Despite Daniel Negreanu being more competitive than most expected, Doug Polk is now a heavier favorite than he was before the match started, according to PokerShares.
On Monday, Polk booked a six-figure win over four hours, bringing his lead up to around $143,000. The rival poker pros have now played 4,651 hands at $200/$400 stakes on the WSOP.com poker site, so we’re starting to get a fairly good idea for how the match will play out.
We can’t predict which talented poker player will win at this point. Right now, Polk has a lead of just 3.5 buy-ins, which can be erased in just a few unlucky hands or failed bluff attempts. The apparently no-longer-feuding pros still have at least 7,849 hands remaining, and potentially another 12,500 in addition to those. So, it’s really anyone’s game at this point. But Mike McDonald’s gambling website still considers Polk to be a massive favorite.
Is Polk Nearly a Lock to Win?
Polk entered the match as high as a 5-1 favorite among oddsmakers on poker Twitter. Some poker players were so confident in the Upswing Poker founder they laid 10-1 odds. Those who bet big on Polk, especially at those odds, should be sweating right now.
Sure, Polk recently erased a $175,000 deficit and now has his own six-figure lead. In the last session (Monday), he ran over Negreanu with repeated, successful large bets. But this match has been more competitive than the current score indicates.
In fact, you could argue the main difference has been luck. That’s not to say Polk isn’t the better player or that he hasn’t slightly outplayed his opponent. But many crucial hands have gone in Polk’s favor thanks, in large part, to luck. Corey Steel (@CoreySteel_) conducted a bit of research and determined that Polk has run about $115,000 above expected value on all-in bets with cards still to come.
— Corey Steel (@CoreySteel_) November 21, 2020
What the above data should tell you, along with the relatively close overall score, is that Negreanu has been competitive. He isn’t getting run over like many expected before the match began three weeks ago.
Polk should still be the favorite, as he’s in the lead and is still one of the most accomplished Heads-Up No-Limit Hold’em players of all-time. But, based on the competitive play in this match thus far, you may be surprised at the current betting odds.
According to PokerShares, Negreanu is now nearly a 6-1 underdog (+570) and Polk’s status as the heavy favorite has grown significantly (-833). Prior to Day 9 (Friday), Polk was listed at -370. So, his recent upswing of $323,000 over the past two sessions has certainly factored into the betting odds.
Day 10 of the Polk versus Negreanu heads-up grudge match kicks off at 2:30 pm PT on Wednesday.