Longest Session of the Challenge Ends in Doug Polk’s Favor

Even Doug Polk knows his heads-up battle against Daniel Negreanu is no longer in doubt. He said as much during the Upswing Poker live-stream, during which he won another $212,000 over more than seven hours of play in what was far-and-away the lengthiest of the match’s 35 sessions.

Daniel Negreanu Doug Polk

Doug Polk is on pace to finish up his battle against Daniel Negreanu, winning at an impressive rate of 10 big blinds per 100 hands. (Image: YouTube)

With only around 1,500 hands remaining, Wednesday’s session very well could be the end. That’s right folks, the challenge that seemingly will never end is finally approaching its conclusion.

Although there isn’t much suspense in terms of who will win the heads-up contest, there are still some reasons to continue paying attention. First off, many poker players have side bets on the outcome of the match, including Polk’s overall profit. And will Negreanu make the final tally respectable?

As it stands, Polk leads by $946,085 following Monday’s $209,281 win over a whopping 1,976 hands. They’re down to the final 1,718 hands, which could get squeezed into Wednesday’s session.

Throwing Out All the Stops

Entering Day 35, Negreanu trailed by more than $730,000 with fewer than 4,000 hands remaining. Knowing that he’d need a miracle to pull it off, the GGPoker ambassador came out guns blazing. The only problem was, he ran into far too many big hands. But, his only hope to win this challenge would be to play for as many big pots as possible going forward — and to win most of them.

Negreanu did win numerous, massive pots on Day 35, but he lost just as many, if not more. Polk, at one point, led by nearly $200,000 before Negreanu won a race with pocket 10’s against A-K in a $110,000 hand. Before long, he was back to within a few thousand. However, this became a pattern for more than seven hours on Monday. Polk would take a six-figure lead, Negreanu would bounce back, only to then have it all slip away.

Negreanu got caught bluffing a few times on river shoves, which proved costly. In one of those failed bluff attempts, Polk, with pocket kings, had kings full of nines.

Right Decision, Wrong Result

Negreanu found himself in a tough spot on Monday. He desperately needed another $390,000 win, which he pulled off recently. So, he refused to call it quits, given how many chips were on the tables.

The poker pros agreed to at least two hours of play per session. After that, either player can quit for the day at any time. Polk, however, has said he won’t end a session, and will wait for Negreanu to do so.

On Day 35, Negreanu simply couldn’t leave the game because the stacks were so large that he knew it would be his last opportunity to pull off a miraculous comeback. Given that both players got stacked numerous times, more than $700,000 chips were on the tables six hours into the session.

Negreanu needed to win a $200,000 pot (or three), but he couldn’t do it. On the 1,976th hand of the day, he flopped top pair with K-J and jammed the river into a four-liner to a straight. Polk hit his hand and instantly called, taking down a $111,000 pot and virtually ending any little bit of hope Negreanu had to win the challenge.

Following that, the Poker Hall of Famer finally decided to wrap up the session. He ended the day down approximately $212,000, and is now one cooler or failed bluff away from a $1 million deficit.

Polk, who commentated part of the session on the Upswing Poker YouTube channel while playing, said he no longer has to worry about playing conservative down the stretch to lock up a win. He said that no matter how poorly he runs going forward, he can’t possibly lose.

With that said, he shouldn’t worry about running bad anyway. He rarely seems to.

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.

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