Daniel Negreanu, Doug Polk Finalize Heads-Up Challenge Details

  • The match will be 25,000 hands of $200/$400 No-Limit Hold’em
  • Halfway through, the losing player can give up or they can increase the stakes
  • WSOP.com will be the venue, as both players live in Nevada
Cowboy showdown at sunset
Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk will kickoff their heads-up poker grudge match on November 1 at WSOP.com. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

25,000 hands starting November 1

In July, Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk agreed to compete in a heads-up poker “grudge match,” though they had not agreed on all the details. As of Tuesday, it appears that the what, when, and where have all been set.

The men will play two simultaneous tables of $200/$400 No-Limit Hold’em, something we knew already. This summer, Polk preferred to play 25,000 hands, while Negreanu wanted to come way down from that, closer to 10,000. Polk won this negotiation in the end, as the heads-up battle will last 25,000 hands.

at 12,500 hands, the players can agree to increase the stakes

Once they get to the halfway point, however, the person that is losing has the option to quit. There does not seem to be any punishment for this, aside from a hit to one’s pride and the inability to dig out of the hole. Additionally, at 12,500 hands, the players can agree to increase the stakes.

Stacks will start at 100 big blinds and will be automatically topped-off if they fall below that level. This way, neither player will get stuck ultra-short-stacked in a session.

The face off will commence on Sunday, November 1. Negreanu has said he is willing to play up to two hours per day, four days a week, but no set schedule has been made public.

WSOP.com is the arena

The match will be contested on WSOP.com, much to the chagrin of Negreanu. The Poker Hall of Famer had lobbied for the competition to be on GGPoker, the online poker room for which he is a brand ambassador. It is also the software with which he is most familiar, as he also plays on the site, so it is understandable that he would want to play where he is comfortable.

both Polk and Negreanu live in Las Vegas and thus can play from home

No reason was given as to why the match is on WSOP.com, but is almost certainly because both Polk and Negreanu live in Las Vegas and thus can play from home. It would be an unnecessary hassle to travel out of the country during a pandemic when they have an easy, at-home option.

Though Negreanu has played plenty on WSOP.com, notoriously flying off the handle during the World Series of Poker Online when he experienced technical issues and threatening a viewer of his Twitch stream in a separate incident, he tweeted that he could use some practice.

The proceedings will also be streamed on PokerGO, but details have not been hammered out yet.

Six years in the making

This heads-up match is the culmination of several years of bad blood between Negreanu and Polk. In 2014, Negreanu, a live poker specialist, opined that with a bit of practice, he could beat the high stakes online cash games. Polk, one of the best online heads-up players in the world back then (he retired from poker in 2019), called him naïve.

The following year, Negreanu defended a rake increase by PokerStars, the poker room he worked with at the time, by taking the position that higher rake was good for recreational players. Much of the poker community mocked him, including Polk, who even put up a billboard outside the Rio in 2018 to direct people to the website MoreRakeIsBetter.com.

Things were fairly calm until Negreanu’s live stream tirade that got him banned from Twitch. Polk spoke out against Negreanu, going so far as to posting a parody of the Hall of Famer’s Masterclass commercial on YouTube. Poker vlogger Joey Ingram suggested the two settle their differences in a poker match and here we are.