Fighting Words: Doug Polk Escalated His Feud with Daniel Negreanu in 2018, But Did He Win?

Doug Polk and Daniel Negreanu began feuding two years ago. But the vitriol between the poker pros enhanced in 2018 thanks to an insulting t-shirt, some social media mudslinging, and a memorable billboard.

Doug Polk Daniel Negreanu

Doug Polk and Daniel Negreanu will forever be linked for their bitter rivalry and utter distaste for each other. (Image: superpoker.com)

It was never more obvious that there isn’t much love lost between these two players than during the Super High Roller Bowl in May. Despite what is allegedly a random seat drawing, they ended up side-by-side on Day One.

It was on that day when the feud between the poker stars turned nasty. And now they’re at a point where reconciliation isn’t likely.

All Hatfield, No McCoy?

The Negrean-Polk feud began in 2016, after Negreanu, defending the company who has paid him for years, argued in favor of a PokerStars rake increase. He claimed, essentially, that higher rake weeds out the sharks and brings more recreational players to the game.

That assertion led Polk to mock the PokerStars ambassador by joking with his followers that “more rake is better,” which since turned into a popular meme that spread throughout the poker community.

The rift between the two high-stakes pros and poker personalities has frankly been fairly one-sided. Negreanu rarely responds directly to insults Polk fires his way. That held true even after Polk made a nasty comment about him in a YouTube video early in 2018.

“He’s a massive hypocrite and, frankly, he’s an embarrassment to players and the game of poker,” Polk said of Negreanu.

Kid Poker, at least publicly, wasn’t phased by the criticism. As one of the game’s most outspoken figures the past 20 years, he knows that you can’t please everyone.

Doug Polk T-shirt, Super High Roller Bowl

Doug Polk mocked Daniel Negreanu during the 2018 Super High Roller Bowl by wearing a controversial undershirt. (Image: YouTube/JoeIngram1)

On Day One of the 2018 Super High Roller Bowl, Polk and Negreanu sat next to each other. Let’s just say things weren’t exactly cordial at the table on Day 1. At least not after Polk removed his jacket.

Underneath was a t-shirt that read, “More Rake is Better,” inside a picture of a billboard. At the time, no one knew that billboard had any meaning, but we would later find out it did. Negreanu remained silent while seated next to Polk. Instead of talking the talk, he chose to walk the walk.

While Polk was eliminated on the first day from this $300,000 buy-in event, Negreanu finished runner-up and won $3.5 million. Safe to say he got the last laugh, at least this time around.

Sign of the Times

A few days later, the WSOP began. Polk announced he wasn’t going to play any events other than the Main Event. He said he’s burnt out on poker and has since partially retired from the game. But he wasn’t completely absent from the Rio in Las Vegas this summer. He most certainly made his presence felt.

Doug Polk Daniel Negreanu

Doug Polk purchased a sign during the 2018 WSOP mocking his rival Daniel Negreanu. (Image: Pamela Maldonado/Twitter)

Outside the Rio, in early June, a billboard reading “MoreRakeIsBetter.com” appeared. Polk, as expected, quickly took credit for the sign.

Many poker players found humor in Polk’s public taunting of Negreanu at his place of work. But others decried the 29-year-old’s behavior as childish and petty. The billboard remained erect throughout the WSOP.

So, who do you think got the best of this feud in 2018? Polk was certainly the more aggressive troll. But if money matters, Negreanu arguably got the best of it, in the Super High Roller Bowl and at the World Series.

Jon Sofen
Written by
Jon Sofen
Semi-pro poker player with 17 years experience on the felt and more than five years working as professional poker media.

Comments

jaymfc wrote...

love em both but Daniel won this one 🙂 don’t agree with “more rake is better” lol but he was just trying to smooth it over. big companies are always raising prices and your choices are take it or leave it.
doug is a cool guy and good player but does tend to play it up for attention.

TxFoldemPro wrote...

Even before this feud, I saw Polk as child-like. If you watch any of his videos, every other word is I. His only explanations are I, …, because I….., and of course I have made millions with… Hopefully one day he will grow up and realize who he really isn’t.

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