Dwan Withdraws From High Stakes Duel

EPT Poker Winner Mesqueu on Left

In a perfect world, all of our weekly poker updates would be full of good news. Unfortunately, that is not the case. There will be plenty of good news in this week’s poker update. However, we will also cover some less than stellar news.

The much-anticipated rematch between Tom Dwan and Phil Hellmuth was supposed to start yesterday. Dawn was forced to withdraw last minute, and the High Stakes Duel III has been postponed. In happier news, the European Poker Tour finished its successful return tournament and handed out millions in winnings.

World Poker Tour Reveals Poker Heroes NFTs

We will start our weekly poker update with some exciting news from the World Poker Tour. The WPT is currently in the middle of its WPT Choctaw event. However, it is a separate WPT event that has it included in our poker update.

In April, the World Poker Tour launched the WPT Global. This online real money poker room is available to players across the globe. However, access is restricted in some states due to online poker laws. A new global poker room would be exciting enough. However, the WPT is raising the stakes.

Players in WPT Global can now purchase NFT Avatars of famous poker stars. GAMAVRS, the company that created the NFT avatars, recently released a slew of familiar faces for players to buy. Included in the first round of poker star NFTs are famous players like Phil Ivey, Vince Van Patten, and others. Brand ambassador Steve Aoki is also one of the NFT avatars available.

Non-fungible tokens, or NFTs, have exploded onto the market in recent months. It was only a matter of time before a major poker brand joins in on the action. These poker stars NFTs are only being released in limited batches. However, they can be resold after you purchase them.

Not all poker stars NFTs are created equal. The avatars are separated into three tiers: humans, cyborgs, and gods. Roughly 60% of the avatars will be in the human tier. Cyborgs and gods will make up 30% and 10% of the initial batch, respectively.

Martirosian Wins His Fifth Super MILLION$ Title

There are a ton of major online poker tournaments that take place every week. However, not all weekly poker tournaments are created equal. One of the hardest weekly tournaments is the GGPoker Super MILLION$. The weekly tournament attracts some of the biggest names in online poker.

Despite the stiff competition, one man, Artur Martirosian, has made a home in the winner’s circle. Martirosian secured his fifth win in a Super MILLION$ event this week. The Russian beat out a field of impressive competition to claim the top prize. For his efforts, Martirosian won $557,636. His win came with more than just a nice payday.

Pro Poker Player Brandon Adams

Martirosian’s fifth win moved him into a three-way tie with Michael Addamo and Niklas Astedt. All the poker pros have won GGPoker Super MILLION$ events five times. With Martirosian’s recent success, he could break the tie quickly and claim sole ownership of the record.

This time around, Martirosian secured first place by outlasting Fedor Holz from Austria. Both players held massive chip leads over the other competitors in the final four. When it came time for the heads-up battle, the cards favored Martirosian. On the final hand, Martirosian’s flush was slightly better than Holz’s.

Holz had entertained the idea of a heads-up deal but backed out and decided to play on. The final hands also saw Martirosian’s Queen-high flush barely beat Holz’s Jack-high flush. Holz has nothing to be ashamed of after his performance and still secured a cash prize. The runner-up claimed a prize of $429,996.

Speranza Wins €25,000 High Roller Event

One of the best parts of 2022 so far was the return of the European Poker Tour. The high roller event took place in Monte Carlo. We covered many of the winners in last week’s poker update. On Saturday, the EPT Monte Carlo came to and with the final prizes being handed out.

A total of 179 players entered the €25,000 buy-in no-limit hold ’em high roller event. In the end, Gianluca Speranza was the last player standing. The Italian walked away with the first-place prize of €853,000. Speranza also won 1,097 Card Player Player of the Year Points. He is now ranked in the top-100 points earners for the award.

Las Vegas Poker Game

Speranza’s victory was not guaranteed when the final day of play began. He had the third-most chips of the 13 players remaining. However, a mid-round surge gave Speranza a commanding lead. Eventually, only Speranza and Bruno Lopes remained alive in the tournament.

