At long last, Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk will soon square off in a heads-up poker match. The feuding poker players have, after all these years, agreed to play. But the details — structure and stakes — are still being discussed.
Polk retired from the game last year, citing a lack of continued interest in poker. He claims playing cards gives him anxiety. The three-time WSOP bracelet winner even discontinued creating content for his popular YouTube poker channel earlier this year.
But it appears settling a score against a bitter rival is the cure for his anxiety. Polk, four years after he began verbally attacking Negreanu on Twitter and on his YouTube channel, finally offered up a heads-up challenge. And, once the feuding poker stars dot the Is and cross the Ts, the poker world will have one of its most anticipated heads-up matches in quite some time — perhaps since the 2009/2010 Durrrr Challenges between Tom Dwan and Patrik Antonius, and Dan “Jungleman” Cates.
Negreanu Accepts Challenge
Polk, once considered one of the top heads-up No-Limit Hold’em online specialists in the world, challenged Negreanu, who admittedly specializes in live tournament poker. So, the edge appears to be on the challenger’s side. Even so, Negreanu didn’t back down.
“You worked hard for this opportunity. I’ll give the people what they want,” Negreanu wrote on Twitter in response to Polk’s offer.
Polk, as expected, wants to play a heavy dose of high-stakes No-Limit Hold’em online. Negreanu, also as expected, prefers a mix of NLH and another poker variant in hopes of getting an edge. The structure and stakes have yet to be determined.
Both players agree that live-streaming the match for free is a good idea. The battle won’t begin until at least September. Negreanu, an ambassador for GGPoker, is headed to Mexico this weekend to compete in the WSOP Online Bracelet Series, which runs until Sep. 1.
He proposed beginning the challenge in mid-September or early October, and Polk said that timetable works for him.
What’s this Feud All About?
Negreanu accused Polk of being bitter toward him because the then PokerStars ambassador didn’t recommend Polk’s Upswing Poker training course years ago. The six-time bracelet winner told CardsChat News the initial feud began at least four years ago when he defended Jason Mercier against Polk’s insults.
Polk dubbed Mercier a “bad reg,” meaning he isn’t a very good poker player. Mercier, the 2016 WSOP Player of the Year, has quite an impressive live tournament resume, however, having cashed for more than $20 million, including five World Series of Poker bracelets.
In the years following, the Upswing Poker founder continued his dispute with the Poker Hall of Famer of whom he was once a fan. He frequently ripped on Negreanu for defending PokerStars against increased rake and the poker site’s removal of its longstanding rewards programs.
In 2018, Polk masterfully trolled the then PokerStars ambassador by wearing a shirt that read, “More Rake is Better,” while seated next to Negreanu at the Super High Roller Bowl. He went one step further a few days later when he purchased a billboard outside the Rio in Las Vegas during the WSOP promoting his site, MoreRakeIsBetter.com.
Since then, and despite being “retired” from poker, Polk has continued to verbally attack Negreanu on social media. He recently posted a video to his YouTube channel making fun of Negreanu’s WSOP live-stream tirade last week. That video, due to a terms of service violation, has since been removed.
Perhaps, the heads-up match will put an end to this bitter feud once and for all.