High-stakes heads-up battles roar on but this time it isn’t a grudge match or prop betting as much as it is to see 32 players pony up $25,000 to compete in the inaugural World Poker Tour Heads Up Poker Championship on June 18-22.
The event, which takes place online at PokerKing, is already sold-out with an impressive mix of high-stakes pros, gamers, and influencers getting into the mix. The 32 players will pair off for 16 matches on June 18 with surviving players facing one match per day until the final two players battle it out for the title on June 22.
Fans can follow along as Joey Ingram hosts the television stream at the World Poker Tour YouTube and Twitch channels.
Polk vs. Dwan Headlines First Round
While there are plenty of intriguing first-round match-ups, one sticks out above all the others with Doug Polk scheduled to battle Tom Dwan.
Polk, who is widely considered to be among the best heads-up players, came out of retirement last year to win a notorious prop bet against GGPoker Ambassador Daniel Negreanu to the tune of $1.2 million after 25,000 hands of $200/$400 heads-up no-limit hold’em. Since this highly publicized match, Polk has remained mostly on the sidelines while dismissing other possibly lucrative challenges.
Meanwhile, Dwan has been one of the most feared online and live ring game players in the world. He famously challenged some of the biggest names in the game in the “Durrrr Challenge” and his second match which began in 2010 against Dan Cates has yet to this date been publicly completed after mysteriously disappearing for many years at the beginning of last decade and the left-in-limbo battle is still a subject that pops up occasionally in the poker community.
Other Big Matches
There are plenty of other exciting matches in the first round including Wiktor “Limitless” Malinowski facing off against two-time WSOP bracelet winner Nick Petrangelo. Malinowski, who is a well-known high-stakes crusher, may have something to prove as a few months ago he came out on the losing end against GGPoker Ambassador Fedor Holz in the GGPoker Face-Off Challenge.
Meanwhile, Phil Ivey will have his work cut out for him during the first match facing off against Manig Loeser.
Here’s a look at some of the other high-octane matches:
- Stephen Chidwick vs. Andrew Lichtenberger
- Sam Greenwood vs. Kevin Rabichow
- Stefan “Stefan11222” Burakov vs. Timothy Adams
- Linus Loeliger vs. Olivier Busquet
- Nick Schulman vs. Christopher Kruk
Influencers and Gamers in the Mix
Like Polk and others, poker vlogger Brad Owen could be included as both an influencer and a top poker talent. Content this week shouldn’t be at a shortage for Owen as he will start his quest facing the formidable Canadian Daniel Dvoress in the first round.
Players known better in the mainstream than their poker prowess are also in the mix and it will be interesting to see how they perform with DJ Steve Aoki paired up against Dan Smith and Japanese pop star Gakuto “GACKT” Oshiro set to battle against Patrik Antonius.
Two Twitch superstar streamers are also pitted against each other in the first round with eSports streamer Rumay “Hafu” Wang with 1.3 million in followers bracketed against Woman FIDE Master Alexandra Botez with 850,000 Twitch followers.
The tournament is not a Main Tour event and thus will neither award Player of the Year points nor will the eventual winner have their name etched into the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup.
PokerNews will strive to keep readers update on the tournament as it progresses.