Doug Polk

Californian Polk, born at the end of 1988 in Pasadena, has not only become one of the world’s best players, but also a leading light in the poker vlogging and training worlds.

Californian Polk, born at the end of 1988 in Pasadena, has not only become one of the world’s best players, but also a leading light in the poker vlogging and training worlds.

He started out as an eSports player before poker took over his life while at college, where he gave up his degree to concentrate on poker full-time after running up an initial $20 deposit into more than $10K.

Within a few years he had become a specialist in heads-up NLHE and challenged the king of heads-up, Ben ‘Sauce123’ Sulsky to a series of matches totalling more than 15,000 hands in the autumn of 2013, at the end of which Polk was up a staggering $740,000. This also entitled him to the $100,000 side-stake for winning.

His online game was honed as part of the self-styled ‘Evil Empire’ crew alongside fellow high-stakes players Ryan Fee and Jason Mo, with Donger Kim and Jason Les as close associates, the crew sharing ideas and strategies to conquer the world of poker.

Although primarily noted for his online mastery under the name ‘WCGRider’, Polk’s live tournament winnings also stand at over $5million, and in 2015 he started up the training site Upswing Poker along with close friend Ryan Fee.

He was also part of the 4-man team to face the AI poker program Claudico in the first of several challenge matches, emerging as the biggest winner – although more recently a superior version of Claudico gained its revenge, Polk not being part of the losing team on that occasion.

Around the same time, Polk decided to start streaming and vlogging – and his intro ‘What’s up guys, Doug Polk here’ has become synonymous with excellent hand analysis and rather controversial views on fellow pros and events in the poker world’.

Polk’s outspokenness on certain subjects has led to many calling him arrogant, but he has developed a huge following in spite of, or perhaps because of, very public disagreements with the likes of Daniel Negreanu, Jason Mercier and others.

His beef with Negreanu started when Daniel claimed he could beat the $25/50 NLHE stakes with only 2 weeks of practice, which Polk described as “naïve”, whereas in Mercier’s case the falling out centred around Polk having him tagged as a ‘bad reg’ in his online tournament notes.

More recently he came under fire from English pro Luke Schwartz, who claimed among other things that Polk is a losing player online and therefore his training courses on Upswing Poker are a ‘scam’.

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