Fresh off Phil Hellmuth’s victory against Daniel Negreanu last week, at least one poker player would like to get a piece of Hellmuth for his own chance at beating the 15-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner.
The latest challenge comes from All-Time Tournament Money Winner Bryn Kenney, who tweeted this over the weekend
What’s all this white magic and apexpredator shit I’m hearing @Phil_hellmuth . We know who is king of the hill, but if you want your shot at the top let’s put up a million each and give the people what they want
— Bryn Kenney (@BrynKenney) April 3, 2021
Although Kenney has apparently not received a yes or a no from Hellmuth, he did manage to attract the attention of Phil Galfond, who has not backed out of a Galfond Challenge event against any player to date. Despite not committing to a match, Hellmuth did make a comment on Kenney communicating respect fo rthe player.
Bryn – I have massive respect for you, I actually think you have a shot at becoming the poker GOAT (because you play all the games so well). Matusow thinks your the best! When you say I’m getting crushed at High Rollers, and it’s NOT true, seems like an attack on my legacy https://t.co/embz3m6H6y
— phil_hellmuth (@phil_hellmuth) April 3, 2021
Who is Bryn Kenney?
Bryn Kenney doesn’t enjoy the household name recognition of a Brunson, Ivey, Hellmuth or Negreanu — much to his dismay — but Kenney has still become one of the world’s best poker players over the last 10 years. As one of the faces of the new school of poker player, Bryn Kenney has amassed enough tournament winnings to put him on top of the Hendon Mob all-time money list.
He’s taken the lead on the all-time money list during a boom of Super High Roller events — which are generally characterized as tournaments with buy-ins north of $25,000 and usually smaller fields.
The exclusivity and small fields have caused some to question whether Kenney’s road to the top of the money list has been comparatively easier than other players such as Negreanu (eight out of the top 10 players have earned a large portion of their winnings at Super High Rollers). But regardless of how you feel about these tournaments, Kenney has proven that he is one of the best at these events, over a long period of time.
Would Hellmuth take the bait?
Despite the fact that Kenney has very publically shared his interest in a heads-up match it takes two to tango and is probably unlikely to play Phil Hellmuth.
Anybody that follows poker, including Hellmuth himself, knows that Phil Hellmuth is one of the most accomplished poker players in the entire world. But Hellmuth has seemed to be hesitant to play or engage the newer-school of “GTO” poker player types playing at the highest stakes, perhaps becomes many of these players don’t have the star power of some of the “old school” pros.
In one way, Hellmuth is content to boast of his laundry list of accomplishments in poker but at times has seemed annoyed that he doesn’t get respect from younger poker players or fans. While some new school poker players seem to salivate at the chance to play a pro with what some seem as a dated strategy ripe for exploitation, Hellmuth has been balked at super high roller tournaments and playing these players.
Plus, poker is not Hellmuth’s main focus these days. He is also a businessman who has his eyes set on the bigger pictures — a successful business — rather than feeling the need to prove himself to yet another “young punk poker player.”
For Hellmuth to have the desire to play a player like Kenney he would likely need to feel he has a sizable advantage against him, one that would be worth his time.
If a heads-up match were to happen, perhaps it could be in the High Stakes Duel match with a bit lower stakes — at least initially. Indeed, perhaps Kenney’s efforts to get a match to happen is a prelude to a future High Stakes Duel match.
But before that could happen, Hellmuth still has eyes on Daniel Negreanu.
What’s next in the Hellmuth vs Negreanu High Stakes Feud?
During the first match of the Hellmuth vs Negreanu High Stakes Feud match, Phil Hellmuth staged an epic comeback against Negreanu, down by a chip ratio of around 97 to 3 at one point. He finished the match with all the chips, once again defying the odds and proving how you can never count out Phil Hellmuth.
But the match is not over. Daniel Negreanu has already successfully challenged Phil Hellmuth to a rematch where the stakes will be doubling to $100,000 per player. That match is set to happen sometime over the next month. Depending on how that goes, this match could still go on for months due to its format.
So while Bryn Kenney vs Phil Hellmuth could happen at some point, it likely won’t be anytime soon, especially while Hellmuth has arguably better, more high-profile options.