Doug Polk back in control as Daniel Negreanu fades on Day 9

Jon Sofen
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Posted on: November 23, 2020 10:03 pm EST

Doug Polk and Daniel Negreanu squared off on Friday as the former throttled the latter for a six-figure win. The Upswing Poker founder jumped back into the lead as the epic grudge match rolls on.

Polk didn’t need to win on Friday. The poker pros are still early in their lengthy heads-up no-limit hold’em challenge. But after getting dominated the previous week — Negreanu had won four of the past five sessions — it sure felt good for the heads-up legend to reverse the tide.

Negreanu, who entered the match as a huge underdog (4-1), showed up to the WSOP.com poker site on Friday with a lead exceeding $175,000 in more than 3,400 hands. He was, to say the least, surprising many in the poker community with his performance. Most expected Polk to cruise to victory, but Negreanu has more than put up a fight.

With that said, just 377 hands and 2 and a half hours later, he’s now in a hole, albeit a small one. Polk booked a $205,521 win, his second largest of the series ($218,792 profit on Day 2). And he did so by winning virtually every big pot the poker pros played during the session.

Negreanu simply couldn’t get anything going. Polk took the lead early and extended it consistently throughout the day. The GGPoker ambassador took multiple shots at pots on the river with check-raises or big bets in position, but lost nearly every time he attempted such a play.

That was the story for Negreanu all day. But he said in his post-game interview on the GGPoker YouTube channel that his confidence isn’t shattered despite a brutal loss on Day 9. He’s been playing professionally at the highest stakes for over 20 years. If anyone thinks he’s going to fall apart mentally over a six-figure loss, they’ll be sadly mistaken.

Doug Polk a massive favorite again

Despite Daniel Negreanu’s $175,000 lead entering Day 9, PokerShares still had Doug Polk as a big favorite. The 2017 WSOP One Drop High Roller champion’s odds to win had dropped to -370. But the oddsmakers were still giving Negreanu very little respect.

After Friday’s dominating performance, Polk’s odds jumped again to -625 on PokerShares. Negreanu checks in at +455, meaning a $100 wager would pay out $455 if “DNegs” could somehow win the match. PokerShares, run by poker pro and gambling genius Mike McDonald, has given minimal respect to Negreanu throughout, considering him to have a very low percentage chance of winning the match.

Even if you believe Doug Polk will win, the odds are so low that it’s almost not even worth betting. A $100 wager on the Upswing Poker creator would pay just a $16 profit. Given how competitive Negreanu has been so far, the best bet just might be on the GGPoker ambassador to take it down.

Either way, this match still has more than 8,000 hands to go, and potentially as many as 21,000 left. That all depends on if the losing player at 12,500 hands decides he wants to continue playing until the 25,000-hand mark. All indications point to this match going the full distance, especially if Polk is behind at the midway point.

Negreanu now trails by $26,159, which is barely half of a buy-in ($40,000). So, his deficit isn’t much and can be erased, and then some, in just one hand. Polk and Negreanu will get back to it beginning on Monday at 2:30 pm PT. They’re going to play again at the same time on Wednesday before taking a brief break for Thanksgiving, and then will wrap up the week on Saturday, also at 2:30 pm.

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