As the $200/$400 heads-up no-limit hold’em match between Doug Polk and Daniel Negreanu got rolling, the latter looked every bit the feisty underdog of his big-screen hero Rocky.
Negreanu had dominated Polk in the opening 200 hands played live in Las Vegas, and he’d followed up with competitive results across the first nine sessions. Less than a buy-in separated the two at that point.
What’s followed has been mostly session after session of Polk building stack after stack, accumulating nearly $1 million in winnings. The online heads-up specialist once known as arguably the world’s finest in the format looks much the part. With the first landmark — the 12,500-hand halfway mark that gives the trailing player the option to concede — just a few thousand hands away, Polk has built a lead of $959,560.
Stuck almost seven figures with multiple frustrating reloads in recent memory, will Negreanu wave the white flag? While that might seem the sound course of action to some, Negreanu’s recent rhetoric seems to indicate he’ll fight on. A frustrated “Kid Poker” proclaimed he’s willing to go up to 100,000 hands on eight tables if need be after a recent loss, but it remains to be seen if he’s feeling the same when decision time comes.
Learn everything there is to know about Polk vs. Negreanu!
About an hour into the day’s play, a six-figure pot went down. Negreanu three-bet then fired a small bet of $2,000, his usual sizing in such cases, on . Polk called and faced a bigger barrel of $9,273 on the . Negreanu shoved for $40K effective on the river and was met with a snap-call as Polk made a flush with . Negreanu could only show and watch the $111K pot go to his opponent.
In a single-raised pot, Negreanu used a large sizing of $1,500 on a flop and Polk made it $3,998. Negreanu called the check-raise and Polk bet nearly pot with $9,140 on the turn. Negreanu peeled again to the river. Polk slammed in the last $25,860 and Negreanu quickly called with , and it had been Polk’s turn to blast off a he showed .
Negreanu then got excellent value with on as Polk paid off three streets after calling a three-bet, including $22K into $30K on the river. He seemed to be heading toward a solid session up about $50K halfway through the day.
Unfortunately for him, things turned from there. First, Polk stacked him on a cooler in a single-raised pot when Negreanu turned the nuts for free on and got a check-raise called before the completed the board. He bet big with $7,978 into $10.6K and Polk jammed for $43K. Negreanu tanked a long time and seemed to consider a massive fold but ultimately paid off the .
Negreanu coolered him right back making the nut flush on a river that gave Polk a straight, but he remained stuck about a buy-in.
They battled for a long time with Polk only increasing his lead just a bit until an unusual hand went down. Polk defended his big blind and check-called $1,500 on and then the checked through. On the river, Polk checked and Negreanu bet pretty big with $3,750. Polk woke up with a massive check-raise to $22,496. Negreanu tank-called again but Polk had him smacked on the flop, showing a slowplayed .
Polk grabbed one more solid pot with a bluffcatch on second pair, and he racked up after a long session with a six-figure win, his second straight.
Hands Played: 852
Results: Doug Polk +$117,624
Full session video
In what passed for a big pot on the day, Polk grabbed an early lead when Negreanu three-bet and continued big for $6,155 on . Polk continued to the and shoved over Negreanu’s small bet of $4,400. Negreanu folded pretty quickly.
The pot of the day went down a bit after that. Polk raised pre and continued for $778 on . Negreanu called and check-called an overbet of $5,115 on the turn. The completed the board and Negreanu checked again. Polk overbet again with $20,462 into $13K and Negreanu called but couldn’t beat .
Negreanu missed an opportunity to try and buy a pot when he called a c-bet from three-bettor Polk on and the arrived. Polk checked and, with $12,819 in the middle, Negreanu went for a big bet of $9,616. Polk called and both players checked the , with Polk showing down .
They quit shortly after, and Polk had won enough small and medium pots to add up the a win of about three buy-ins despite the lack of huge pots, keeping his winning streak alive.
