Daniel Negreanu booked yet another winning session in his grudge match against Doug Polk, and he extended his lead in the process. But it wasn’t easy, and he had to grind out a small but important victory as he seeks to pull one of the biggest upsets in poker history.
As the challenge moves on beyond the small sample size phase, Negreanu’s performance can no longer be chalked up as a fluke. That doesn’t mean he’s a lock to win the match, but it should make those who bet on Polk as a heavy favorite nervous at the very least.
Most still expect Polk to win, according to posts on social media from poker players. At this point in the match, however, he’s down a sizable amount and has lost four of the past five sessions.
Daniel Negreanu proving his worth
Negreanu entered play on Thursday with a semi-comfortable lead — about $155,000. He was coming off his most impressive performance of the match, a $222,832 profit. Hoping to continue his momentum going forward, the GGPoker ambassador booked himself another winning session on Thursday.
But this was no walk in the park for the Poker Hall of Famer. He had to grind it out, scooping numerous small pots along the way to hold onto his lead. Polk made fewer mistakes during Thursday’s session than he did on Tuesday. His massive river bets got through more often than in the previous session, and when he sought value with big bets on the river, he got his opponent to call.
But he also lost a massive pot in one of the sickest ways we’ve seen in this match. Negreanu, with pocket aces rivered quads, while Polk hit his king-high nut flush on the river. The $62,000 pot went “Kid Poker’s” way, but he was far from dominant the rest of the session.
Polk may have even outplayed Negreanu on Thursday, although sometimes it’s difficult to know for sure given that we can only view the hole cards when the hand goes to showdown. But Polk seemed to play exceptionally well despite the loss, and also despite having lost a massive pot to a brutal cooler.
At the end of the two-hour session, Negreanu won $24,156 in 457 hands, but he held a much bigger lead not long before they called it quits for the day. Polk won a few sizable pots right before they wrapped it up, a much needed mini heater for the Upswing Poker founder.
Doug Polk just can’t help himself sometimes
After play concluded for the day, Polk went straight to Twitter to pop off. Although the rivals have remained cordial during the heads-up challenge, Polk got in a bit of a jab at his opponent, criticizing his pre-flop play.
Dnegs is playing a preflop strategy so insane that it has to be one of two things
1) He has found the holy grail of preflop solutions unknown to any top hunl players on the planet
2) He's playing bad
I'd say time will tell but maybe it already is
— Doug "Truck Driver" Polk (@DougPolkVids) November 20, 2020
“Dnegs is playing a preflop strategy so insane that it has to be one of two things 1) He has found the holy grail of preflop solutions unknown to any top hunl players on the planet 2) He’s playing bad I’d say time will tell but maybe it already is,” he wrote on Twitter.
Perhaps Negreanu is playing poorly pre-flop as Polk seems to suggest. But whatever it is he’s doing seems to be working out well for him. So, maybe there’s a method to his madness. After all, Negreanu is one of the most accomplished poker players in the history of the game. He didn’t fluke his way to success over a 20-year period.
Through 3,422 hands, despite supposedly playing a questionable pre-flop strategy against one of the top heads-up no-limit hold’em players ever, Negreanu holds a $179,363 lead and appears to have all the momentum on his side. These two gentlemen will be back at it for some more high-stakes online poker Friday at 2:30 pm PT.
Featured image source: Twitter