Doug Polk on Long-Time Rival Daniel Negreanu: ‘He’s a Worthy Opponent’

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Doug Polk and Daniel Negreanu have finally buried the hatchet after years of bickering. All it took was a 25,000-hand, heads-up poker challenge that was a bit more competitive than many expected.

Doug Polk Daniel Negreanu
Doug Polk and Daniel Negreanu may have recently realized they have a lot in common. (Image: Poker Central)

The poker pros began feuding in 2014 when Negreanu claimed he could beat $25/$50 No-Limit Hold’em 6-max online games after studying for a few weeks. That irked Polk, who believed the then PokerStars ambassador was being cocky and disrespectful to the grinders who work hard to hone their craft.

Polk continued verbally attacking Negreanu over the next six years for various issues, mostly petty ones. In 2018, he took out a billboard outside the Rio during the WSOP, which read “More Rake is Better,” mocking Negreanu’s claims that increased rake on PokerStars was good for the game as a whole.

To his credit, Negreanu rarely attacked Polk publicly. In fact, he often chose to ignore the insults. The feud continued into this past summer in which the Upswing Poker founder half-jokingly threw out a heads-up No-Limit Hold’em challenge. Negreanu surprisingly accepted, and the match was on.

Burying the Hatchet

Through 35 sessions totaling 23,282 hands at $200/$400 stakes on, Polk holds more than a $900,000 lead. With only 1,718 hands left to play, everyone, including Negreanu, knows who is going to win. Despite the lopsided affair, the soon-to-be winner has gained respect for his opponent.

Negreanu shared on Twitter that he and his long-time rival chatted about hand histories and war stories following their most recent match. That’s not something you’d expect from two players who, admittedly, despised each other for years.

Polk has gained respect for Negreanu, simply for taking on such a difficult challenge. The Upswing Poker founder is considered one of the best heads-up No-Limit Hold’em players in the world. So, for a live tournament specialist to tackle a game he doesn’t specialize in against, arguably, the best player in that format gave Polk newfound respect for Negreanu.

“We have talked hands and stuff here and there from the get go, 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—–g believe lol. Glad we buried the hatchet. A worthy opponent,” Polk wrote about Negreanu on Twitter.

Polk recently said he can’t wait to finish this challenge and go back into retirement. He says he no longer enjoys playing poker and has no interest in a rematch. Nor will he face new opponents.

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