Latest session leaves Daniel Negreanu in huge hole

Thanksgiving weekend was a chance for many Americans to take a break and connect with family – albeit with many resorting to virtual meetings. For two poker players, the holiday was a short one as Daniel Negreanu’s heads-up grudge match against Doug Polk continued on the virtual felt Saturday.

The two now have completed twelve sessions of their battle and are about 20% of the way through their 25,000-hand heads-up challenge. While Negreanu took the initial lead in their one live match, once the games shifted online things started to even out with Polk taking down wins in the last four meetings between the two. A quick glance at the graph below (taken from the perspective of Polk’s winnings) demonstrates how he has pulled ahead by nearly 15 buy-ins at $200/$400 limits they are playing.

Heads-up No Limit Hold’em though one of the highest levels of variance in poker, so the 15 buy-in deficit can be somewhat attributed to a good run of cards. Fans of Polk– the clear online betting favourite – cite this as his talent shining through after a rough early start. The face of GGPoker and Canadian pro, Negreanu, on the other hand, sees this is a string of bad luck and he remains happy with his play.

After losing over $332,000 in Saturday’s match, Negreanu put together a video recap of the big hands of the day. Take a look at the video below as he cheekily goes over how to blow $300,000 in just three hours – a loss that puts him just shy of $600,000 in the hole versus Polk.


One first glance, Negreanu does appear to be getting unlucky a few times with Polk’s draws getting there on the river and him getting little to no action the couple of times he had pocket Aces. Polk has been open about him spending the majority of his downtime between matches going over hand histories as he dissects Negreanu’s playing style and perhaps that studying is starting to pay off. Negreanu, known to be one of the best hand readers live may be falling a bit behind on the online prowess of Polk.

Once the match hits 12,500 hands, either player has the option to call it a day or double the stakes – assuming the other player agrees. Most of the poker community is rooting for doubling the action and with Neagreanu and Polk both feeling that they are playing their best, it could be a real possibility.

Polk lines up another possible superstar challenge

Throughout both the run-up to and during the grudge match, Polk has been active on Twitter boasting about his ability in online Heads-Up No Limit Hold’em. One of poker’s all time legends, Doyle Brunson, took to Twitter to reminisce about the “old” way of playing poker, “face to face, ante up and deal.” He capped it off with #cutcheatsheets – a slight dig at Polk’s insistence on being able to use pre-flop charts and other aides that wouldn’t normally be found at a casino poker table.

Never one to ignore a challenge, Polk offered to play the living legend in person in his favoured No Limit Hold’em format. Brunson didn’t earn his ten World Series of Poker bracelets by allowing his opponents to pull one over on him so he countered Polk’s offer with a simple game of Razz which Polk countered with a suggestion of his own.

With the ball now back in Brunson’s court and the offer of playing a Mixed 8 game to favour both players skillset, next year could continue a trend the poker world saw a lot of in 2020 – heads-up matches with poker pros taking on the world.

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Hi Guys! I am Marc Kitch and one of the Content Managers at YourPoker Dream. As a recreational poker player for over a decade, I’ll bring you the latest in news, views and general advice from the world of online and live poker.

· Published 01.12.2020 · last updated 01.12.2020

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