TALE OF THE TAPE: Daniel Negreanu, Doug Polk Heading Toward Big Poker Showdown

Doug Polk and Deniel Negreanu have agreed to a high-stakes online poker matchup.

Maybe the upcoming battle between Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk should be billed as the Tank Top Tussle. Whatever the name, the matchup has been confirmed and should be a blockbuster poker showdown.

After plenty of back and forth, Polk and Negreanu have arrived at a general agreement on how things will go down. Some details remain to be sorted out, but there should be plenty of fireworks when the online poker battle commences sometime in September or October.

Bad vibes for a big event

Another big heads-up match took place recently as part of the new PokerGO series, The Duel. That featured Phil Hellmuth and Antonio Esfandiari battling it out for $50,000 each.

Unlike that event, this battle should be a little more salty. Both come into the event not as friendly rivals, but more as definite adversaries.

The animosity started in 2016 when Negreanu offered his opinions on increased rake at PokerStars. An ambassador at the company at the time, he argued increased rake in some cash games could keep pros away. That would be good for recreational players, he noted.

Polk believed Negreanu wasn’t representing players well. He’s since been a frequent critic and that included a “More Rake is Better” billboard at the World Series of Poker in 2018.

Negreanu says Polk uses him as a foil to grow his YouTube audience. He’s also taken a few jibes in recent years as well.

The insults have flown over the last week. Negreanu says Polk has bullied him and has an “an unhealthy obsession.”

Polk has referred to Negreanu as a sellout who “belittles people quite frequently.” He threw some shade in his nemesis’ direction.

A look inside the numbers

Whatever the case, the antagonism boiled over throughout the last week. Polk challenged Negreanu heads-up and that was accepted. Here are some of the details that have been ironed out so far.

  • Game – Heads-up No Limit Hold’em
  • Stakes – $200/$400
  • Number of hands – Between 10,000 and 25,000
  • Number of tables – 2
  • Side bet – unknown as of now
  • Time – To be determined, possibly September or October

Where do the two combatants stand heading into the matchup? Like two boxers ready to slug it out, here’s the complete tale of the tape.

Daniel Negreanu

Originally from Canada and now living in Las Vegas, he’s one of the most recognized names in poker. No stranger to table talk, Negreanu also brings big skills.

However, the six-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner says he’ll be at a disadvantage heads-up against Polk.

Major accomplishments: $42 million in lifetime tournament winnings; six WSOP bracelet, two WPT titles

  • Poker style: Small-ball poker, but adapted style through the years
  • Poker media/business: Longtime ambassador for PokerStars, but now part of Team GGPoker; streams his online play and produces daily vlogs during WSOP events
  • Interests away from the tables: hockey
  • Extra bullet point: Produced a MasterClass on poker strategy

Doug Polk

A YouTube poker sensation, Polk has plenty of heads-up online poker experience. However, he’s been out of the game for a few years and focused on other topics.

Originally from California and now based in Las Vegas, Polk has come out of retirement for this challenge. The poker world will be buzzing when they take a seat at the table.

  • Major accomplishments: $3.7 million in live tournament winnings as well as significant online winnings; three WSOP bracelets including the $111,111 High Roller for One Drop for $3.7 million
  • Poker style: Highly experienced, technically sound, ability to make correct adjustments relative to opponents
  • Poker media/business: Co-founder of Upswing Poker training site; successful YouTube channels  
  • Interests away from the tables: Trading cryptocurrency
  • Extra bullet point: Part of a team that beat artificial intelligence bot at Carnegie Mellon University

Players ready to take in the action

Many players have taken to Twitter to voice their anticipation of the event. It seems many poker fans have been dreaming of the tank top-clad poker warriors battling it out.

Popular commentator Nick Schulman expressed the thoughts of many in the poker world. With Team Polk versus Team Negreanu, he believes a large multimedia presentation should be part of the fun.

“Listen buddy, as far as commentary goes there should be different teams/platforms covering this thing,” he noted in a response to a Polk Tweet. “I really don’t know but everyone should come out of the woodwork. All I ask is for a little sit down with you both before playing face to face. Borderline aroused thinking about it.”

Shaun Deeb also took to Twitter offering some speculative lines related to the event. He even threw in a tank top wager.

Look for more at PokerScout as more details are announced. Whatever the outcome, it should be quite an interesting poker brawl.