Season 4 of Poker After Dark grew the show to new heights after it opened the season with the “Cash Game” and then “Nets vs Vets” – all available on PokerGO. The third installment of Season 4, the “Heads Up Challenge”, featured a double-elimination heads-up showdown between Phil Hellmuth, Ted Forrest, Paul Wasicka and Chris Ferguson.
The four players weren’t picked at random, they were the first four NBC Heads Up National Champions. Ferguson finished runner-up in 2005 and 2006 for the best overall record for the event. Hellmuth finished runner-up in 2013, the final year of the event, to Mike Matusow.
The “Heads Up Challenge” players had an increased buy-in of $50,000 but kept the winner-take-all format for the winner to earn $200,000. The first matches saw Wasicka play Ferguson and Hellmuth pay Forrest.
Hellmuth scouting his opponents or getting TV time?
Hellmuth waited for his match by taking up residence on the couch of the PAD set. He showed early signs of his commentary talents tinged with a bit of hubris. “I’m impressed that Chris showing more gears,” he said. “When I played in 05 he didn’t have all the gears. Now he seems to have all the gears and his timing is pretty good.”
New host Leeann Tweeden joked with Hellmuth that maybe Ferguson took page out his book for his success at the time. To which the purveyor of White Magic couldn’t resist tooting his own horn:
“A lot of the great players do watch the way I play Hold’em,” he said. “A lot of the guys that are really great do watch the way I play Hold’em, the next level thinks they’re too great to learn anything and that’s why they’re never at the top with the rest of us. Then there’s the American public and the rest of the world knows they can learn a lot from the great players. So, yeah people do watch me, but he’s using it real well.”
Hellmuth seemingly credits Ferguson’s success with watching him play Hold’em.
Wasicka lost the first round match to Ferguson at the end of the first episode to set up Hellmuth vs Forrest for the second episode. Forrest bluffed off his stack after Hellmuth rivered a second pair and made his trademark insta-call.
Hellmuth and Ferguson were bound for the winner’s bracket, while Wasicka and Forrest played an elimination match to stay in the running.
Watch all the action to see who wins the Poker After Dark “Heads Up Challenge” available only on PokerGO, with a growing archive of past seasons.