Are you ready for the upcoming Doug Polk vs. Daniel Negreanu heads-up poker grudge match? If so, we have all the details about what just might be the most anticipated heads-up poker competition in history (no disrespect to the “Durrrr Challenge”).
The high-stakes competition begins Nov. 4 live at the PokerGo Studio in Las Vegas. Both players have agreed to turn the online poker challenge into a live poker contest early on, but they’ll only play 200 hands on a physical felt. After that, they’re off to the WSOP.com poker site in Nevada for the remaining 12,300 hands (minimum).
Once those hands are all complete, the losing player will have the option to request an additional 12,500 hands, for a total of 25,000 hands. Unless one of the players is getting absolutely crushed, it’s likely they’ll play the full 25,000 hands.
Negreanu and Polk have agreed to play at the $200/$400 stakes in the game of No-Limit Texas Hold’em. There will most certainly be some live-streams available once the competition shifts to WSOP.com. The first 200 hands, however, will air for free on the PokerGo app, Poker Central’s YouTube channel, and Poker Central’s Facebook page.
For those who wish to pull up the tables via the WSOP.com website without watching a stream, you must be located in Nevada or New Jersey. Those outside those states cannot access WSOP.com games.
Negreanu vs. Polk: The Feud
Neither player hides the fact they don’t particularly like their opponent. Prior to becoming a superstar online poker pro, Polk was a big fan of Negreanu — as are millions of poker fans. But something changed in 2014, as he claims in the following match preview video.
"The guy is completely delusional" – @DougPolkVids
"When you see him in person he's much softer, that's very typical for online trolls" – @realkidpoker
High Stakes Feud | Wed. Nov. 4 5pm PT/8pm ET
— PokerGO (@PokerGO) November 3, 2020
Polk took offense to Negreanu claiming in 2014 he could beat the $25/$50 cash games online with just two weeks of study.
“The guy is completely delusional,” Polk said in the video.
A couple of years later, the Upswing Poker founder then took issue with Negreanu’s defense of PokerStars, the poker site he represented for a dozen years, following rake increases and the removal of its long-standing high-roller loyalty rewards program (Supernova Elite).
Negreanu hinted in a 2017 video that increased rake is actually better for the recreational players as it scares away some of the pros. Polk took offense to that comment and repeatedly attacked him with a “More Rake is Better” campaign, mocking the six-time WSOP bracelet winner.
At the 2018 WSOP in Las Vegas, Polk purchased a billboard outside the Rio reading “MoreRakeIsBetter.com.” Days earlier, at the $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl, he wore a shirt that read “More Rake is Better” while seated next to Negreanu.
The feud has continued since, although Negreanu mostly avoids responding to Polk’s attacks. But he just couldn’t ignore Polk’s heads-up challenge this past summer.
Who’s the Favorite?
Negreanu is one of the top multi-table live poker tournament players of all time, and he’s made millions of dollars playing No-Limit Hold’em. But he’s a massive underdog in this challenge for a few reasons, most notably because Polk is considered one of the best online heads-up No-Limit players in history.
Another reason for Negreanu’s underdog status is due to the length of the challenge. If he and Polk played just a few hundred hands, variance (aka luck) would come into play. With the potential to play 25,000 hands, however, the luck factor is minimized and the player who is most skilled and experienced in this format should, theoretically, come out ahead.
There is one caveat though, which could help Negreanu’s chances. Polk “retired” from poker a couple of years ago and hasn’t played regularly since 2017. Sure, he’s been prepping hard for the challenge, taking on a variety of heads-up competitors over the past couple of months. But Negreanu’s best path to victory is to hope Polk is rusty and off his game.
You can expect this epic grudge match to last for a couple of months. Polk and Negreanu have agreed to play for at least two hours each day, four days per week, two tables at a time on WSOP.com.