As the grudge match between Doug Polk and Daniel Negreanu nears its halfway point, Polk is approaching a seven-figure lead.
Polk continued his recent heater as the challenge moved into December after Polk raced out to a roughly $600,000 lead at the end of November. After 18 sessions and 9,950 hands, Polk has won $957,932 from the six-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner.
The duo played two tables of $200-$400 no-limit hold’em on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday this past week and are playing a final session for the week Friday afternoon. Negreanu put a small dent in the lead during the first week of December, but Polk won $160,348 in Monday’s session, $101,713 on Wednesday and another $173,326 during Friday’s session to pull away from Negreanu.
By most accounts of the match, Negreanu is running terribly. During Wednesday’s session, he picked up AK and ran it into Polk’s pocket aces in an all in preflop situation. And it continued on Thursday as he lost with AQ to KT on a QQ6J4 board and in another all in preflop situation when his pocket aces were cracked by Polk’s pocket kings.
Daniel takes an incredible beat in a 4bp and loses Ah Qx on QQxhh to KThh.
He sits out. Spends a few minutes, gathers himself. Come on Daniel, you can do this. Lets go.
First hand back, Aces. This is how it starts. Raise Raise Raise Allin! Call! Finally!
Sits back out. pic.twitter.com/OLphfrFSY1
— Doug “Truck Driver” Polk (@DougPolkVids) December 11, 2020
To make it even worse for Negreanu, Polk five-bet 9-7 offsuit, which he later admitted was a misclick and won a sizeable pot when the flop came seven-high.
Played a guy today who was misclick 5-betting the minimum 200 bbs deep with 97o and just smashing the 723 flop making it look easy.
— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) December 11, 2020
Following Wednesday’s losing session, Negreanu told hosts of the GGPoker stream Jeff Platt and Patrick Tardif that thanks to the sheer number of cold decks he had thus far, he needed to deposit more money into his WSOP.com account to continue playing.
“You take two people. They play poker. If one guy has eight setups and the other guy has two setups, the guy who has eight setups is going to win every time,” said Negreanu. “The only thing I’m annoyed about is having to go deposit more money. Otherwise, I would’ve kept playing.”
In a presumed moment of tilt, Negreanu also commented that he was ready to extend the challenge to 100,000 hands instead of the currently scheduled 25,000. In a tweet responding to that comment, Polk said “If that is something he would like, I’m down!”
Heading into Thursday’s session, Negreanu tweeted that they had played 25 pots where all the money was in the middle before the river. In all 25 of those situations, Negreanu didn’t suck out a single time.
“It is epic. Heads-up poker is bananas,” said Negreanu in Wednesday’s post-match interview. “Why am I not losing more? That’s the f***ing question. I feel like I should be losing $20 million.”
You can see Negreanu’s entire interview in the video below (Warning: The content is not suitable for work).
Thursday’s session was the longest of any that they had played to date as they battled for nearly 1,000 hands over nearly five hours of play. By Polk’s own admission, he ran extremely well to win the $173,326. In a tweet following the session, he called it his “luckiest session” of the challenge.
Negreanu will have the option to quit after 12,500 hands, but based on his comments after Wednesday’s match, that doesn’t seem likely.