Hands Played: 386
Results: Doug Polk +$120,023
Full session video
On a day that would see the biggest swing thus far, Polk set the tone about half an hour in with a nasty bluffcatch as Negreanu three-bet and continued for $3,200 on a flop. Polk called and both players checked the . On the , Negreanu fired $10,955 into $14,604 and Polk picked him off with , forcing Negreanu to show his .
Polk continued to get the better of things, winning several five-figure pots, and then he dealt a big blow on a cooler. Negreanu three-bet and then checked a flop, calling a small bet of $2,300. The prompted another check and Polk bet just under pot with $12,285. Negreanu called and didn’t hesitate on the river when Polk shoved for $35K. Unfortunately for him, his had run into .
Polk stayed a step ahead when he got the four-bet in pre and continued tiny for $4,280 on the . Negreanu called and both players checked the . On the river, Negreanu crammed for $25,617 into just under $30K. Polk looked him up with and the thin call was a winner against .
They took a break with Negreanu buried almost $200K in less than two hours.
Another stack went to Polk right after when he called a four-bet and opted to lead small for $6,251 on the flop. Negreanu peeled to the turn. Polk shoved for $24K effective and Negreanu called fairly quickly with but was shown and didn’t improve.
Polk continued to run smoking hot, backdooring a nut straight after flopping air and then making top pair on the flop turn into a nut flush on a four-club board to win another $53K pot when Negreanu called a pot-sized river bet.
Then, Polk three-bet and continued small for $2,862 on . Negreanu called then called another $8,883 on the . Polk barreled again for $20,787 on the and Negreanu looked him up but mucked to the as yet another huge pot was shipped to Polk.
Negreanu finally earned a stack when Polk check-raised small on in a four-bet pot and then shoved the turn. Negreanu was ready with and held against .
It was more Polk down the stretch, though. The biggest blow came when Negreanu three-bet and fired $6,273 on and Polk continued to the . Negreanu checked and Polk bet small, $6,899. Negreanu called and then checked the . Polk shoved for just under the $34K pot and Negreanu called instantly with but top pair was no good against for a boat.
Still another stack was shipped to Polk when he cracked queens with eights all in preflop, nailing an eight on the river, and the nightmare session for Negreanu ended in a hole north of $330K.
Hands Played: 684
Results: Doug Polk +$332,178
Full session video
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Neither player earned much of an upper hand through the first half hour or so. Negreanu finally shipped a notable pot when he went with his standard tiny bet of $4,400 after four-betting and seeing flop. Polk check-raised to $11,096 but snap-mucked to a shove, enabling Negreanu to open up a little lead.
A similar situation unfolded when Polk three-bet and continued for $4,108, half the pot, on . Negreanu called and the turn was a . Polk bet pretty big with $10,339 but again folded instantly to a shove.
That was the theme through the first hour before break as Negreanu picked up most of the bigger pots to build a lead of around $80K.
The good times continued for “Kid Poker” just shy of two hours in when he three-bet and Polk called, and flopped. Negreanu bet $2,400 and Polk called. On the , Negreanu barreled $9,755. Polk again stuck around, bringing a . Negreanu made a pot-sized shove for $31K and Polk tanked a long time then called with but was no good against .
Polk began righting the ship with a cooler as Negreanu double-barreled a board after he three-bet. Polk raised the turn and they got it in with Negreanu’s dead against .
Negreanu, however, stacked him right back barreling off on after three-betting. Polk looked him up with after a lengthy tank but ran into for a flopped straight.
A huge pot turned the session toward the end. Negreanu continued large for $6,403 after three-betting and seeing flop. Polk called, bringing a . Negreanu fired big again, $16,009. Polk called once more and the completed the board. Negreanu slowed down with a check. Polk jammed it in for $33,356 and Negreanu thought a bit and called with . He’d been run down by though, and Polk claimed a $120K pot.
That turned a medium win for Negreanu into a small one and he called it a session in short order.
