The Ultimate Breakdown of the Daniel Negreanu Vs Doug Polk Grudge Match

3 weeks ago
The Ultimate Breakdown of the Daniel Negreanu Vs Doug Polk Grudge Match
10:52
02 Jan

It’s been one of the biggest talking points of a bizarre 2020, and now that Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk have reached the halfway of a hoped-for 25,000-hand Grudge Match, and today we are going to review the past two months of their heads-up battle!

But first…breaking news that Daniel Negreanu will NOT be taking the escape clause that would allow him to quit the match right now!


The bad blood between two of poker’s most successful, popular and influential players goes back many years, and you can check out the history here, but 2020 saw it reach new levels. They decided to settle it in good old-fashioned style, with a heads-up straightener, and the rules were agreed as follows

  • Rule #1: Online NLHE $200/$400 across two tables simultaneously
  • Rule #2: Play will take place on WSOP.com, each player loading $1million onto the site.
  • Rule #3: Match will consist of 25,000 hands, losing player at halfway point allowed to buy out.
  • Rule #4: Preflop charts, HUDs and hand trackers are not allowed.
  • Rule #5: Hole cards will be shown for a portion of the match only at the PokerGo studio.

Rule 5 saw the duelling duo kick off with a short live session, Negreanu off to a flyer with a $116k win, but playing highstakes HUNL online – Polk’s exact hunting ground as a pro – was never going to be comfortable for DNegs, despite his setup!

With the betting odds showing the Canadian GGPoker ambassador at 4-1 on a good day, the first couple of days fighting it out over two tables on WSOP.com seemed to reflect that well, Polk bagging almost $350k in the first two sessions.

It would also become a running joke that Polk could ‘dodge bullets baby’ while his long-time enemy wasn’t so lucky – a stack lost below on the first day’s online play…

Polk:AA

Negreanu:79

Board:85889  

DNegs bounced back though, winning four of the next five sessions and gaining a measure of respect from his arch-enemy after landing six-figure sessions of his own, the match being commented on and shared widely on various poker sites and platforms…


It wasn’t all sunshine and roses though, as Bill Perkins stuck his oar in and caused a huge stooshie about the rules, rule 4 in particular, with Polk incensed at Perkins’ interference and others such as Will Jaffe below joining in the general melee…

…and the match kept on track only after Phil Galfond took time out from his own online battle with Chance Kornuth to play peacemaker!

Once the match was back on track, four big days in a row for the Upswing Poker guru saw him stretch out to a $600,000 lead after having a “dream session” as the pair crossed swords for the 12th time in less than a month. 

As is clear from the graph and session-by -session accounts below, Negreanu was able to match Polk in the number of sessions being won, 11 each on that score, but Polk’s ability to extract more than DNegs had the Canadian legend trailing by numbers approaching $1million!

Both men had loaded that amount onto WSOP.com, and it was Negreanu who had to rebuy, with only 10,000 of the planned 25,000 hands played.

Never one to back down from a fight or quit, DNegs then somehow pulled out two face-saving wins out of the bag, and although Polk managed a six-figure Christmas session, Negreanu booked  a stack-and-a-bit win as the pair hit the halfway point.


The big question on everyone’s lips and minds was whether or not Daniel would take the easy-way-out and quit, having put up a great battle in a match nobody gave him a chance in.

The answer, as the opening tweet shows, came on New Year’s Day, with Negreanu stating:

“As agreed upon in the rules I have the option to quit. That is not going to happen. The second half resumes Monday, Jan 4th 2:30pm.”

Poker fans will be delighted at the news and the next big question or two must be… Can Negreanu pull back from a $760,000 deficit? Can Polk make it to $1million and push on?

The clever money must still be on Polk for most bets, but with DNegs having run quite bad so far, another 12,500 hands may well see that ‘luck factor’ reverse…or so Daniel will be hoping!


Here are the session breakdowns of the Negreanu-Polk match so far:

1200   
DNegs   
$116,500
2424   
Polk    
218,292
3382   
Polk    
116,239
4366   
DNegs    
87,166
5365   
DNegs  
206,994
6637   
Polk    
93,542
7591   
DNegs  
222,832
8457   
DNegs
24,156
9377
Polk    
205,521
10852   
Polk  
117,624
11416   
Polk     
120,023
12684   
Polk         
332,178
13476
DNegs 
17,780
14788   
DNegs 
13,000
15452   
DNegs 
46,581
16824   
Polk     
160,348
17662   
Polk     
101,713
18980   
Polk     
173,362
19834   
DNegs 
143,642
20534   
DNegs 
117,962
21904   
Polk     
114,140
22279
DNegs 
46,000


Number of winning sessions:
Dnegs 11
Polk 11


Total:
12,500
Polk  +$770,254






















Articles 1995

Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more

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