Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk High Stakes Feud
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What Happened During The Daniel Negreanu/Doug Polk Heads-Up Match?

The Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk heads-up match kicked off on November 4th when the pair played their first session live from the PokerGo studios, with Daniel Negreanu winning by $116k. The session marked the start of the High Stakes Feud Heads-Up Challenge, which is expected to run through early 2021.

Note: The post was last updated on February 9th after the conclusion of the Negreanu vs Polk heads-up match.

Where can you watch replays of the heads-up match online?

You can view the sessions live through a variety of different channels on Twitch and Youtube:

GG Poker Official YouTube Channel
DougPolkPoker Official YouTube Channel
Upswing Poker Official Twitch Channel
Joey Ingram YouTube channel

PokerGo broadcasted the first day of action on November 4th with Negreanu and Polk playing 200 hands. Negreanu started the challenge on a strong note, winning $116k. You can watch that session here.

What were the main details of the Doug Polk versus Daniel Negreanu heads-up match up?

The full details of the grudge match between Doug Polk and Daniel Negreanu were set in the days leading up to the start of the heads-up match on November 4th, 2020. Details were solidified in early to mid-October which you can read more about: The Top 8 things we learned from the Negreanu/Polk heads-up match.

In short, here were the main terms:

  • 2 tables of $200/$400 No Limit Hold’em
  • 25,000 hands
  • The player behind after 12,500 hands can quit the match at that point. Negreanu was behind by $770k and decided to play on.

What game is did Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk play during their challenge?

The pair played two simultaneous tables of heads-up $200/$400 No Limit Hold’em, which was confirmed from an early tweet from Daniel Negreanu.

Who won the Daniel Negreanu/Doug Polk heads-up match?

Doug Polk won his heads-up match against Daniel Negreanu by around $1.2 million over 25,000 hands across 36 sessions. Here’s a session by session breakdown of how things played out:

Session #Day of sessionWinner on dayHands on SessionTotal HandsOverall Leader after sessionNotes
1November 4th (live session from PokerGo studios)Daniel Negreanu ($116,000)200200Daniel Negreanu - $116,000The session was broadcast live on PokerGo
2November 6thDoug Polk ($218,000)424624Doug Polk - $101,000First online session on WSOP.com
3November 9thDoug Polk ($166,239)3821,006Doug Polk - $268,031Watch session
4November 11thDaniel Negreanu ($87,167)3661,372Doug Polk - $180,865Watch Session
5November 13thDaniel Negreanu ($206,994.59)3651,737Daniel Negreanu - $25,916.87Watch Session during which Negreanu overtakes Polk
6November 16thDoug Polk ($93,542.68)6372,374Doug Polk - $67.625.81Watch Session
7November 18thDaniel Negreanu ($222,832.70)5912,965Daniel Negreanu - $155,206.89Watch session
8November 19thDaniel Negreanu ($24,156.82)4573,422Daniel Negreanu - $179,363.71Watch session
9November 20thDoug Polk ($205,521.74)3773,799Doug Polk - $26,371.78Watch session
10November 23rdDoug Polk ($117,624) 8524,651Doug Polk - $143,996Watch session
11November 25thDoug Polk ($120,023.59)4165,067Doug Pok - $264,109.75Watch session
12November 28thDoug Polk ($332,178.14)6845,781Doug Polk - $596,197.89Watch session.
13November 30thDaniel Negreanu ($17,780.32)4766,227Doug Polk - $578,417.57Watch session
14December 2ndDaniel Negreanu (~$13,000)6006,800Doug Polk - $565,417.57Watch session
15December 4thDaniel Negreanu ($46,581.88)4507,250Doug Polk - $514,417Watch Polk stream live, with hole cards on some hands
16December 7thDoug Polk ($160,348.99)6007,850Doug Polk - $674,417Watch session
17December 9thDoug Polk (~$101,773.33)6628,970 (new adjusted total)Doug Polk - $784,560Watch session
18December 10thDoug Polk ($173,362.61)9809,950Doug Polk - $957,932.57Watch session
19December 11thDaniel Negreanu ($143,642.37)83410,784Doug Polk - $814,290.20Watch session
20December 21st Daniel Negreanu ($117,962.68)53411,318Doug Polk - $696,327.92Watch session
21December 23rdDoug Polk ($114,140)90412,222Doug Polk - $810,468.18 Watch session
22December 28th Daniel Negreanu (~$35,000)27912,500Doug Polk - $770,254 Watch session
23January 4thDaniel Negreanu ($27,000)50013,000Doug Polk - $743,248.28Watch session
24January 6thDaniel Negreanu ($98,579.92)75013,750Doug Polk - $644,668.36 Watch session
25January 8thDaniel Negreanu ($27,945.80)75014,500Doug Polk - $616,722.56Watch session
26January 11thDaniel Negreanu ($132,648.63)75015,250Doug Polk - $484,073.93Watch session
27January 13thDoug Polk ($119,609.84)60015,850Doug Polk - $603,683.77Watch session
28January 15thDoug Polk ($26,198.60)65016,500Doug Polk - $629,882.37Watch session
29January 18thDoug Polk ($73,728.29)60817,108Doug Polk - $703,610.66Watch session
30January 20thDoug Polk ($298,000)~ 700~17,700Doug Polk - $1,001,822Watch session
31January 22ndDaniel Negreanu (~$390,000)104618,924Doug Polk - $612,563.46Watch session
32January 25thDaniel Negreanu ($46,854.50)43819,362Doug Polk - $565,708.96Watch session
33January 27thDoug Polk ($136,239.17)56019,922Doug Polk - $701,948.13Watch session
34January 29thDoug Polk ($34,885.96)1,38421,306Doug Polk - $736,804.09Watch session
35February 1stDoug Polk ($209,281.23)1,94623,282Doug Polk - $949,085.32Watch session live at 5:30 PM ET
36February 3rd Doug Polk (~$250,000)1,71825,000Doug Polk - ~$1.2 millionWatch session with hole cards

