Stuck in the Micros: Doug Polk $100-to-$10K Online Poker Bankroll Challenge Grinds On

August 11th, 2018 by Jon Sofen

Doug Polk set out to prove he could crush low stakes online poker in 2016, with a personal challenge to take $100 online at and build it into a $10,000 bankroll. As of Friday, nearly two years later, the Upswing Poker founder remains stuck at just around $1,600 — not a bad ROI if investing in a mutual fund, but also kind of disappointing for a guy still nursing a Bitcoin hangover.

 Doug Polk

Doug Polk has struggled to complete his $100 to $10,000 bankroll challenge on but keeps grinding away. (Image: YouTube)

Polk has been rather absent from the high stakes poker community this summer and recently said he has lost interest in playing poker, at least for the time being.

No, he isn’t “confirmed busto,” as poker Twitter contends when seeing him playing $3 tournaments. He’s playing in small stakes tournaments and cash games as a matter of good bankroll management in his bankroll challenge, which Polk has vowed to stick with until the end.

But maybe online poker at these stakes just isn’t beatable, even for a high-rolling YouTube personality?

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

It’s hard to bet against a three-time WSOP bracelet winner and former online high stakes heads-up crusher, but he’s now played more than 40 sessions and has hardly progressed.

Polk started his challenge with $100 in 2016, and now sits with about $1,600 on the back half of 2018. His unimpressive total comes after a week of poor results in three sessions that he livestreamed on YouTube.

Despite an apparent renewed enthusiasm for finishing his bankroll challenge, Polk may have been a little rusty with his online poker button pressing. He suffered a self-inflicted bad beat thanks to an unfortunate mis-click.

Polk had won a free entry into a $320 buy-in Sunday re-buy tournament and busted long before reaching the money bubble. He says he meant to decline the rebuy option, but clicked the wrong button and suddenly had another $320 committed — nearly 20 percent of his remaining bankroll. The cards didn’t fall any better for his second bullet than they did the first.

On Wednesday, he’d work his total to $1,716, and then on Friday Polk fans watched him lose another $110, bringing his bankroll total to about $1,600.

Game of Patience

The 2017 WSOP High Roller for One Drop winner is used to playing in five and six-figure buy-in games such as the $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl.

Grinding out $3 tournaments and $.25/$.50 cash games online are less stressful and have a lower caliber of players.

But what he’s found out along the way is the micro stakes games aren’t a cakewalk.

Building a bankroll at the lowest levels has posed quite a challenge for the poker training site founder, but something tells us a poker pro with over $9 million in lifetime tournament cashes will eventually find a way to win.

19 Responses to “Stuck in the Micros: Doug Polk $100-to-$10K Online Poker Bankroll Challenge Grinds On”

  1. Spaceman says:

    Doug earned his money from making sophisticated moves. I would dare to say from making sophisticated bluffs. In micro stakes those sophisticated moves are known as fancy playing syndrome. Cause you may make all the moves you want to indicate that you have them beat, but micro players dont like folding their pocket pairs and are calling anyway. So if we take bluffing out of poker, what is left? Just playing your hands. When all Doug expertise is playing the board and opponents.

    • Jayplay916 says:

      You have hit the nail on the head with this post bluffing in a low stakes game of any kind is tricky if not impossible so maybe low stakes poker takes luck also as well as skills to really win especially in tournament play. Nice post.

    • Santo says:

      Doug is a has-been who can’t decide who he wants to be anymore – a poker player, a poker commentator, a crypto commentator, a mainstream news commentator. He has lost the majority of his fan base and is blindly throwing darts to see what will stick.

  2. belladonna05 says:

    This also speaks to a certain pro I disagree with that wants poy points weighted with the higher buy ins, trying to cash a tourney with a 100 players vs a 1000 players means that you aren’t going to run into as much run bad, fatigue or face as many flips.

  3. quick says:

    Funny I see this as I just lost two big pots concurrently on two different sites to two opponents who were in the hand for who knows what reason. Any two cards calling a pre-flop 3 bet, sure why not. It’s the wild west in anything below 50NL online still and 1/2 live…you could give some of these folks napkins instead of cards and they’d still shove. Welcome to the micros again Doug!