Hands Played: 476
Results: Daniel Negreanu +$17,780
Full session video
Polk swept up most of the sizable pots for the first 40 minutes or so and quickly built a lead of about $80,000. When the first big pot was played, it was no surprise given the early play that Polk collected it as well.
Looking to press his advantage, Polk put in a preflop four-bet to $11,333 when they were about $55K deep, and Negreanu called. Negreanu check-called a small sizing of about $4,500 on , bringing the . Polk continued barreling with $10,470 and Negreanu check-shoved for about $39K. Polk was in there instantly with for trips, having sucked out on with a lucky turn. No ace on the river meant a $109K pot and big early lead for Polk.
Simultaneous hero calls by Polk helped Negreanu right the ship.
On one table, Negreanu three-barreled off on a board of in position after calling a three-bet and seeing Polk cede the lead on the flop. Polk looked him up with but his blockers didn’t work out as Negreanu showed . On the other, Negreanu called a four-bet and a tiny c-bet of $4,447 on then faced another small bet of $6,849 on the . Negreanu check-jammed for $31K and Polk called with but was hammered by . The river gave Negreanu improvement to the nut flush that he didn’t need.
A few more five-figure pots without showdown and Negreanu had things squared up again about an hour in.
They were almost 200 big blinds deep when an interesting hand developed after Negreanu three-bet and flopped. Negreanu opted to check and Polk went small with $2,874. Negreanu called and the turn was a . Polk went bigger with $9,687, about two-thirds of the pot. Negreanu again check-called but he sprang to life with $25,378. Polk shoved over the lead for just $54,282 total. Despite the excellent price, Negreanu released.
Then, one of the biggest pots of the match. Negreanu three-bet and sized down with $2,400 on . Polk called, and the turn was the . Negreanu barreled again for $9,873 and Polk called, bringing the . Negreanu bet $24,682, leaving about $18K back. Polk shoved and Negreanu quickly called with but had been rivered by . Polk shipped the $118K pot and took a lead of about $130K once again.
That pot was eclipsed the next time stacks went in. Negreanu three-bet to about $4,400 and Polk called to bring a flop. Negreanu bet $3,200 and Polk called. On the turn, Negreanu bet big with $11,465. Polk called again, and the river was the . Negreanu tripled in another sizable bet of $28,663. That was met with a shove for $73,420. Negreanu needed only a beat before calling with for the backdoor flush, and Polk showed down a pip weaker with to send the $185K pot to “Kid Poker.”
Polk’s advantage was nearly gone when they played another three-bet pot, this time with Polk the aggressor, and flopped. Polk put in a tiny sizing of $1,807 and Negreanu peeled, bringing the . This time, Polk’s bet was nearly the size of the pot, $11,082. Polk followed up when he jammed the river for $31,842 but Negreanu was ready holding for top pair with the nut blocker. Polk was bluffing with .
Negreanu had recovered enough to book a very small win when they quit moments later.
Hands Played: ~600
Results: Daniel Negreanu +~$10,000
Full session video
Polk took an early lead when he three-bet and opted to bet full pot of about $8K on a flop. Negreanu shoved and Polk called off to create an early $80K pot, and it was Polk holding a big lead with against . The pairing on the turn opened up some chop possibilities for Kid Poker but the didn’t do it for him.
Negreanu had erased that deficit and then some, though, winning several medium and larger pots to take a small lead. Then, he three-bet and called a four-bet for a flop. With $22K in the middle, Polk bet about $4,500. Negreanu stuck around and the turn went check-check. When Negreanu checked a final time on the , Polk overbet crammed for about $41K effective. Negreanu called right away to create a pot of $113K and his was way good against .
Polk earned a stack right back when he again outkicked Negreanu, against in a three-bet pot on , but he remained stuck about $40K.
One of the biggest pots of the match happened on a flop. Negreanu had three-bet it preflop and led for $6,532, about three-quarters pot. Negreanu slowed down with a check on the , seeing a wager worth $14,592 from Polk. Negreanu jammed for $51K more effective and Polk snapped it with the six-high straight and didn’t have a single card to fade since Negreanu held . Polk collected the pot of almost $153K.
