Sunday, June 12, 2011: Juanda just too good for Hellmuth in the $10,000 No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Championship
 
Late Saturday night at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, the question on everyone's lips was "is Phil Hellmuth going to win his 12th WSOP bracelet?"  Alas, it was not to be as John Juanda gained the ascendency in the heads up and eventually took down event 16, the $10,000 buy-in No-Limit 2-7 Lowball Championship.
 
Hellmuth and Juanda clashed in a tough heads up at the end of the third and last day of the event following the elimination of Richard Ashby in third place by Hellmuth earlier in the evening.
 
The two had started Saturday among a surviving field of nine, all that was left from the initial starting lineup of 126 that included some of the best players in the business. An indication of the quality of the field was the fact that no fewer than 21 bracelets were represented around the table, with only Joe Cassidy yet to achieve the honour.
 
John Juanda could boast four bracelets and a WSOP-E Main Event title; Greg Raymer won the main event in 2005 whilst Richard Ashby, David Baker, Steve Sung, Hasan Habib, and Nick Schulman all own WSOP bracelets.
 
Ashby led the field when play re-commenced, with Hellmuth down at seventh in chip counts.
 
By 7 pm PST Hellmuth had improved to lead in chip counts on 1.1 million, but Ashby was chasing hard and was just 100 000 chips behind him, well ahead of third positioned Juanda who had just shy of 600 000. By then the first eliminations had taken place, with Greg Raymer headed for the exit and Joe Cassidy following him a little later.
 
The action was brisk from there, and by mid-evening Richard Ashby was on his way home, eliminated in third place to set the scene for a promising heads up between John Juanda and Hellmuth.  Ashby had the disappointment of busting out of his second WSOP final table, but the consolation of a $143 000 pay day.
 
Juanda and Hullmuth immediately got down to the business of deciding the winner, and the lead moved back and forth as the duo battled on into the night, with Hellmuth occasionally grandstanding in his usual style, but playing with skill and aggression.
 
At level 26 and just before midnight it was all over, with Juanda having dominated the closing stages of the game to take the bracelet – his fifth – and the $367 170 main prize.
 
Hellmuth, denied a new record, at least collected a second placing check for $226,907.