Phil Hellmuth hand gesture

Phil Hellmuth to Face Daniel Cates in ‘King of The Hill’ Final

Poker Brat ‘trusts his instincts’ in victory over Doug Polk.
Kassela coolered in four hands by Jungleman.

(Rivers Casino, Schenectady) Fourteen-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner Phil Hellmuth and high stakes rounder “Jungleman” Dan Cates advanced to the championship match in the first-ever King of The Hill heads-up poker contest Tuesday, broadcast live on the Poker Night in America Twitch channel.

Hellmuth, who arrived at the Rivers Casino Schenectady poker room as a significant underdog against heads-up No Limit Hold’em guru Doug Polk, credited his “White Magic” live-read skills in his victory over Twitch and YouTube live stream record-holder Polk to move on to the Final Round and compete for $200,000 USD cash.

Key Hands — Phil Hellmuth vs. Doug Polk

The first big hand of the $50,000 buy-in King of The Hill nightcap occurred roughly 45 minutes into the match (VoD Timestamp 58:00) when both players were relatively even in chips. With Blinds at $250/$500, Doug opened from the button with a min-raise to $1,000 and was called by Phil.

Polk: (Qh-9d) — Hellmuth: (Ac-4c) — FLOP: 3s-Jc-Tc

After the Poker Brat checked his option “in the dark,” the 2017 WSOP High Roller for One Drop champion led out for $1,000 which was promptly called. With the pot now at $4,000 Hellmuth again opted to check before the Two of Clubs landed on the Turn, giving the 53-year old the best possible hand. Doug checked back on the Turn, but hit an unwanted Straight on the River with the Eight of Spades. Hellmuth checked for the third time in the hand, and Doug bet $3,100 before being raised another $11,000. Polk was in an undesirable position and eventually made the call, which gave the $21,000,000 live poker tournament cash prize winner a $64k to $36k lead.

Doug was able to battle his way back to nearly even before the stacks shifted once again to an approximate 2-to-1 Hellmuth lead when the following hand (VoD Timestamp 1:23:35) occurred at $300/$600 Blinds. Doug min-raised to $1,200 and was called.

Polk: (9s-6d) — Hellmuth: (Jc-3c) — FLOP: 2c-Jh-Qd

Both players checked the Flop and the Turn was the Two of Hearts. With the pot at $2,400 Hellmuth checked, Polk bet $1,000 and Phil called. The River card was the Seven of Hearts and the 14-time WSOP bracelet winner once again checked his option, which is when the hand got interesting.

Doug placed what is called an “overbet” of $6,700 into a $4,400 pot and Hellmuth proceeded to work his unique “White Magic” skills. While looking straight at Doug, the Poker Brat motioned towards an all-new “Reveal Button” introduced by Poker Night and told his opponent that he was either going to utilize his option to reveal Doug’s hand after folding or commit $6,700 to a call. Just moments after the speech play, Phil indeed called down and was awarded the $17,800 pot… extending his lead to nearly 3-to-1. The recently named host of WPT’s “The Raw Deal” would later say that he “trusted his instincts” in the momentum-defining hand.

The final big hand happened a few minutes later (VoD Timestamp 1:37:08). Hellmuth completed to $800 and Polk checked from the Big Blind.

Polk: (8h-6c) — Hellmuth: (7h-4h) — FLOP: 8d-6s-2h

Both players checked the Flop and the Turn card was the Ten of Hearts. Doug checked, Phil bet $800 and Doug check-raised to $3,500 which was immediately called. The Nine of Diamonds River card gave Hellmuth a Straight against Polk’s Two Pair. With the pot at $8,600 Doug checked, and a stoic Phil fired-out $11,000. Doug contemplated for over three minutes before letting it ride on a PNIA Reveal Button “coin-flip.” The flip didn’t work out, and the rest was academic before a short-stack All-in Preflop runout awarded the victory to Phil Hellmuth.

Dan Cates Defeats Frank Kassela in Four Hands

High stakes real money card player and genius-level live cast strategy commentator ‘Jungleman’ Dan Cates defeated former World Series of Poker “Player of The Year” Frank Kassela in fourteen minutes Tuesday afternoon before dropping a couple of friendly heads-up filler matches with our own Doug Polk.

In the very first “King of The Hill” hand ever (VoD Timestamp 19:30), three-time WSOP bracelet winner Kassela opened to $650 with the Blinds at $150/$300 and Jungleman Dan Cates called.

Kassela: (7s-4c) — Jungleman: (9h-5s) — FLOP: 9c-7h-9d

Cates checked from out-of-position and Kassela Continuation Bet for $800, Jungleman check-raised to $2,500 and Frank called. The Turn was the Six of Hearts. Cates led for $3,000 into a $6,300 pot and Kassela immediately made the call. The Six of Diamonds River card gave Cates a Full House and Jungleman immediately made a pot-sized River bet of $12,300. Kassela called and was down $68k to $32k after the very first hand.

Just three hands later, Kassela made a large Preflop 3-bet to $2,800 and Cates called.

Kassela: (Kc-Jh) — Jungleman: (As-Tc) — FLOP: Js-Kd-3h

With a flopped Two Pair and a pot that had already been built to $5,600 Frank led for $4,700 and Cates quickly called, making the pot an even $15,000. The Queen of Spades on the Turn meant Jungleman hit a Broadway Straight. Kassela bet $12,250 then Cates shoved All-in and Frank called, only to receive the bad news that he would need a four-outer to remain in contention. The River card was the Three of Spades, which gave the heads-up victory to ‘Jungleman’ Daniel Cates.

Hellmuth vs. Cates for $200,000 USD

Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Cates will compete this afternoon for the inaugural Poker Night King of The Hill championship belt and $200,000. Cards fly at 5:00pm Eastern Time with the @PokerNightTV Twitch stream beginning 30 minutes later.

*King of The Hill Peak Ratings (Semifinals): 12,475 Viewers (Twitch Poker Category Ratings Share: 85)

On behalf of Team Upswing, we’d like to give a shout-out to all four competitors, booth anchor Shaun Deeb, the Rivers Casino Schenectady dealers and staff, along with the Poker Night crew who are making this high stakes heads-up No Limit Hold’em competition possible. Also, we’d like to credit PokerNews contributor Valerie Cross for her timely recap coverage of Tuesday’s semifinal matches.

Who will win the inaugural Poker Night “King of The Hill” heads-up poker competition? The Poker Brat or Jungleman? Give us your prediction and tune-in today at 5:30pm Eastern Time to find out.

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David Huber (known online as 'dhubermex') has been involved in the poker industry since he began playing low stakes games in 2004. His current duties with Upswing Poker revolve around creative web content development, consulting, and research of publicly-available information. David is a former Editor-in-Chief and Head Moderator of online poker tournament rankings site PocketFives.com (2006-2011).

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