A single-raised pot would then see Negreanu check-call a small wager on . On the turn, he checked and Polk potted for $3,016. Negreanu check-raised to about $9,800 and Polk called. Negreanu overbet shoved the river for about $30K and Polk called with but was no good against for the wheel.
A slightly fortunate river did save Polk a few bucks when Negreanu flopped big again, this time in a four-bet pot, and he attempted to sucker Polk into barreling off. The heads-up legend, having been the aggressor pre, fired flop and turn as it ran . With $60K in the middle, he opted to give up and show down his and was happy he did so since Negreanu turned over .
They were $53K deep when stacks went in preflop on a standard situation, Polk showing and Negreanu . Polk got the better of the flip as he paired his ace on the flop to run his stack to almost $200K.
Moments later, Negreanu got a stack right back when he coolered Polk. This time, top pair with was no good for Polk on , running it into top set.
Negreanu’s momentum continued when he got a four-bet in pre with the players almost 300 blinds deep. Polk check-called a small bet of $4,400 on . Both players checked the , and Polk potted for $30K on the . Negreanu quickly called with , and it was an ugly cooler for Polk since he had .
The swingy session ended with Negreanu up a bit more than a buy-in.
Hands Played: ~450
Results: Daniel Negreanu +~$46,000
Full session video
Polk got off to a good start in the lengthy sesh when he three-bet and opted to check the flop, with Negreanu checking back for a board of . Polk then potted for $8,217 and Negreanu peeled, bringing a . Polk shoved for $29K, a bit over the pot, and Negreanu called with for a straight only to be shown for a flush
The smaller pots weren’t going much better for Negreanu as Polk built a solid lead of around $60K. That trend continued when Negreanu went with turn and river overbets, the latter $22K into $14.8K, on . Polk looked him up with and won against .
Similar to the first big pot of the day, another flop went check-check after a Polk three-bet for a board of . Polk again mashed in pot for $8,217 and Negreanu called. Again, Polk shoved the river, this time for $32K on the . Again, Negreanu called, this time with . No good, as Polk had flopped bottom two with .
The fiery run for Polk was exemplified on a board of when he bet small with about $5K into $15K and Negreanu called. Polk had for quads and surged past the $200K mark in profit.
They were just shy of $60K deep when Polk four-bet to about $12.5K preflop and Negreanu called to bring a . Action checked to the and Negreanu bet $10,546. Polk called, and the river was the . Negreanu jammed in almost $37K into $46K and Polk clicked call with . Negreanu couldn’t beat it, showing to concede the $119K pot.
Nearing $300K in losses after the early avalanche, Negreanu recovered almost $50K when he three-bet and barreled off on , winning with pocket kings against . He kept it rolling with sizable pots, picking off a bluff with a rivered flush for a $65K pot and then shoving over $11K into $34.6K on to win without showdown. He got the deficit down to around $150K.
Another big one went Negreanu’s way when he three-bet and continued for $3,200 on . Polk raised small to $8,278 and Negreanu called. They both checked the . On the river, Negreanu checked again and Polk bet small, $8,430. Negreanu popped in a raise to $29,635 and Polk called but lost to .
There wouldnt be too much movement after that, and Polk booked another big win to stop his three-session slide.
Hands Played: ~600
Results: Doug Polk +~$160,000
Full session video
About 15 minutes, Negreanu raised preflop and continued small for $400 on . Polk called, bringing a flush turn of . Polk checked and Negreanu barreled bigger for $2,100. Polk check-raised big to $10,780. Negreanu called. On the , Polk shoved for $30K effective, a bit over the pot. Negreanu called quickly with but ran his straight into for a flush.
A massive pot followed on that same table when Negreanu’s four-bet to about $10,800 was met with a call. He continued for $4,400 on and the arrived. Negreanu bet small again with $6,400 and Polk called. On the river, Polk check-called the last $33K to create a pot of $110K, but his was smashed by from the get-go.
