Hellmuth and Negreanu Twitter Feud Ends in Crossbook Bet

Daniel Negreanu called Phil Hellmuth "delusional" about his tournament chances in an article - strong words from Kid Poker to the Poker Brat. Evidently, Hellmuth didn't take kindly to it and responded on Twitter. The feud eventually turned into a giant crossbooking bet - even Doug Polk got involved.

“Phil kind of lives in his own world and the difference between him and I is that I have a deep respect for these players [the new generation] and think they’re amazing. I know that they are – I don’t assume. When I see myself not picked in a fantasy draft – it’s feedback for me, why is it offensive? These guys have worked real hard on their game the past couple years where I haven’t, and Phil thinks he’s the one seed – it’s delusional. It’s not real life.”

These are the words, spoken by Daniel Negreanu and published in an article on Poker Central's website that stoked up the poker world's latest high-profile social media beef. After Dutch poker pro Remko Rinkema tweeted out the piece, Hellmuth swiftly responded, saying: "I am always the #1 seed in no limit Hold'em tourneys DNegs, best ROI in history kid. And yes, I agree: one of us is delusional..."

Hellmuth often makes the claim that he has the best ROI in poker history, citing an old article from Doug Polk's poker coaching website Upswing Poker. That article, however, never claims that - it only analyzed Hellmuth's performance in WSOP tournaments between 2005 and 2015, and determined that he had an extremely high ROI, 250% in that sample.

The truth is live tournament ROI, unlike live tournament earnings is not kept track of by any official or semi-official body like the Hendon Poker Database or HighstakesDB. So Hellmuth's purported record is by no means a fact.

But the Twitter exchange between two of poker's all time greats did not end there.

Negreanu wrote, "I don't think you are being realistic Phil but I'm not surprised. Your disrespect for this generation only hurts your own growth. Instead of learning from them you choose to berate them. You do you, and I'll learn from them what I can. Good luck." To which Hellmuth replied: "I respect them. I berate everyone (Poker Brat!), and I always learn and improve. But I see too many flaws to concede they are better."

This is coming after Hellmuth beat two famous young online NLHE heads-up specialists, "Jungleman" Cates and Polk in the King of the Hill heads-up championship, but was vastly outperformed in the Poker Masters by the younger players, the likes of Fedor Holz and the winner of the Purple Jacket Steffen Sontheimer. At some point at the final table in Event #2 Hellmuth leveled a classic Poker Brat-style tirade at Tom Marchese after he got bluffed on the river by the nut low, asking "What the fuck are they doing?" and saying "I wish I could play with you guys everyday" - probably this is where Negreanu got the idea of Hellmuth disrespecting the new generation.

Things only escalated between Hellmuth and Negreanu later, to the point where Negreanu was challenged to book - meaning if Hellmuth wins more money on poker than a person on the list, Negreanu has to pay Hellmuth the difference; and if one of Negreanu's guys earns more, Hellmuth pays DNegs the difference  - 40 young poker pros against Phil Hellmuth, which he did. Negreanu shared his list on Twitter.

At this point Doug Polk got in the mix too, noting the fact he's missing from Negreanu's list despite his impressive track record. Negreanu claimed he did not pick him because of Hellmuth's heads-up victory against him - but the reason may be more personal. Polk often poked fun at Negreanu for defending PokerStars, the poker room that is sponsoring him, for increasing the rake at their tables, even saying "more rake is actually better" in an interview. Negreanu walked back his comments later. The troubled history of the two continues, now involving Phil Hellmuth too, as Polk offered to crossbook both of them.

This is some real high stakes booking action. Phil Hellmuth seems to be excited about it too, as he wrote to Daniel Negreanu "Can't wait to win next @WSOP bracelet for $800k x 20 ($16 million from you)". We'll see how it goes for him.