When did the Negreanu/Polk Challenge begin?

The match began on November 4th at 8 PM ET and ran through early February 2021.

After agreeing to the challenge earlier this summer, neither side originally seemed to be in a significant hurry to get the match started. Polk was originally happy to train for the match while Negreanu was busy playing the WSOP on GG Poker, where he is an ambassador. However, poker fans didn’t have to wait as long as they did for the infamous Jungleman vs durrrr Challenge match to get underway.

In a blog for Doug Polk’s Upswing Poker, it was suggested that the match wouldn’t happen until sometime after the GG Poker portion of the WSOP, which concluded by mid-September of 2020. In late October, the pair agreed to the November 4th start date.

How many hands will Negreanu and Polk play in their heads-up Challenge?

The pair will play 25,000 hands.

It was suggested in August that they would play somewhere in the vicinity of 10,000 to 25,000 hands, with the two players ultimately agreeing on a 25,000 hand challenge. The number is typical of recent popular heads-up Challenges played by Phil Galfond, which also recently restarted. The losing player, which turned out to be Daniel Negreanu, had the option of throwing in the towel after 12,500 hands but decided to press on in early January 2021.

How can I watch replays of the Negreanu/Polk Challenge?

Negreanu and Polk are both savvy when it comes to streaming, and both settled on PokerGo to host the first day of the challenge, which was streamed live from the PokerGo Studios (yes, in the first session the pair played face to face). During that session, PokerGo broadcasted the first 200 hands for free, which you can see below:

Of course, there was virtually no chance that Negreanu and Polk weren’t going to use their established presence on social media platforms such as YouTube and Twitch to make it even more of a spectacle than it already was shaping up to be. After the live session, the heads-up challenge then moved to WSOP.com, where it was streamed d by various Twitch and YouTube channels.

