Doug Polk previews Daniel Negreanu vs. Phil Hellmuth match

Jon Sofen
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Posted on March 11, 2021 6:57 pm EST

Doug Polk knows a thing or two about Phil Hellmuth and especially Daniel Negreanu, so he previewed the upcoming heads-up match on PokerGO’s podcast, “No Gamble No Future.”

Polk joined hosts Jeff Platt and Brent Hanks on the podcast to discuss the heavily anticipated challenge, which airs on PokerGO March 16. The show, “High Stakes Duel,” will be recorded a couple days beforehand.

You can bet on that match over at PokerShares if you’re looking for some action. Negreanu is currently a -164 favorite, meaning you’d have to bet $164 to win $100 on “Kid Poker.” Hellmuth is a +141 underdog, so a $100 wager would net a $141 profit.

Polk isn’t too surprised with the odds, and he made it clear he believes Negreanu is a superior heads-up player. If anyone knows about Negreanu’s heads-up skills, it would be the man who recently competed against him over 25,000 hands of high-stakes heads-up no-limit hold’em.

During that match, Polk won $1.2 million at $200/$400 stakes on WSOP.com. He was clearly the better player, as most expected. And now he’s analyzing the upcoming Negreanu vs. Hellmuth match.

This heads-up challenge will be far different than Polk vs. Negreanu. Not only will Hellmuth vs. Negreanu take place live at the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas (as opposed to on the internet) but it won’t be a cash game format. Instead, the players will compete in a deep stack sit n go.

“Who is the better player?” Polk asked himself on the “No Gamble No Future” podcast. “I think overall, they both have their pros and cons.”

It’s anyone’s game, but one player has an edge

Polk went on to explain that Negreanu is a better mixed game player and Hellmuth, perhaps, a superior multi-table tournament player. But we’re talking about heads-up no-limit hold’em here.

Polk faced Hellmuth in a similar heads-up format to “High Stakes Feud” when he lost to the “Poker Brat” on Poker Night in America’s “King of the Hill” competition in 2017.

“My take is that Daniel Negreanu will have a substantial edge here,” the Upswing Poker founder claims. “In fact, a lot of the things that Phil seems to like to do don’t make sense, at all, in any way. And that’s not to take away from Daniel, he’s come a long way in his heads-up no-limit game. But Phil is gonna do stuff like limp most buttons and maybe not really re-raise pre-flop, or possibly lead, or maybe min-raise, or basically all the things you learn in Poker 101 to never do this dumb s**t.”

Polk didn’t hold back on his thoughts about Hellmuth’s heads-up skills, or lack thereof. But he did acknowledge that variance will be a contributing factor in the format they’re going to play.

“It’s not gonna be a ton of hands, so really it could go either way,” Polk argues. “Absolutely, Phil Hellmuth could win this. It’s not likely though. But he could win this in this short format where anything can happen.”

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