With Isildur1 receding into the rearview, the pokerverse is hungry for a new high stakes story. Could Andy Beal’s rumored return be the remedy?

Rumor’s of Beal’s return were started in a growing thread on 2+2, which asserts that Beal was seen in a game with Eli Elezra and Jennifer Harman at the Bellagio over the weekend.

Beal was made famous the the public at large via Michael Craig’s book “The Professor, The Banker and The Suicide King”, which detailed the millionaire banker’s quest to challenge the best of poker’s high stakes elite. Hundreds of thousands – millions, really – changed hands during that match which, despite being witnessed by several people (and often Craig himself) remain the subject of some controversy. Some players have claimed to have won massive sums off of Beal, which Beal has denied, and there’s no consensus on the accurate record of that first match, which occurred in 2003.

After swearing off poker following that match, Beal made a much-publicized return to the felt in 2006 for a second round. This match was, as you might suspect, far more publicized and extensively chronicled. Beal took a huge chunk from a variety of pros – in excess of $10 million – before handing it all back and more by dropping $16 million in a heads up match with Phil Ivey. Michael Craig wrote about that match in a series of articles for Bluff. Excerpt:

At 12:32pm, Andy Beal won the last of his opponents’ $10 million. By 12:45, I knew he was destined to lose it back.

If Andy had been trying to “get poker out of his system” or “prove to himself” that he could play with the best in the world, this convincing four-day win gave him the opportunity for closure. But when he offered to follow the pros to LA, where they had a World Poker Tour event starting the next day, I knew the game had to go on until he lost enough money to become disgusted with poker.

While those numbers are obviously disgusting, they’re more than reasonable swings when you’re playing 50k/100k limit heads up.

Some have suggested Beal’s return is just a casual departure from business he’s doing in Vegas, and that may well be the case – Beal and his bank have been quite busy over the last year or two snapping up assets in the tumultuous financial industry. With all of that on his plate, it’s a bit hard to imagine that Beal would welcome the grind of high-stakes heads up, especially given the amount of preparation and time involved for him to get to the level of play he would expect of himself.

Updates as they happen.

$8,000 isn’t a lot to Beal, but it is to most poker players. That’s how much you could earn from the 2010 PTP Rake Challenge, running now. Get all the details here.