Daniel Negreanu has won his first match in High Stakes Duel history following his defeat of Eric Persson on Monday night from inside the PokerGO Studio at ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. 

Negreanu had three previous matches in High Stakes Duel II against two-time High Stakes Duel champion Phil Hellmuth where Negreanu was swept. With Negreanu’s first victory in his fourth attempt, he pockets the $100,000 prize pool and advances to Round 2.

Ali Nejad Hosts The Weigh-In

Ali Nejad returned to host The Weigh-In between Daniel Negreanu and Eric Persson, and he began by asking how Negreanu prepared for this match. It didn’t take too long for the games to start as Negreanu said he wasn’t sure what to expect, so he just decided to lift weights before he removed his hoodie and revealed a very padded muscle costume with a Persson-like tank top.

“I thought it was fun,” Negreanu said on his costume and props once the match concluded. “I’m trying to create some entertainment.”

Nejad turned his attention to Persson to discuss his meteoric rise to prominence as he is a regular player in the biggest high-stakes cash games in the country. As the owner of Maverick Gaming, Persson believed he could leverage playing the biggest games into exposing Maverick Gaming to the masses, “I just showed up one and took over.”

Nejad then brought up Negreanu’s three losses to Hellmuth, and somehow Negreanu managed to flip the switch and bring up Persson’s match with Hellmuth during the PGT Heads-Up Showdown. Negreanu said jokingly it was way out of line that Persson gave Hellmuth the double birds, Negreanu then revealed another prop - this time two giant hands giving the middle finger, “If it comes my way, I’m completely prepared.”

Round 1 Underway

The early portion of the Round 1 saw both players trade small pots back and forth, along with some friendly banter. Negreanu eventually began to edge ahead and peaked at a three-to-two advantage before Persson got a bluff through with four-high following a domination of table talk.

It would take over an hour before the biggest pot of the session would play out that saw Negreanu flop a set against Persson’s straight draw. Persson went runner-runner two pair for an unfortunate runout to slip down to 37,000 from his 50,000 starting chips.

Persson would drop as low as being at a four-to-one disadvantage but managed to claw his way back to 40,000 in chips. However, the next 30 minutes would all go Negreanu’s way as he chipped Persson down to 17,600 before the final hand played out.

With blinds at 300/600, Negreanu raised to 1,500 on the button with ace-king. Persson three-bet to 3,500 with ace-queen of diamonds and Negreanu four-bet to 8,000. Persson quickly jammed all-in for nearly 30 big blinds, and Negreanu called. Both players flopped a gutshot to Broadway, and when the board paired on the turn, chop outs followed. 

The river blanked out, and Negreanu would secure his first-ever High Stakes Duel victory to claim the $100,000 prize. An immediate handshake followed, along with a quick review of how the cards fell Negreanu’s way for the majority of the match.

Daniel Negreanu Earns 1st High Stakes Duel Victory

“Relieved more than anything,” Negreanu said after winning Round 1.”I just had all the hands. I had so many big hands, and he never really had much going on. He bluffed me a few times. I didn’t really do anything special. I just ran better than he did.”

Preparation in heads-up matches is normally extremely important, but outside of the one encounter against Hellmuth in the PGT Heads-Up Showdown, Persson hasn’t been in this streamed tournament setting.

“I wasn’t worried about any sort of game theory or anything like that,” Negreanu said on preparing for this match with Persson. “I watched some of the streams, some of his highlights, and table talk. He really does a good job of balancing. He’ll say things that you would say if you’re bluffing when he has it. He reverses it a lot.”

There were several instances where table talk did come into play, including a hand where Negreanu folded the best hand to Persson’s four-high.

“The other issue, too is that when people do table talk, when you play with a shot clock, you don’t have a lot of time to process. You just have to make your decision.” 

Although Persson and Negreanu were slated to rematch nearly immediately, due to scheduling conflicts - and maybe due to better judgment - Persson is withdrawing from a Round 2 rematch for $200,000.

Negreanu tweeted, “I guess that means… seat open for who’s next?”

Any challenger now has 30 days to step up to take on Negreanu in Round 2 for $200,000. Could we see a previous High Stakes Duel competitor such as Hellmuth, Antonio Esfandiari, Tom Dwan, Scott Seiver, or Jason Koon? Or will a new player emerge to take on Negreanu? 

For the latest developments in High Stakes Duel 4, stay tuned to PGT.com for all future updates on who will be Negreanu’s next challenger with $200,000 up for grabs.

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PokerGO, Daniel Negreanu, Ali Nejad, High Stakes Duel, Eric Persson