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.”
I get it. He looked up to me growing up. I was his favorite player. Then he starting making some click bait videos attacking people and I didn’t think they were appropriate.
Had to hurt his feelings which turned into a multi year obsession. https://t.co/drOFZr1DQG
— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) July 28, 2020
Polk has referred to Negreanu as a sellout who “belittles people quite frequently.” He threw some shade in his nemesis’ direction.
You were one of my favorite players. But that didn't end because I made videos online, it ended because somewhere along the way you totally sold out to make money at the expense of the common player. https://t.co/M6xfEdCVJj
— Doug Polk (@DougPolkVids) July 29, 2020
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.
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
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.
- 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.
Some early lines on @pokershares on the hu match
Daniel U 1.5 Monitors: -200
Doug O 6.5 Steaks Eaten on Stream: -400
Both wear tank top day 1: +140
Daniel secures Dental Sponsor: +300
Doug handles challenge with class +450
Daniel sits on Over 1.5 Phonebooks for challenge: -120
— shaun deeb (@shaundeeb) July 30, 2020
Look for more at PokerScout as more details are announced. Whatever the outcome, it should be quite an interesting poker brawl.