October 10, 2020 Poker Strategy, Poker News Lars Liedtke

Poker Hand of the Week – Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Hellmuth Levelling War at High Stakes Duel Round 2

Poker Hand of the Week Setup

In our Hand of the Week two poker legends and archrivals with Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Hellmuth go at it big time in the most spectacular hand of High Stakes Duel Round 2.

We are in High Stakes Duel Round 2, which is a new and very exciting heads-up format. Phil Hellmuth won Round 1 and Esfandiari used exercised his right to ask for revenge.

Each round the buy-in doubles, which means they are battling for a whopping $200,000 this time.

$100,000 High Stakes Duel between Phil Hellmuth and Antonio Esfandiari this Thursday live on PokerGo

The both are archrivals at the poker table and have a long-lasting battle. That means they know each other’s game extremely well and certainly have some reads on one another.

Both players are pretty deep with effective stack sizes at the start of the hand being 264 big blinds.

Poker Hand of the Week Action

Preflop Action:

At blinds of 350/500 Antonio makes a pretty lose raise from the button with 8♦5♣ to 1,100 and Phil Hellmuth calls from the big blind with  A♣3♣. Pot size: 2,200


Hellmuth announces check in the dark, before the dealer lays a flop of 4♥J♦J♠ into the middle.  Esfandiari makes a small continuation bet of 600 into 2,200 and Hellmuth quickly check-raises to 1,800.

Instead of folding Eight-high, Antonio decides to stick around and calls in position. Pot Size: 5,800


The 7♣ on the turn gives Antonio a gutshot straight draw. Phil leads for 3,200 and having picked up some outs and equity, Esfandiari makes it 11,300 to go.

Hellmuth thinks for a while before announcing a re-raise to 29,000. However, Antonio is not willing to give up and calls! Just like that there are 265.2 big blinds in the pot. Pot Size: 63,800 


Another dark check from Hellmuth before the A♠ comes on the river and Antonio Esfandiari, who has his opponent covered, quickly says All-In.

Phil Hellmuth goes deep into the tank and after thinking for almost a minute he announces Call. Antonio shakes his head and a massive  133,450 Pot, which gives the Poker Brat a decisive 2 to 1 chiplead, is shipped to Phil Hellmuth.

Poker Hand of the Week Analysis

What a hand! It is a great example how important metagame and reads are, when you are playing heads-up poker.

Preflop is relatively standard as you should be opening very wide from the button heads-up. Phil Hellmuth could easily 3-bet here as A3s is a great hand to do so, but he decides to just call, which is also fine.

On the flop the board pairs and after the cbet of Antonio, Hellmuth quickly check-raises assuming correctly that Ace-high is the best hand. However, Esfandiari decides to float on the button as he has position and the plan to take the pot away on a later street.

On the turn things are absolutely escalating with Hellmuth and Esfandiari trying to outplay each other. First Antonio raises Phil’s lead and then Hellmuth comes back over the top, but the Magician is absolutely refusing to give up and calls with his gutshot, although Hellmuth has only a little bit more than half pot behind.

The river is the Ace of Spades and Antonio whiffs, which also means he can only win by pulling the trigger. That’s what he does as he represented a Jack on the turn.

Phil is send deep into the tank, but given the fact that he made top pair on the river and gets pot odds of 3 to 1 he has to call here. After thinking it through Hellmuth makes the correct call and secures himself a decisive lead on the way to victory.

On the contrary, Antonio should have just folded to Phil’s check-raise on the flop and he would have lost only a small pot instead of a massive one, but his ego got in the way and costed him the victory.

Watch the Poker Hand of the Week from 11:57 here:

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