Daniel Negreanu stops the bleeding, wins small amount vs. Doug Polk

Jon Sofen
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Posted on 12/01/2020

Daniel Negreanu won $17,000 on Day 13 against Doug Polk, but he would have won much more if not for a questionable call at the end. On a positive note for the GGPoker ambassador, however, at least he booked a winning session.

After having lost four sessions in a row by massive amounts, including $330,000 on Saturday, Negreanu needed to stop the bleeding. He still has plenty of time to turn things around and win the match. But he’s not going to win it if he continues making questionable river calls such as he did on the final hand Monday.

Did Daniel Negreanu make a terrible call?

In that hand, the former PokerStars Team Pro member had J-9 and three-bet from the big blind, a play he made numerous times during Monday’s two-hour session. When the flop came 2-9-6, he continued his aggression with top pair, betting three-fourths the size of the pot. He made another massive bet on the turn ($16,009), which was the 4 of diamonds, giving Doug Polk a flush draw and over card (A-7 of diamonds).

Polk wasn’t going anywhere with his drawing hand so he continued in the hand, and then hit an ace on the river. Afraid of the over-card, as he should have been, Negreanu checked it back to his opponent who shoved all-in for $33,000, seeking maximum value from top-pair.

Negreanu was faced with a difficult decision. He had already committed around $26,000 to the pot and was getting nearly 3-1 on his money to make the call. But given Polk had called off his big bets on the flop and turn, after the ace hit on the river, the only hand he could beat at this point was likely a missed flush draw or possibly a small pair that Polk was turning into a bluff.

After tanking for over a minute, Negreanu opted to call and then found out the bad news. He decided to call it quits for the day following that costly hand.

The decision to make the call on the river put a damper on an otherwise impressive performance from Daniel Negreanu on Monday. Had he folded, he would have booked a $50,000 win, which is more than one full buy-in. But since he opted to pay off Polk, he left up just $17,780, less than half a buy-in.

“Kid Poker” walked away from the online poker table a winner and cut Polk’s lead down to $578,417. He didn’t fall even further behind. But decisions like he made on that final hand just might be the difference between winning and losing this heads-up poker challenge.

Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk have now played 6,227 of potentially 25,000 hands (12,500 at minimum). There’s still plenty of time for “DNegs” to get back into the match. That won’t happen if he continues paying off Polk on the river when his hand is likely beat.

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