Things could not be going any better for Doug Polk right about now. The Upswing Poker founder is making mincemeat of Daniel Negreanu on the virtual felt, and he appears destined to become even wealthier once this challenge concludes.
The fact of the matter for Negreanu right now is he is either going to have to catch cards (i.e. get lucky) or he’s going to lose a sizable chunk of his net worth. We don’t know how this match will conclude — it’s still way early — but if the GGPoker pro doesn’t start making some adjustments soon, he’s in deep trouble.
Polk is one of the best, if not the best, heads-up no-limit hold’em players in online poker history, and he’s proven that over the past few days. Even worse for “DNegs,” Polk is also running red hot. That’s a bad combination in a high-stakes poker challenge.
Negreanu needs to stop the bleeding fast
After an impressive challenge-opening session win on PokerGO, Negreanu has faded fast since the match shifted to the WSOP.com poker site. He lost the first online session by $218,292 and trailed heading into Monday’s battle overall by $101,792. Things got even worse for him during the third session, which lasted about two hours.
On Monday, Negreanu rushed out to a fast start after shipping a $100,000 pot with two-pair. Polk jammed the river for about $36,000 with a small pair, hoping to force his opponent off what he clearly anticipated was a stronger hand. Polk’s anticipation was dead on, but Negreanu made the call and won his first big pot since the competition moved to the internet.
However, that bit of good fortune was short lived. Negreanu took beating after beating, surrendering numerous large pots and winning few pots of note the remainder of the day. He was, for the second straight session, simply outclassed by one of the best heads-up pros ever.
Negreanu continued playing his “small ball” strategy, which he’s used effectively his entire career. His philosophy is to keep the pots small until he has the goods. The only problem with that strategy is Polk has picked up on it and has been taking advantage of Negreanu’s small bets with big raises that force the GGPoker ambassador to fold.
Far too many times on the turn and river Polk has convinced his opponent to fold with a raise. If Negreanu is going to continue folding to so many raises instead of firing back, Polk will exploit his play.
The poker stars played 382 hands on WSOP.com on Monday, and Polk turned a $166,239 profit. Through 1,006 hands overall, he now leads the grudge match by $268,031. The good news for Negreanu is the challenge still has 23,994 hands left, plenty of time for him to catch up. Or, depending on how you look at it, maybe that’s not such great news. He may want this thing to end quicker, before he loses too much money.
Polk knew he would dominate the match against his long-time rival. That’s precisely why he baited Negreanu into taking on the challenge, competing in a format (HUNL) that “DNegs” has minimal experience playing. Perhaps Daniel would have been better suited ignoring Polk’s trolling effort.
Featured image source: Twitter