Doug Polk Won a Massive Prize Last Night, and He Did it While Streaming Live!5 years ago
Not content with just being the best heads-up player in the world and also one of the best live tournament players in the world, Doug ‘WCGRider’ Polk has decided to become one of the best ‘online tournament while streaming’ players in the world!
Fast becoming a legend in modern poker, 28-year old Californian, Polk, took down the $2100 buy-in 1R1A SCOOP (Spring Championship of Online Poker) last night while streaming live on his twitch.tv/upswingpoker channel, winning $115,000 in front of a huge chunk of his 15,000 followers.
The Evil Empire
Polk, along with his buddies Jason Mo and Ryan Fee, formed the ‘Evil Empire Crew’ which also featured Donger Kim and Jason Les. Between them they absolutely mauled the high-stakes games online, working together away from the felt to produce deep and knowledgeable strategies over at their new training website.
At 19 I decided that poker was something to pursue full time,” writes Polk on his training website blog on upswingpoker.com. “I dropped out of college and moved to Las Vegas to pursue my passion.”
“As I moved up to $5/$10 and $10/$20, I gravitated more towards the six handed games. Soon, I graduated to heads up. I focused on that for a couple years, taking on all comers. Eventually, I was out of opponents to play, except one: Ben Sulsky.”
On Top of the World
Ben ‘Sauce1234’ Sulsky was widely acclaimed as the best online heads-up player at the time – and Polk absolutely hammered him in a 15K hands challenge. With $100/$200 blinds and a $20,000 buy-in with a $100,000 side-bet Polk took close to $800,000 from Sulsky.
While his fellow Evil Empire ‘ballers’ continued their brash and occasionally offensive attack on the online poker nosebleed stakes, Polk decided to expand his horizons. As he explained, “After my victory over Ben in 2013, I had reached the pinnacle of the game. Players were resistant to play me…. beginning in 2014 I started playing live tournaments.”
The hard graft paid of, and within a year and a half Polk had built up over $4,800,000 in tournament cashes, and additionally won his first ever World Series of Poker Bracelet.
Beating the Machines
Every year saw Polk setting himself a new challenge.
Q:I happen to be the kind of guy that is dedicated to success, so I would pick something and focus my energy to make that happen,” he says.
Last year he accepted a daunting challenge from Carnegie Mellon, a Leading University in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
“I took on the top computer program in the world in the game that was my stomping ground,” Polk remembers, “Heads Up No Limit Texas Hold’em.”
With the huge recent advancements in AI, the CMU computer ‘Claudico’ was a serious challenger to humanity, so Polk and his colleagues (Dong Kim, Bjorn Li, and Jason Les) were under a lot of pressure: “It was a gruelling two weeks, playing eight hours a day, all streamed live on twitch,” he explains, “but at the end of it all the humans prevailed!”
Not the least because each player had a $100K stake in the match! Never one to shy away from the limelight or scared to blow his own trumpet, Polk states proudly, “The computer was no match for us, and I lead the way to a large victory for humanity. They might have taken over chess, but we still have a fighting chance in poker!”
On the Upswing Again
Not content with just playing and winning, Polk got together with close friends Matt Colletta and Ryan Fee to launch a new training website – Upswing Poker – which is a classily-designed affair aimed at turning decent poker players into professionals equipped for the modern game.
Strategy, podcasts, and training articles are combined with the Upswing Poker Labs, teaching as they say: “exactly what we would teach ourselves if we could send the course back in time!”
“I would say I am one of, if not the, most distinguished Poker Players in the world,” states Polk, “My resume proves it.” And it’s getting extremely difficult to argue with his self-assessment.
Twitching to Get at the Big Prize
Often when you work hard at things, rewards come seemingly of their own accord. So it is for Polk, who, in April, took the inspired decision to live-stream his participation in the $700 Kilimanjaro event on PokerStars.
The result? The biggest prize ever won when streaming live on TwitchTV, a whopping $162,000, not to mention a massive increase in his followers and viewers coming along on the back of it.
While last night's win was not quite as big as this, it does go to show that his wins are not only huge, but extremely consistent.
For many, TwitchTV IS the future of poker, as live streaming seemingly offers everything a fan and player needs. Jason ‘jcarver’ Somerville proved that the numbers were there, hitting and surpassing the 10million viewer mark in March of this year.
If Doug ‘WCGRider’ Polk continues his winning ways and his pushing to be the best in every form and format of poke, the future should be rather bright indeed.
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