Poker Pros Dan Smith And MJ Gonzales Start High-Stakes Heads-Up Match

The last several months have brought poker fans an abundance of high-stakes heads-up battles and it looks like the trend will continue through the summer.

Doug Polk defeated Daniel Negreanu for seven-figures when their 25,000-hand match was completed at the start of February and Negreanu immediately moved on to battle 15-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth in a series of high-stakes heads-up sit-n-goes on PokerGO.

Negreanu’s coach and founder of Hybrid Poker, MJ Gonzales, just started a high-stakes match against Dan Smith. Smith is currently fifth on poker’s all-time money list with $37.06 million in career tournament earnings.

The two are playing heads-up $500-$1,000 no-limit hold’em in Ivey’s Room at Aria Resort & Casino. Through two sessions, Gonzales is up $42,000.

Smith won $32,000 during their first meeting on Sunday before Gonzales got the upper hand on Monday, booking a $72,000 win. They will play again in a couple days, according to Gonzales’ social media.

With stakes equivalent to the infamous “Rail Heaven” games on Full Tilt Poker and skill edges presumably somewhat slim, the two pros could easily see swings worth a couple small houses. Gonzales said he was stuck about $280,000 in their first session before ultimately ending the day down around $32,000.

He tweeted a photo of his starting stack on Monday, which was about $1 million.

Several months ago, while his student was battling it out on the virtual felt against Polk, Gonzales hopped on Twitter and was seeking out high-stakes heads-up matches of his own. The only caveat was that it had to be in a live poker setting.

Gonzales booked a $1 million freezeout at $1,000-$2,000 no-limit hold’em against nosebleed-stakes Polish online pro Wiktor Malinowski. He also got action from Isaac Haxton, but the details of that match still needs to be worked out.

There’s no way to follow the action besides their updates on social media, but both players appear to be lobbying for PokerGO to stream the match.




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