Poker pro Chino Rheem came out victorious in this $1,000 buy-in heads-up showdown against poker legend and WSOP bracelet winner Doyle Brunson. Here’s a summary of how the match played out from beginning to end.
The new $25,000 Head-to-Head Battle on the PokerGO Tour concluded on Saturday with Chino Rheem earning the championship after three days of play.
Rheem won the championship and $400,000 after defeating Darren Elias heads-up at the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas.
Rheem added afterwards, “I’m feeling terrific.” “It’s a fantastic sensation.” To be honest, it’s a pleasure and an honor to be a part of these events, particularly considering where I was a year ago. I appreciate all you’ve done for me. It’s really great to be able to come in and play and win.”
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The path to triumph is long and winding.
Last week, the tournament series generated a lot of attention as PokerGO attempted to replicate the excitement of NBC’s National Heads-Up Poker Showdown.
The tournament included 32 participants, including some of poker’s greatest celebrities. Fans may see the action from the highlighted match as well as other tables around the room if they tuned in.
It wasn’t simple to get to the championship. In the first round, Rheem beat Nick Schulman, and in the second, Jeremy Ausmus. In the quarterfinals, he defeated Bill Klein, and in the semifinals, he defeated Isaac Kempton.
Rheem currently boasts a total prize pool of $12.3 million from live tournaments. In March, he won a $15,000 Pot Limit Omaha tournament at the US Poker Open for $271,350.
Rheem has won three World Poker Tour championships and a PokerStars Caribbean Adventure championship in addition to PokerGO tournaments.
Elias, a four-time WPT champion, had a difficult road to the championship match as well. To get to the finals, he overcame Landon Tice, Erik Seidel, Daniel Negreanu, and Justin Young.
Rheem won the final match after an hour and 40 minutes of intense competition. The final results are shown below.
Head-to-Head Battle on the PokerGO Tour
- Rheem Chino – $400,000
- $200,000 Darren Elias
- $100,000 – Isaac Kempton
- Justin Young has a prize of $100,000.
It’s finished!!! In a hard-fought fight, @ChinoRheem defeats @DarrenElias to win the $400,000 top prize, the Golden Crown trophy, and the title of first-ever PGT Heads-Up Showdown! pic.twitter.com/NQ3wiy8PNL
April 24, 2022 — PokerGO (@PokerGO)
For Rheem, sobriety meets poker prowess.
Despite his considerable prowess at the table, Rheem has been a divisive figure at times. Rheem has been accused of stiffing several athletes on debts throughout the years.
Rheem now claims to be striving to improve himself and alter his life. For the first time in his life, he’s playing sober.
“In the poker industry, it’s no secret that I’ve had my ups and downs,” Rheem told PokerGO. “There was a time in my life when I was in a really dark place.” I’m simply thankful to have been shown the light and to have found god and the people he’s placed in my life to assist me live a much healthier, sober life. Really, I owe it everything to that.”
The victory is now a huge part of his comeback, and he had a lot of fun competing in the new event.
“The wonderful thing about this is that you just have to win your first match if you come in on Day 1,” Rheem said. “On Day 2, there’s a bit more pressure because you need to win two games and get over that hump simply to earn the money.”
“Honestly, after I got the money and won the first three bouts, I was thinking, ‘whatever happens from here, it’ll be OK.’” Things simply went my way, as I indicated in my interviews with Jeff [Platt], and I’ll take it. I can’t think of anything negative to say.”
The encounter between Hellmuth and Persson is full of back-and-forth pyrotechnics.
Phil Hellmuth, the 16-time World Series of Poker champion, was one of the most talked-about players at the Heads-Up Showdown. Hellmuth faced Maverick Gaming CEO Eric Persson in the opening round.
In Nevada, Washington, and Colorado, Maverick owns a number of casinos. In this clash, he obviously played the maverick character and came ready to battle with Hellmuth.
Throughout, the two exchanged barbs, with Persson calling Hellmuth a “double bird” at one point.
At one point, Persson stated, “The reality is, I’m going to whoop you.”
😱😱😱😱 @phil hellmuth, is this the most enraged he’s ever been? pic.twitter.com/kcy45bnywY
April 22, 2022 — PokerGO (@PokerGO)
Throughout the contest, the atmosphere got more tense. Persson seemed to rattle Hellmuth at times, and the Poker Brat even called the game off later in the game.
Hellmuth afterwards stated, “You have no chance.” “You’ve struck all of the river cards, yet you’re still dead.”
Persson was described by Hellmuth as a “narcissist” and “obnoxious.” Persson was “totally out of line,” he claimed. “What is wrong with you?” the Poker Brat subsequently inquired of Persson.
Many in the poker industry pointed out that Hellmuth’s criticism of Persson was hypocritical, given that he had been using identical techniques for years.
Hellmuth eventually regretted his role in the verbal brawls and returned on Day 2 to apologize. Persson also expressed regret for his role in the verbal sparring.
I truly apologized (now) to Eric Persson for my role in yesterday’s heads-up match’s intense “Verbal Jousting.” Eric apologized profusely to me as well, and we exchanged handshakes. Eric performed well in defeating me. pic.twitter.com/AklVCgJ7W0 #POSITIVITY
April 22, 2022 — phil hellmuth (@phil hellmuth)
* Photo courtesy of PokerGO.