On Monday, Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk played Day 22 of the heads-up challenge on Monday, returning for the first time since last Wednesday. Coming into the session, Negreanu was down by around $810k, hoping to claw away at Polk’s lead that he has held for the vast majority of the 2-month long challenge.
As expected, Negreanu and Polk stopped the Day 22 session just short of 2 hours in due to the pair officially reaching the half-way point. However, what was not necessarily anticipated was that the session itself was cut short for the day, leading some to question whether Negreanu will soldier on or whether the Christmas break has made him realize he has had enough.
Is Negreanu backtracking on continuing the match?
Negreanu himself did not rule out quitting the heads-up match for good. “We weren’t sure . We kind of thought it makes sense to stop at the half-way point, readjust and see if we want to continue playing or not. But I figured it was a good time since our next match isn’t until January 4th. We can end the year right at the half-way point and we can decide “will the match continue?””
Negreanu hinted that he wasn’t feeling great about continuing early on in the session. “At the beginning of the session, it didn’t look like it was going to because he had aces three times,” before breaking down his misfortune. “I’m hopeful that the second half of the match, I run a little better, never mind, a lot better. It’s doable. We just take it from there.”
Remko Rinkema, who hosted the GG Poker stream, asked Negreanu if it is a real consideration to throw in the towel. “Yeah, I mean, sure. The thing you want to look at, for me what is important is winning the match. It’s less about the money than winning the match,” before using a football analogy. “If you were down 49-0 against a really good team, you might go “You know what guys, let’s pack it in for the second half…But I don’t think it’s quite that bad – 19-0. Three touchdowns is what I need.”
Watch starting at the 2:01:46 mark:
For his part, Doug Polk in a post-match interview with Mike Brady and Ryan Riske seemed confident they would continue playing. “I don’t think he has officially said anything yet, but I would just be absolutely shocked if we didn’t play on. Shocked.”
Results for Day 22
Negreanu started out the session slow, down by over six figures during the first hour and a half. However, over the last half hour or so, Negreanu came back through after some failed big bluffs from Polk and managed to eke out a gain of around $30,000, bringing his deficit down to around $780k.
Fellow player Shaun Deeb joking wondered if the dramatic turnaround in the session was due to Polk wanting the match to continue.
This narrative lol https://t.co/RgS2iuzsgB
— Doug "Truck Driver" Polk (@DougPolkVids) December 29, 2020
On the session, the pair played around 228 hands to put them at exactly the half-way point of 12,500 hands.
To watch the entire session, check out Joey Ingram’s stream below:
Negreanu will now have a week to decide whether he wants to continue his heads-up match against Polk. Has Polk demoralized Negreanu so much that he can’t see himself coming back and making a run at it or will Negreanu look at his bad luck thus far and think he is better than he has ever been at heads-up No Limit Hold’em and maybe get variance on his side?
That remains to be determined but judging based on the post-game interview, Negreanu seems to legitimately weigh whether to continue, despite previously being adamant that he would continue even if he was down by $5 million.
Should the match continue, poker fans can tune in on January 4th at 5:30 PM ET from one of the many channels that have been covering Negreanu vs Polk throughout the match.
GG Poker Official YouTube Channel with Jeff Platt (Daniel Negreanu official stream)
DougPolkPoker Official YouTube Channel
Upswing Poker Official Twitch Channel with Mike Brady
Joey Ingram YouTube Channel
Solve for Why YouTube channel, featuring Matt Berkey and Christian Soto