High Stakes Feud streamed online live from Aria casino
After a long night for many watching the US election results come in, another heads-up battle kicked off Wednesday evening between two poker opponents whose history includes nearly as many Twitter tirades as the two presidential candidates.
Poker Hall of Famer Daniel Negreanu faced off against Doug Polk, an online heads-up specialist and founder of poker training site Upswing poker, in the PokerGo studio of the Aria casino in Las Vegas. The two played 200 hands of live No Limit Texas Hold’em poker as they kicked off their grudge match – dubbed the High Stakes Feud by PokerGo as a follow-up to their recently concluded High Stakes Duel that saw the Poker Brat, Phil Helmuth, sweep away the Magician, Antonio Esfandiari.
The two will play a total of 25,000 hands of heads-up NLHE at blinds of $200/$400. There’s an option for either player to back out at the halfway mark – or if both agree then the stakes can be doubled. Polk is favoured by many online poker players but Negreanu gave three reasons he’s willing to go ahead with the challenge.
Why would I accept a match as a huge underdog?
1) I can afford it.
2) I love Rocky movies too much
3) My wife thinks it’s hot
Not necessarily in that order. https://t.co/hzPjSfrdyc
— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) November 5, 2020
A long history of battles between Negreanu and Polk
While both players have a solid poker resume including being multiple WSOP bracelet winners (Negreanu’s six top Polk’s three), there is little love lost between the two, and the feud has been ongoing since about 2014 when Polk to exception to Negreanu’s claim he could beat $25/$50 NLHE with two weeks practice.
Since then the two have traded barbs both online and even at live tourneys with Polk infamously wearing a “More Rake is Better” t-shirt to televised poker tournaments when he knew he would be at the same table as Negreanu. The comment is in reference to Negreanu’s comments that higher rake from poker sites can be better to allow for promotions to draw in recreational players – a comment Polk and much of the online poker community felt strongly against.
The t-shirt may have a bit of a lucky charm to it though as Polk took down a WSOP bracelet and $3.69 million at the tourney he wore it in 2017. It’s the second appearance though led to Negreanu taking second and $3 million in the 2019 Super High Roller Bowl so for now the shirt appears to have been retired.
Plenty of action (and bluffs) in live-action
Polk did come out of “semi-retirement” for this challenge and may have had a bit of rust showing as he made an $8,500 bluff with Ace high on the river of the first hand that was called by Negreanu’s pair of Kings. A small comeback occurred for Polk as the match went on but Negreanu started to put on the pressure as the game got closer to its end.
With 30 hands to go, Negreanu and Polk slowly built a pot up to nearly $40,000 by the river with neither player connecting – yet Polk’s Ace high being the best hand. Negreanu fired a $34,000 bet and Polk couldn’t find a reason to call folding and continuing his downward slide. One of the final hands of the night had Polk attempt a $55,000 river bluff only to be called by Negreanu’s three of a kind. When the action wrapped up for the evening, Negreanu was the big winner up by $117,000.
There’s plenty of poker ahead in the challenge and Polk didn’t take the initial loss too hard. He remains the odds-on favourite to come out a winner with most laying him 4 to 1 odds to win. Still, it must sting to receive this message from your own father after the night’s action.
Getting ready for bed and I get a text from my dad "Doug had a rough night, lost 100k". Then texted back, oh wrong person.
— Doug Polk (@DougPolkVids) November 5, 2020
Heads-up battle moves online next
After taking Thursday off, the match will move to the virtual felt with Negreanu and Polk continuing the action online at wsop.com, a poker site open only to individuals physically present in the state of Nevada. Action will kick off Friday afternoon but poker players looking to test their skills at HU NLHE can head on over to GGPoker that always has a table ready and doesn’t require players to be in Nevada.