The cooler swung right back the other way on a board of . Polk c-bet small after three-betting and they checked the turn to play a river with just shy of $13K in the middle. Polk checked, Negreanu bet $9,616. Polk shoved for just under $34K and Negreanu called pretty quickly with but ran into top set.
Polk tried setting another trap check-called flop and checking down out of position on . However, Negreanu checked back and Polk revealed his , settling for a $30K pot.
Negreanu was down a little shy of two buy-ins when Polk went for a more aggressive river line. Negreanu had continued small for $2,400 after three-betting and seeing a flop, with Polk calling. Both players checked the , bringing the . Negreanu checked and Polk went for a big bet of $20,004, well over the $13.3K pot. Negreanu nonetheless quickly called with and won against . At the same time, he won a $15K pot on the other table without showdown, reducing his deficit to about a buy-in.
The gap remained about the same when they were about to hit the three-hour mark and Negreanu four-bet to $11,020. Polk responded with a five-bet shove worth just shy of $60,000. Negreanu called with but was smashed by . Kid Poker did get a sweat when flopped but the and didn’t bring enough improvement.
Negreanu called it a session immediately, revealing in an expletive-laced post-match interview on the GGPoker channel that he’d run his account dry and needed to reload.
Hands Played: 662
Results: Doug Polk +$101,713
Full session video
The first hour was relatively slow, with Polk building a lead of around $30K but losing it right back. Then, Negreanu three-bet and continued for $3,200 on , receiving a call from Polk. Negreanu slowed down, checking the . Polk bet $9,785 and Negreanu continued to the . He checked again and Polk shoved for $23,111. Negreanu looked him up with but was beaten by .
The next big pot would also feature a nasty beat. This time, Negreanu four-bet it to $11K pre and Polk peeled then led out $6,611 on . Negreanu called. The checked through for a river. Polk stuck in the last $22,368 and Negreanu snap-called with for trips, but he had been caught on the turn by .
Immediately after, they got in a preflop raising war with Negreanu five-bet cramming in his stack. Polk got in there since he had but saw he’d been coolered by . No matter, as he found a set on the flop and faded the redraw after the turn. A mere 90 minutes in and Polk was up more than $170K.
A massive pot helped Negreanu right the ship. He got a small-ish three-bet in preflop when the players were about 225 blinds deep. Polk peeled and then called when Negreanu continuation-bet $2,800 into $7,284 on . Negreanu checked the and called a bet of $8,632. On the river, Polk overbet $45,225 when checked to and Negreanu snapped it with for trips. Polk had for total air.
While that helped Kid Poker, the next big one did not. In a single-raised pot, Polk continued for $763 on and Negreanu check-raised to $2,436. Polk called, bringing the . Negreanu gave up the aggression and checked, with Polk betting $4,482. Negreanu called and the river was the . Polk shoved for about twice the $15,656 pot. Negreanu thought briefly and called with for kings up but was pipped yet again by .
Polk bluffed off a chunk when he defended his big blind and check-called a small bet on then faced $2,700 on the turn. He check-raised to $11,615 and Negreanu called. Polk shoved on the river for $26K into $26K and got called by . He could only show down for the missed combo draw on the turn.
One of the most unusual pots of the entire match started with a Negreanu open, then a Polk three-bet to $3,768, then a Negreanu four-bet to $11,136. Polk responded with the rare five-bet click to $19,599. Negreanu called and the flop came . Polk continued for $7,839 and Negreanu called. The and both checked through, and Polk showed a surprising . It was good, as Negreanu couldn’t show down anything better, sending the $54K pot to Polk.
After that, they only played a bit longer before Negreanu lost another pot and didn’t reload for 100 big blinds. They called it quits at that point with Polk ahead $173K, pushing toward $1 million in winnings. He’d also admit on Twitter he misclicked the five-bet with nine-seven offsuit.
Hands Played: 700
Results: Doug Polk +$173,362
Full session video