Doug Polk and Daniel Negreanu are heading into what just might be the most important phase of their heads-up match as the 12,500-hand mark approaches. The poker pros took a break last week, but have two sessions planned before Christmas.
Negreanu booked a huge win in the most recent match — more than $140,000, but he’s still deep in the hole as the heads-up battle nears its midway point. And that midway point is important because the player who trails at the time has the option to call it quits without penalty. If that individual opts to continue on, the No-Limit Hold’em competition will last another 12,500 hands.
Polk leads the match by $814,290 over 10,784 hands, 1,716 shy of the halfway mark. Negreanu has made it clear in his post-match interviews on the GGPoker YouTube channel that he intends to continue on. We all know at this point he will trail at the 12,500-hand mark. It’s just a matter of by how much.
The GGPoker ambassador continues to claim he’s playing well and that luck has been a major factor in the deficit. So, we should all expect this match to last the full 25,000 hands. But Negreanu did admit in a recent interview with Matt Berkey and Christian Soto that there is a scenario in which he will quit at the midway point.
“I feel good about where my game has progressed,” Negreanu said in the interview. “My decision to play past 12,500 hands is 100% dependent upon whether I think this match can be competitive. If I feel like he’s beating me for like 10 big blinds per 100, or anything like that, then no.”
The Week Ahead
With Negreanu trailing by such a wide margin, he desperately needs to chip more of that deficit off, and quickly. The last session was a start in the right direction, but another bad session and he’ll be down $1 million. It’s hard to imagine he’d have much reason to continue the match through the full 25,000 hands if the deficit is nearly insurmountable at the halfway point.
Polk and Negreanu will return to the virtual felt on WSOP.com Monday (Dec. 21) at 2:30 pm PT. They’ll play one more session — same bat time, same bat channel — on Wednesday, and then head into a Christmas break. Following the holiday break, they’ll get back to it on Dec. 28 at 2:30.
Following the Dec. 28 session, it’s likely they will be close to the 12,500-hand mark, but play will stop at 12,300 hands so they can play the final 200 hands live at the PokerGo Studio in Las Vegas. After that, it’s going to be up to Negreanu to decide if he wants to continue playing or find something else to do with his free time.