A selection of streams were provided by both players, which allowed poker fans to view all the action being played on WSOP.com. Top streams included the GG Poker YouTube channel, the Doug Polk YouTube channel and the Upswing Twitch channel.

On Day 6 of the Negreanu vs Polk High Stakes Feud, Joey Ingram also got into the commentary game, providing his unique perspective and witty banter. Ingram continued with live commentary throughout the High Stakes Feud.

On Day 15, Doug Polk streamed the entire session live from his office. Originally he stated that he would not show hole cards, but ended up displaying around 40% of his hands, some of which were done on purpose and some which were displayed automatically.

You can catch that session here:

During the final session of the match, Doug Polk streamed his hole cards for all to see:

When was the High Stakes Feud with Negreanu and Polk held?

Negreanu and Polk took a relatively relaxed approach to their scheduling, playing 2-3 times a week with breaks during the weekend. Most of the matches started at 5:30 PM ET with sessions lasting a couple of hours and about 500-800 hands playing during each session. By mid-December, Negreanu and Polk had slowed down their play due to the holidays, birthdays and the World Series of Poker Main Event.

They resumed play in early January 2021 after Negreanu declined his option to quit at the mid-way point.

Will Negreanu and Polk play any more live sessions?

Recognizing the popularity of their first live session on PokerGo, both Negreanu and Polk expressed interest in playing another live session — which would also undoubtedly be streamed for poker fans.

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic posed a roadblock for frequent live sessions. After the first session on PokerGo, the rest of the heads-up watch was done online.

What are the odds of the Daniel Negreanu vs Doug Polk heads-up match?

At the start of the match, Daniel Negreanu was around 4.60 — or around 18% — to win the event, making Doug Polk a heavy favorite. Those odds change by the day as bettors got more information and results.

The circumstances for the match have led to some interesting dynamics in handicapping the match. On the surface, Polk seemed to be a clear favorite since heads-up No Limit Hold’em is his signature game (whereas it is not for Negreanu). Polk also benefited from an online format versus a live setting, where Negreanu is strong with his renowned hand-reading skills.

Favoring Negreanu is the fact that prior to the match, Polk had not played much No Limit Hold’em over the last couple of years and went in relatively rusty. Negreanu is also also very used to the pressure and will undoubtedly have lots of resources to improve. Still, the smart money seems to be on the side that Polk will not have lost much during his retirement.

PokerShares has posted odds for the match and in September, Doug Polk was a 1.25 favorite in the market compared to Daniel Negreanu’s 4.10 using European odds. This market effectively gave Polk a 80% chance of winning, which slowly increased as the High Stakes Feud progressed.

After Day 11, Polk’s odds moved to the highest they have been thus far — about a 10:1 favorite. After a big session November 28th, Doug Polk was around a 20:1 favorite,.

In early January after 24 sessions, Negreanu was still a big underdog (10:1) despite winning four out of the last five sessions. He was still around a 15:1 underdog as of January 8th, which to this writer seemed a bit excessive considering what has happened thus far.

Ultimately, the final numbers backed up the odds with Doug Polk convincingly winning the challenge by $1.2 million.

Who was the luckiest player thus far?

Without knowing hole cards, we can’t say for sure which player is running the best. However, ongoing analysis is being made of all-in EV in the match. Through the first 21 sessions, Negreanu is getting relatively unlucky with his all-in situations.

After the first half of the challenge (22 sessions), you could bet Daniel Negreanu at +1150 odds or Polk at -2500, implying that Polk has a 94% to win the challenge.

Who is betting on the match?

There were many people that bet on the market over on PokerShares. In fact, some high-profile pros also got in on the act. Mike Matusow evensaid he bet half of his $20k bankroll on the match. Phil Hellmuth and Bill Perkins have also bet sizable amounts on the match with both favoring Negreanu at those odds.

What did Polk and Negreanu have to say about the match?

Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk weren’t exactly been best friends in the weeks leading up to the match (or forever for that matter). As the pair finalized match negotiations, there finally seemed to be some element of mutual respect developing. However, that was not the case in the days leading up to the match, when both Polk and Negreanu were interviewed by PokerGo in a hype video where they explained their feud.

