The grudge match continues. On Monday, Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk resumed their heads-up poker challenge after a New Year’s break. And it was Negreanu who came out on top in the first showdown of 2021, netting about $27,000 over 500 hands.
Remember from our last report on the “no love lost” heads-up challenge that there was a chance that Monday’s match would never happen. The $200/$400, two-table No-Limit Hold’em contest is slated to run for a total of 25,000 hands. The player who is losing at the halfway point, however, is permitted to end the proceedings and walk away with their loss.
At the end of 2020, the match hit its exact halfway point, 12,500 hands. And it was Negreanu, the Poker Hall of Famer, who was down an astounding $770,254.08. It sounded like he was considering calling it quits, as in a tweet promoting last Monday’s session, he said, “If the match continues it would resume Jan 4th.”
There would have been no penalty for quitting – there is no sidebet riding on the competition – but of course, Negreanu would not have the opportunity to try to close the gap. On New Year’s Day, Negreanu took to Twitter to say that he had the option to quit, but answered that simply: “That is not going to happen.”
And so Doug Polk and Daniel Negreanu resumed their challenge on Monday, January 4.
Though he ended up on top at the end of the day, Negreanu lost the biggest pot of the session on an ill-timed bluff. Holding just 7-8, he moved all-in on a board of 3-5-Q-K-T, only to get picked off by Polk’s K-J and lose out on the $120,000 pot.
The second largest pot was an unfortunate cooler for Polk, when his pocket Kings lost to Negreanu’s Aces for $108,000.
As already mentioned, Negreanu finished Monday’s session $27,000 in the black. His deficit is still intimidating, however, coming in at $743,248.28 after 13,000 total hands. Interestingly, Negreanu leads the “skins game,” as it were, winning 12 out of the 23 sessions, but Polk’s wins have been much, much bigger than Negreanu’s.
I am honestly not sure if Negreanu is now committed to playing the rest of the 12,000 hands, or if he can give up whenever he wants as long as he is behind. It is going to be a hell of a slog to try to make any sort of significant dent in his losses, not to mention not losing more money. Despite his status as one of the best poker players of all time, Negreanu was considered an underdog in this match, as his strength is live poker and Polk, before he retired was one of the best online poker players in the world.