Lopes and Speranza agreed to split the majority of the prize money in a heads-up deal. On the final hand, Speranza secured the trophy when his flush beat Lopes’ pair of Queens. Lopes secured nearly $740,000 for taking second place. He was also awarded 910 PoY points.

Davies and Gierse Also Win on Final Day of EPT Monte Carlo

Speranza was not the only one to win big on the final day of the EPT Monte Carlo event. By the time Saturday’s action came to an end, both Seth Davies and Marius Gierse had claimed top prizes. Both Gierse and Davies secured their wins in €25,000 buy-in high roller events.

Gierse was the first of the pair to claim victory. His win came in a single-day tournament. Gierse outlasted a field of 61 players in the high roller event. For the win, Gierse secured roughly $400,000 in prize money. He also was awarded 504 PoY points. That was enough to move the German into the 25th spot in the PoY rankings.

Joining Gierse in the winner’s circle was Seth Davies. To claim his win at the EPT Monte Carlo, Davies had to get through a field of 40 competitors. The smaller field led to a much smaller first place prize. Davies walked away with just under $300,000 for winning the event. He was also awarded 420 POY points.

Mesqueu Wins EPT Main Event

After weeks of play, the EPT Monte Carlo event came to end over the weekend. A total of 1,073 players entered the €5,400 buy-in main event. The historic main event was won by Marcelo Simoes Mesqueu. Over €5.2 million in prize money was handed out during the main event.

Mesqueu’s win was historic in more ways than one. First and foremost, he won nearly €940,000 for his first-place finish. He also became the first Brazilian player to win an EPT main event. It was by far the largest cash win of Mesqueu’s career thus far.

Poker Table at TGT Poker and Racebook

In addition to the cash prize, Mesqueu was awarded 1,920 PoY points. It was his first win of the year that qualified for PoY consideration. The nearly 2,000-point victory moved Mesqueu into 17th place in the PoY rankings.

Entering the final day of the main event, Mesqueu had the second most chips of the six remaining players. The final six players fought hard and it took four levels of play before Erkan Soenmez was eliminated. Mesqueu used the first four levels to gain a massive lead in chips. After Soenmez, players were eliminated quickly. In the end, Mesqueu eliminated Morten Hvam to claim first place.

Hellmuth Will Have a New High Stakes Duel Challenger

We have saved the worst news for last in this week’s poker update. Phil Hellmuth and Tim Dwan were scheduled to face off yesterday. The highly anticipated rematch was part of the fourth round of the High Stakes Duel III. Both Hellmuth and Dwan were going to put up $400,000 of their own money for the showdown.

Unfortunately, Dwan was forced to pull out of the match. According to Dwan, there were scheduling conflicts that kept him from upholding his end of the duel. Hopefully, we will be able to see Hellmuth and Dwan go head-to-head at a later date.

In the immediate future, Hellmuth was left without an opponent. The matchup has been rescheduled for next week while PokerGO searches for Dwan’s replacement. Finding someone willing to risk $400,000 in a poker game is easier said than done.

There are a few names that come to mind to be Hellmuth’s challenger. Poker pros such as Doyle Brunson or Phil Ivey could give Hellmuth an old-school poker matchup. There are also plenty of options outside of the poker world. PokerGO could look to gaming celebrities, such as Ninja, in an attempt to attract new viewers.


The European Poker Tour finished its successful return in grand fashion this week. Multiple winners, including the first-ever Brazilian main event winner, claimed victory in the final days of EPT Monte Carlo. Also, the World Poker Tour launched new NFT avatars in WPT Global.

Round four of the High Stakes Duel III has been postponed until next week as PokerGO searches for Dwan’s replacement. Join us next Friday for another poker update. In the meantime, check out our rankings of the best mobile poker apps.

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