Everything Going Doug Polk’s Way in Heads-Up Grudge Match

3 min read

Doug Polk is catching everything in sight in every big pot it seems, and he now leads Daniel Negreanu by a country mile in the heads-up grudge match.

Doug Polk Daniel Negreanu
Doug Polk can’t possibly run any better than he has so far against Daniel Negreanu. (Image: WSOP.com)

Polk. one of the game’s top Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em players doesn’t need much help, but the deck has repeatedly smacked him in the face throughout the challenge. His run of good luck was more obvious during Saturday’s session than in any other so far.

At this point, the odds of Negreanu coming from behind to win are getting slimmer by the day, though strange things can happen in poker. Earlier this year, Phil Galfond rallied from a $900,000 deficit against “VeniVidi1993” to win the first Galfond Challenge.

So, miraculous comebacks can happen in high-stakes heads-up poker. But, “DNegs” is facing arguably the GOAT of HUNL. That means he’s currently facing an uphill battle that may seem insurmountable to most, given that he’s now down nearly 15 buy-ins closing in on what might be the midway point.

Deck Smacks Polk in the Face

Following the Thanksgiving break, Polk held a $264,019 lead through 5,067 hands after having won three straight sessions by more than $115,000. The Upswing Poker founder increased that lead by $332,178 in 684 hands on Saturday, far and away his best session of the match. He now holds a $596,197 lead with 5,751 hands played.

Polk simply couldn’t miss on Day 12, especially in all-in pots. His lengthy stretch of run good began midway through the session when Negreanu — holding A-K — turned the nut straight and Polk, with 4-6, hit runner-runner flush to take down a $108,000 pot. That was one of two times Negreanu lost a big pot with a straight against a rivered flush.

Polk didn’t win big only because of pure luck, however. The 2017 WSOP High Roller for One Drop champion won a massive pot ($79,000) with Ace-high (A-J) after calling off Negreanu’s all-in bluff bet of $25,000 on the river with K-Q (King-high).

But, for most of the big day, Polk took advantage of pure dumb luck. On the final hand of the session, Negreanu found a golden opportunity to salvage the day with an $80,000 pot, cutting a bit into the deficit. He got his money all-in pre-flop with pocket queens against pocket eights. The flop and turn ran out 7-5-10-9, and Negreanu was unable to fade the 8 on the river. That hand summed up the GGPoker ambassador’s day about as well as anything could.

This match is scheduled to go at least 12,500 hands. The player who is trailing at that point has the option to give up and call it quits, or to force another 12,500 hands to be played. At this point, unless things turn around quickly, it’s hard to imagine this one going the full 25,000 hands.

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