Negreanu wins again, but has missed opportunity

Jon Sofen
Published by:
Posted on 01/11/2021

Daniel Negreanu booked yet another winning session against Doug Polk. But he’s failing to put a serious dent in his massive deficit. The GGPoker ambassador is making a habit of missing out on turning out a large profit.

Hardly any poker expert expected Negreanu to even be competitive against Polk. After all, Polk is considered arguably the best heads-up no limit hold’em player in the world, while “DNegs” is more of a live tournament specialist.

They’re playing heads-up NLH on WSOP.com at the $200/$400 stakes. So, of course Polk was heavily favored. He’s still a big favorite, but he isn’t dominating like most expected.

Make no mistake, despite the $644,000 deficit entering Day 25, Negreanu has shown that he belongs. If you take away some of the bad beats and coolers he’s lost on all-in bets, this match would be close.

What happened on Day 25?

Polk and Negreanu met against on Friday on the WSOP.com poker site for another four hour session of high-stakes poker. For those who watched it, the match felt like Negreanu dominated.

If you didn’t pay attention to the score throughout the session, you probably would have guessed the GGPoker ambassador booked a massive win. But that was far from the case.

Negreanu outplayed Polk for much of the match and won numerous pots. On multiple occasions, he picked up huge pots by catching his opponent bluffing. He also won a cooler in an $80,000 pot with a flush against Polk’s rivered set of aces.

That hand was crushing to the Upswing Poker founder, but it wasn’t the end of the world. He still found a way to keep things close throughout most of the session.

After trailing by just over $100,000 on the day, Polk turned up the heat on his opponent. The recently unretired poker star found some success in the pre-flop five bet approach. In 5-6 spots, he five bet pre-flop and forced Negreanu off his hand.

Since we can’t see the cards and Polk doesn’t disclose his hands publicly, we don’t know if he was bluffing some of those times or if he always had the goods. But considering a four-bet size is typically $10,500 to $12,000, successfully five betting with no resistance five times adds up to over $50,000.

Those five bets helped Polk keep the match close. He also picked up a few fairly large pots at showdown on the river.

Negreanu had yet another golden opportunity for a big win. He didn’t lose on Friday, which is a positive for the Poker Hall of Famer. But if he’s ever going to get back in this match, he’ll need to stop dumping large amounts of chips late in each session.

That’s been the pattern for him recently. He dominates the match until the final half hour, in which he loses much of his lead back. When all was said and done on Day 25, after four hours of play, Negreanu finished with a modest $27,945 profit and is now down by $616,722 through 14,500 hands.

That was his fourth consecutive win and sixth out of seven. But with “only” 10,500 hands remaining before the High Stakes Duel concludes, Negreanu had better run hot soon before it’s too late.

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