV?

What happens now is that two new players will be given the opportunity to ante up for $50,000 apiece to start off High Stakes Duel IV, with the buy-in doubling, potentially all the way to $12.8 million as the series progresses.

Koon has won over $42.3 million in live tournament play and also is the proud owner of a World Series of Poker bracelet, which he won in 2021.

He is also one of the most feared and respected poker players in the world.

As defending champion, it would make sense if Koon was one of the two players to kick off the new series of the game, but as yet the players set to take part have not yet been determined by PokerGO and the company has also not announced the date or time for the first game in this new series.

Could Phil Hellmuth Be Back?

Phil Hellmuth Madison Kid screenplay

With Series III being the only series where Phil Hellmuth has not won the overall prize, many have speculated as to whether the Poker Brat will be back in action in the tournament any time soon.

Hellmuth won the first series winning three games in a row against Antonio Esfandiari, claiming a $350,000 profit in doing so.

He then repeated that success in Series II when he defeated Daniel Negreanu in three games in a row, once again earning $350,000 in profit.

However, Series III proved much tricker as after he defeated Nick Wright, he then lost to Tom Dwan, before gaining revenge for that loss (after buying in for $200,000) in the rematch in Game 3 of the series.

He then defeated Scott Seiver in Game 4 after Tom Dwan could not get to Las Vegas for Game 4 and then when Seiver backed out of Game 5, Koon stepped in and claimed the win.

Hellmuth finished Series III with $450,000 in profits from his 7-2 record and 2 series wins on High Stakes Duel.

Alongside Hellmuth there are a number of other big name players that would likely appeal to the tournament organisers.

After their famous spat last year, Garrett Adelstein and/or Robbi Jade Lew would make an intriguing High Stakes Series IV opening contest. Other iconic stars such as Phil Ivey, or maybe a return for Poker Kid Daniel Negreanu, could also draw in the viewers.

Top ranking stars such as Justin Bonomo, Bryn Kenney, Stephen Chidwick, Erik Seidel, David Peters, Dan Smith, Fedor Holz, Cary Katz and Mikita Bodyakovsky could also be in the reckoning for the new series.

As soon as we have details of who will compete in Series IV, as well as when the first game in the series will take place, we will bring it to you right here.

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Mattress Mack Down $3m After Backing TCU To Upset Georgia

Owner of Gallery Furniture, Jim McIngvale, better known as Mattress Mack, has lost $3m worth of wagers after placing a series of high stakes bets that backed the underdog TCU to beat Georgia in this past week’s College National Championship Football Playoff Final.

Although handed a healthy handicap by the bookmakers, TCU fell to a somewhat sobering 65-7 defeat, just a week after they had bettered the Michigan Wolverines in an epic and exciting Playoff Semi Final clash.

That meant that the Bulldogs not only won the game, but covered the spread comfortably to ensure that Mack’s bets were losers.

However, it won’t make too big a dent in his finances, as he tends to leverage his sporting wagers against the money he makes from sales in his retail chain, which means that even with these losses, he will still likely be picking up a profit.

Furthermore, he won a record $72 million earlier this year when his baseball team, the Houston Astros landed a World Series win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

He has also backed a number of Texas-based poker players, paying for their entries into the 2022 World Series of Poker.

We’re pretty certain that this won’t be the final big money bet Mattress Mack makes this year and with the Super Bowl in February and the NCAAB Playoffs coming up in March, we’re pretty certain Mack will certainly be looking at the teams competing to see if he can recoup at least some of that $3m loss.

Or maybe land another huge win at the bookies expense!

Pai Gow Poker Player Lands $6.4m Jackpot

Poker player Thomas Evans Zanot is celebrating 2023 thanks to an incredible Pai Gow Poker jackpot win which saw him win over $6.4 million at the Flamingo Casino on Saturday 7th January.

The lucky player saw his 7-card straight come up after he had placed his side bet on the game.

With his $5 bet, Mr Zanot earned his biggest ever cash prize of $6,443,401.

This comes after another Pai Gow Poker jackpot of over $3.5m was triggered back in October last year at Harrah’s casino.