After 36 sessions of play spanning three months with plenty of drama, some rants and even some limping and tanking, the Negreanu vs Polk match is over. Although the match wasn’t as close as many hoped, there is almost universal agreement that it lived up to the hype and poker fans are left craving for more.
Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk started Wednesday’s High Stakes Feud match with 1,718 hands left to play and both players very eager to put the match to bed.
And that’s exactly what they did. After 6 hours of play, Negreanu vs Polk is now officially in the books with Doug Polk winning the challenge by $1.2 million after a $250k victory on Wednesday.
— Haralabos Voulgaris (@haralabob) February 4, 2021
The last session proved to be another wild one. Daniel Negreanu started the day up by $180k before Doug Polk took things in the other direction. Polk ultimately won around $250k, completing a swing of around $450k to end the challenge finishing up with his biggest overall lead during the 3 months.
Polk remained in the driver’s seat
It was all Polk through most of High Stakes Feud. The match began on November 4th with Negreanu holding his own early, winning the first and only in-person session. After taking down that session, Polk dominated online before Negreanu retook the lead on Day 5. But the lead was short-lived as November 19th would prove to be last time that Negreanu would hold a lead.
By December 10th, Negreanu suffered a tough three-session losing streak and found himself down by near $1 million. Questions lingered whether Negreanu would continue past the 12,500 halfway point. But with some rest over the holidays and a couple positive sessions, Negreanu was ready to continue the challenge.
Negreanu later cut Polk’s lead in half from $957k to $484k, which represented a relatively positive stretch that spanned from December 10th to January 11th. However, Negreanu couldn’t keep it going as Polk and a bad run of cards — according to Negreanu — proved to be too much.
Watch the final session
As promised, Doug Polk displayed his hole cards during the final session, as the team of Jaime Kerstetter and Nick Schulman provided commentary on the day. If you missed any of the action from Day 36, you can watch the replay below:
For those who can’t get enough Joey Ingram, you can watch him and Bill Perkins also share their thoughts on Ingram’s YouTube channel.
Reaction from Day 36
In the wake of the win, it was a time for reflection as Polk was feeling predictably pleased with the result. “That is a wrap. I am feeling pretty solid.”
When asked by Kerstetter if he feels happy or relieved now that the challenge is over, Polk was
“I’m very happy that I spent so much time preparing and I feel it really ended up helping me tremendously. And that I got to execute at such a high level over such a long period of time.”
Noting that he had a lot to learn when he began this journey, Polk noted that his game has improved dramatically since he started preparing for the match. “In my personal opinion, I am probably one of the top 10 players in the world, if I had to guess. I think a lot of the guys that everyone looks up to are way overhyped. They’re not as good as you think they are. The real killers are lurking in the shadows.”
Polk also discussed his admiration for Negreanu and his play during the match. “Honest assessment, he did a really impressive job with a lot of the stuff he did. I did not think he would play this well, at all… By the end, he was doing so many sharp things: sizes, strategies, frequencies.”
“If you are not a heads-up pro, he is going to beat you.”
In a post-session interview with Negreanu, he gave props to Polk for a match well played.
“Congratulations to Doug. He is obviously a great player and favorite going in. It was a fun challenge. There were ebbs and flows in terms of how I felt about it. In the end, I hope that he is happy. He was a big winner on the match, deservedly so. He played well. No question about that.”
After giving credit to Polk, Negreanu was hesitant to get into the misfortune that he suffered throughout the High Stakes Feud but hinted at where his head was.
“I don’t really want to talk about anything other than that, because it’s just productive. It’s disappointing. But what I will do is put a video together of . I really want people to see what happened in full.”
Now that the Negreanu vs Polk is finished, both players are undoubtedly going to do anything but play poker for a while. Questions remain about the future for both players.
After a much-needed break, will Doug Polk leave poker, this time for good? Will Negreanu use his newly acquired heads-up knowledge for another match? Will Doug be tempted to play again against a vastly inferior opponent as Polk suggested late last year?
After three months of play and giving the poker world a shot in the arm, it’s hard to imagine that both players will not want to do something related to another heads-up match.
In the meantime, poker fans can still look forward to more Galfond Challenge matches ahead. Galfond currently has matches penciled in against Bill Perkins, Dan “Jungleman” Cates and Brandon Adams.
Hey, maybe we will even get the long-overdue conclusion to the durrrr Challenge vs Jungleman.
We can dream.