Doug Polk Takes $264k Lead in Heads-Up Challenge Against Daniel Negreanu

  • The two opponents have played 11 sessions; Polk has won the last three
  • Before his current losing streak, Negreanu had won five of six sessions to build a lead
  • Both players feel that they are playing well, regardless of what the scoreboard says
  • Polk is a prohibitive favorite right now on poker betting sites
Two knights jousting in silhouette
With 20% of the hands in the books, Doug Polk has extended his lead over Daniel Negreanu to $264k in their heads-up poker challenge. [Image:]

Polk quickly building cushion

One-fifth of the way through his heads-up poker challenge against Daniel Negreanu, Doug Polk has much for which to be thankful. After Wednesday’s session, the last before Thanksgiving, Polk has built his lead to over a quarter-million dollars.

Tweeting about the match afterward, Polk called it a “quiet day,” as there were no all-in pots. The “small-mid pots” hit for Polk, however, as he profited $120,023.59 in Session 11 to take his overall positive total to $264,019.75.

I don’t know how I only lost 3 buy ins in today’s session but I’m thankful for it!”

Negreanu was a bit frustrated that he had pocket Aces four times, only to not get any action from Polk with any of them. He was still pleasantly upbeat after the bad day, getting into the holiday spirit by tweeting: “I don’t know how I only lost 3 buy ins in today’s session but I’m thankful for it!”

The two men have now played 5,067 hands, more than 20% to the 25,000 goal. Whichever player is losing at the halfway point can call it quits. Alternatively, the two players can decide to up the stakes after 12,500 hands if they so choose. The next bout on will take place on Saturday, November 28.

Negreanu had been rolling

In our last update, Polk was leading by about $75,000 after six sessions. Despite his current lead, however, it hasn’t been all bad for Negreanu. The Poker Hall of Famer had a massive Session 7, winning $222,832.70 over 591 hands. It was the second-longest session of the challenge to that point and the winningest day either player had enjoyed.

Polk called Negreanu’s pre-flop strategy “insane”

Negreanu won again the next session, banking another $24,156.82 to go up by $179,363.71. He was clearly annoying Polk, as Polk called Negreanu’s pre-flop strategy “insane.” Polk said his opponent had either found the “holy grail” of pre-flop solutions or he was simply just playing poorly and getting away with it.

Daniel Negreanu was on a roll, winning five of six sessions, but Polk finally got back on track in Session 9 late last week. In 377 hands, he profited $205,521.74 to take a slight lead of $26,371.78. For almost every person on the planet, that would not qualify as a “slight” lead, but in this game, that’s less than a single buy-in. Both players said they felt they played well, regardless of the results, with Polk happy that he came out on the winning end in some “cooler spots.”

Monday’s Session 10 was the longest in terms of hands, as the two blew through 852 hands. Polk had another big day, ending about $117,000 in the black to up his overall lead at the time to over $143,000. Negreanu commented later that he got caught with his hand “in the cookie jar” a few times, getting picked off on some ill-timed bluffs.

Feels like Polk’s game to lose

Doug Polk was considered the heavy favorite going into the heads-up challenge and still very much is now that his lead has grown with a fifth of the challenge in the rear-view. PokerShares has the current odds to win at 1.08 for Polk and 8.50 for Negreanu. That’s the equivalent of Polk as a -1,250 favorite and Negreanu as a +750 underdog. In other words, PokerShares is saying Polk is all but a lock to win, even with 20,000 hands remaining.

The reason Polk has been such a large favorite – even before a single hand was dealt – was because he is an online poker specialist. Now retired, he was a poker pro not too long ago, considered one of the best heads-up online players in the world. Negreanu is in the Poker Hall of Fame, but he has earned his money mostly in live poker. The two games, while both poker, are quite different, and Negreanu has readily admitted that he is at a disadvantage.

This heads-up challenge has its origins in 2014, when Negreanu said that he believed he could beat high stakes online games with some practice. The internet poker world laughed at the notion and Polk specifically called him naïve. Since then, the two have engaged in various poker spats, leading up to this opportunity to settle things on the felt.

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