  4. ATruRube says:

    …there’s a reason there is no 3BB or 4BB button -just check and all in.

  5. Dejange says:

    I do not believe that point with 320$ rebuy option misclick! It happens to me from time to time to misclick call button with fold button, when I am distracted but never to mess up with the rebuy options …

  6. akmost says:

    Yeap I don’t think the $320 re-entry was a misclick but we are losing the point here. Who ever says that beating the micros is an easy task I dare do complete the challenge. On the other hand Pokerstars’ micros noawdays are not as soft as they used to be back in the days. Players know better than never and fields are full with micro regulars. WSOP site seem to be way softer but you don’t know what they are doing all those ”pros”.
    I watch D.Polk’s streams and I am as frustrated as he is with all these open limps and all those no sense moves but hope he will make it!

  7. Luvart says:

    Going from 100$ to 1.600$ is not bad at all if we consider his non-regular microstakes grinding. It’s true that at the microstakes the patience factor plays a huge role. If he keeps being regular at his grinding he may manage to reach the 10.000$.

  8. sergik1992 says:

    Poker is game, that needs constantly attantion. So long breaks hardly can make your game better.

  9. NickNation says:

    these fucking pro’s thinking micro’s are so easy… i bet polk would fucking fail a freeroll challenge even worse 😛 if he can’t beat micros there is no way he can beat freerolls lol. there is no way you can deal with the freeroll variance if you cant handle micros.

    i bet if he did a freeroll challenge 0-100 instead, he would still be grinding that two years later, as well

  10. ScooperNova says:

    If you can’t beat poor players, you’re not a well rounded, skilled player. It kills me when i see people crying that they can’t win at poker because their opponents are poor players. I understand more idiot callers leads to more tough beats, but guess what, it also leads to more huge pots. Variance exists, and if you can’t beat horrible players over time, you aren’t doing it right. Adjust and crush, or cry and go home.

    • canabero says:

      maybe because that players are not so bad. so many times ive got low value having nuts in micros.

  11. skaterick says:

    I think the easiest site to build up a micro stake is Intertops (Revolution ). they have plenty of cashable freerolls and weak ring games and tourneys . At least two problems though : the ring game volume is very low and there are terrible cashout hurdles for freerollers , as well as a $50 fee if you want a check sent(what a ripoff ) !

  12. slicheri93 says:

    I find it kind of weird that people think he’s busto just because he stopped playing poker for awhile
    Some just take breaks from poker and some lose some intrest in it.
    It happens and to each their own if he wants to take a break he can
    He will come back stronger from a break in IMO.

  13. vitorbonatto says:

    I would agree that in micro stakes your arsenal of moves is much smaller, but nothing that you can’t adapt versus each kind of player. But the question that I keep in mind is if it’s worth to go to a more exploitive gameplay besides improving your GTO game. Other important thing, as result of exhibiting your game style, you will be a lot more exploited, beyong the field getting exponentially toughier.

  14. JonathanAReth says:

    16x his stack in 2 years from a high tier pro? Suddenly I don’t feel so bad about my abysmal results. But something I’ve wondered for a long time is could the micro stakes players be just as good or perhaps better than the high stakes players? I know, logically it makes no sense, but think of it this way. High stakes players can afford to buy in at whatever level they want. So when a High Stakes player is sitting with $10,000 on a cash game, they didn’t necessarily earn it via good poker play, but may have simply pulled cash from their bank account and decided to start out at that level. When dealing with micro stakes you have a lot of players who either earned their money via freerolls or are disciplined enough to keep playing at those levels until their bankroll increases to move up to the next level. This means that someone playing at the .25/.50 tables has already earned their way up numerous levels to be playing that high.

  15. XYZ2123 says:

    Its difficult for anyone to win at poker when nobody folds, which is always the case in the micros; Even for pros like Doug Polk. I think he’ll eventually finish the bankroll challenge but first he needs to adjust his game to the stakes and opponents.

  16. bablovod says:

    it’s certainly funny that the founder of the training poker site can’t go beyond 15% of his challenge. but it really is a game on microlimits is so complex that millions of players groan from the incredible variance and accuse the poker room of falsification. it is difficult to play where no one is given.

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