Are they still fighting?

The tension between Polk and Negreanu subsided once the match began. There was a slight dispute on November 17th over hand histories, but that was resolved once Phil Galfond mediated the issue.

In a post-game interview after their session 9 match, Doug Polk said that he stood by the criticisms he made of Negreanu but that he did go “a little too hard on him on some of the attacks.”

He reiterated those thoughts in an interview with the GG Poker YouTube stream just before Christmas Eve, making an apology of sorts while Negreanu was also on the stream. “I stand by the things I said and meant them, but I think there is kind of a line that is just unnecessary…to attack people on a personal level… I’m sorry that we went so far on that.”

They remained relatively cordial through the completion of the match. In the days after the match, Polk called Negreanu’s play in many areas “exceptional.”

How did Negreanu handle his loses?

After some early December sessions, not good. Shortly after the December 9th session, Negreanu lost his cool in a post-match interview with the GG Poker announcing team, bemoaning his luck over the last few sessions. During his better moments, however, cooler heads prevailed and Negreanu acknowledged he is running badly and that this is “just part of the process.

Did the match go beyond 12,500 hands?

YES! Although Daniel Negreanu teased that he might not continue, he confirmed on January 1st that he would indeed continue the match and that the first match after the mid-way point would be on January 4th.

In terms agreed before the match, the losing player had the choice of dropping out after 12,500 hands. If a player dropped out, this would undoubtedly damage that player’s ego, but at some point, enough might be enough.

While some poker fans encouraged Negreanu to quit, the consensus from the smart money was that he would continue playing, as long as the damage didn’t get too bad. This is a feeling that both Doug Polk and Bill Perkins (who bet on Negreanu) echoed in the days leading up to the decision.

Negreanu directly addressed these questions after Day 18 of the match, strongly indicating that 12,500 hands will not be the end of the match. David Huber explored this topic in a piece from mid-December.

I’ll put in $5 million . I don’t give a shit. Like, I am literally not quitting. There’s no part of me that feels that “oh, you’re just getting outplayed really badly.”

What other heads-up matches can I watch?

2020 and 2021 proved to be a great time to be poker fan, especially if you like heads-up matches. In addition to Negreanu/Polk, Galfond Challenge matches are still ongoing, along with High Stakes Duel, available exclusively on PokerGo every few weeks.

Any other matches planned?

Although it’s still a bit in the “pipe dream” phase both Doug Polk and the Instagram King, Dan Bilzerian have each shown interest in their own heads-up match. Bilzerian hinted that a match between Polk was in the works in early November, which was fueled by a Tweet from Polk strongly hinting at the desire for such a match.

In a post-match interview with GG Pok on November 20th, Polk indicated that he would be open to play almost anybody heads-up.

Preparation for the match

Details were released for Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk’s highly-anticipated Heads-Up grudge match. While Polk waited, he used the downtime to prepare for the challenge.

After the highly-anticipated heads-up challenge was announced, Doug Polk hit hitting the low-stakes heads-up tables with various players. Doug Polk played heads-up against Bill Perkins, among others, including a No Limit Hold’em heads-up session with poker vlogger Matt Vaughn on Americas Cardroom. The game $2/$4 No-Limit Hold’em, low stakes by Doug Polk standards and much lower than what he will ultimately play against Negreanu. Fortunately for Polk fans, the match was streamed by Vaughn and posted on YouTube:

In the early days of his training match, the 15,000 hands he played led to nearly $10k in losses, the equivalent of a -15.08 BB/100 rate. After “retiring” from poker, Polk has been freshening up on his skills by seeking out more heads-up opponents, including at higher stakes, which ultimately led Vaughn to take him up on the offer (although the pair decided to play $2/$4). Here’s what Polk had to say about the relatively difficult restart to his poker career:

He was able to bounce back but was down overall in his initial return to poker:

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