Nick Wright Quits High Stakes Duel Match Against Phil Hellmuth

By Craig Klinski
August 3, 2021

High Stakes Duel III - Nick Wright Quits

The High Stakes Duel III match between Phil Hellmuth and Nick Wright is officially over after Wright announced that he would not be seeking a rematch against Hellmuth. Wright had lost to Hellmuth on July 30th, losing his $50,000 buy-in over six hours in the latest High Stakes Duel match, which was broadcast on PokerGo.

Per the rules of the High Stakes Duel, the losing player of Round 1 has 72 hours after the completion of the match to decide to continue playing. Had Wright decided to play a rematch against Hellmuth, the stakes would have doubled, requiring each player to buy in for $100,000.

Wright announced his intentions through a video announcement on Friday, revealing why he had decided not to continue playing. In his comments about leaving the match, Wright said that he was “still not over the loss… because I feel like I blew it with some really poor play.”

With the disappointing loss and the prospect of the stakes doubling, playing Hellmuth no longer made sense in his eys.

“Am I going to wrangle up another $100,000 to face him again?” Wright asked himself during his statement. “Regrettably, the answer to that question is no.”

Surprisingly, Wright did say that he hopes to play against Hellmuth again in a similar format but that the prize was too steep for this match. “I can’t justify to my wife and kids laying out another $100,000 to take on one of the greatest players in the world, even though I think I could beat him.”

Phil Hellmuth reacts

After Wright’s statement, Hellmuth was gracious to Wright, thanking him for a “great match.”

What happens next in the High Stakes Duel?

With Hellmuth beating Wright, he has now defeated three different opponents to earn a 7-0 overall record, including against some of poker’s all-time greats. In addition to Wright, Hellmuth has also won $350,000 each from Antonio Esfandiari and Daniel Negreanu.

Hellmuth will now get a new challenger, which has yet to be announced. With each new opponent, the buy-in will be $100,000 stakes doubling for each match. A specific opponent has yet to be announced, but there has been some speculation of another big name, including some mentioned during Wright’s video.

Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan are perhaps the most frequently mentioned players that poker fans would like to see square off against Hellmuth. It seems like a real possibility that one of these players could go head to head against Hellmuth in the near future, but with the World Series of Poker returning to Las Vegas at the end of September, there is at least some reason to believe that we might have to wait a bit longer.

Hellmuth later hinted that an opponent could be named soon as PokerGo has informed him of a new opponent. The list included Ivey and Dwan, but also added Tony G and Johnny Chan.

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