Polk Wins Grudge Match Against Negreanu; Finishes $1.2M Up

Doug Polk takes Daniel Negreanu for $1.2 million in their high-profile grudge match

Doug Polk is $1.2 million richer after his grudge match against Daniel Negreanu. The high stakes specialists locked horns for the final time on February 3 and Polk emerged the victor.

Polk went into the $200/$400 No-Limit Hold’em heads-up clash as a 4-to-1 favorite. This was because of his superior experience in the heads-up world; he’s one of the best of all-time. That experience shone through and Polk’s victory was relatively straightforward.

Negreanu took an early lead during the very first session of their 25,000-hand battle. The first 200 hands took place at the Poker Central Studio in Las Vegas. Negreanu won $117,000 that day, but matters went south quickly for the Canadian.

The six-time WSOP bracelet winner suffered a damaging $101,792 defeat in the first online clash. That loss occurred over 624 hands, which meant Polk won $16,965 per hour. This session set the tone for the rest of the challenge.

Polk continued hammering Negreanu over the next few session to the point he soared into a lead of almost $1 million dollars. Poker fans didn’t believe Negreanu could claw his way back into contention. The thoughts were correct.

Polk Survives Wobble To Win Emphatically

It wasn’t all one-way traffic in the match, however. Negreanu refused to give up and looked like mounting a comeback in early January. The GGPoker ambassador won seven from eight sessions to reduce the deficit to $486,000 by January 11.

Neutral fans hoped for a Phil Galfond-esque comeback, but Polk dashed those hopes. He won four consecutive sessions, including banking $298,000 in one bout, to open up a seven-figure lead.

Credit where credit is due, Negreanu didn’t through in the towel. A $385,000 winning session, the largest of the entire challenge, gave him hope. Back-to-back $200,000+ wins for Polk, however, sent Polk’s winnings north of $1.2 million.

Polk and Negreanu Bury The Hatchet

A long-running feud between Polk and Negreanu fuelled this grudge match. The outspoken duo have been at each other’s throats for several years.

Any ill-feeling looks to be forgotten with Polk calling Negreanu a worthy opponent and revealing the pair studied together before their last encounter.

“We have talked hands and stuff here and there from the get go,” tweeted Polk, “but today we really talked about a bunch of different situations and spots from the challenge. Some really fun stuff. 1 bluff he ran I cannot f***ing believe lol. Glad we buried the hatchet. A worthy opponent.”

What Happens Next?

Polk was semi-retired from poker long before this match took place. He indicated he has zero plans to return to poker full time, and says a rematch is 100% not happening.

A video posted in September 2018 told of Polk’s intention to retire from playing poker.

“For quite some time now I have not enjoyed playing poker. It’s felt like a grind, it’s felt like work.”

He did state, however, the “poker is pretty easy to get back into if I ever change my mind.”

Polk doesn’t need to play poker. His $9.45 million in live tournament winnings and untold winnings from cash games mean he’s set for life.

Negreanu isn’t retiring. “DNegs” loves the game. He lives for it, in fact. Reading players in the live arena is Negreanu’s biggest strength. It is one of the reasons he’s accumulated more than $42 million from live tournaments.

The polarizing Canadian has vastly improved his heads-up and online poker skills. We wouldn’t be surprised to see him embark on new poker challenges. There is talk of Negreanu becoming a possible opponent for Galfond as the latter awaits new PLO opponents. That is just internet murmurings for the time being, but stranger things have happened.

Matthew Pitt

Matthew Pitt

If it’s something you can play online for real money, chances are Matthew knows a bit about it. He’s been writing about slots, craps and poker for the better part of the last decade. He’s written for PokerNews, PartyPoker and many other respected online gambling websites during the last nine years.


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