Doyle Brunson declines Doug Polk’s heads-up poker challenge

Jon Sofen
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Posted on: November 30, 2020 7:13 pm EST

Doyle Brunson refuses to play Doug Polk at heads-up poker because he doesn’t like the game selection offered. The poker legend is down to play any no-limit hold’em, which appears to be a deal breaker.

Polk, who retired from poker over two years ago, returned to the game recently to face his long-time rival, Daniel Negreanu, in a heads-up grudge match. He’s currently undertaking that 25,000-hand challenge at $200/$400 stakes and holds a massive lead of nearly $600,000 as the poker pros approach the quarter pole.

The Upswing Poker founder simply couldn’t stay retired for long, and still suggests he isn’t back for good. Instead, he said on Twitter, he’s only looking for big name poker players to battle one-on-one. That’s where Doyle Brunson, “The Godfather of Poker,” one of the most legendary players ever, comes into play.

Brunson is as big of a name as they come, but at 87 years old, it’s unlikely he’d take on a lengthy challenge, especially online. The 10-time WSOP bracelet winner still plays cards quite frequently, but he isn’t an online player. He prefers playing the high-stakes games at Bellagio inside the legendary Bobby’s Room (now renamed “Legends Room”).

Doyle initially said on Twitter that he prefers “the old school way of playing poker, face to face.” He took a shot at “cheat sheets” used by online pros these days. What he’s saying is that he doesn’t like how the pros of today use solvers and real-time assistance (RTA) charts to figure out what to do in every spot. The Poker Hall of Famer is an old school pro who learned how to play on his own and not by using solvers.

Polk, after seeing that post, offered to play Brunson heads-up in no-limit hold’em in person. Doyle responded: “No but I would welcome the chance to play you some razz. Simple game. Few other games also.” The Upswing Poker, who specializes in NLH, jokingly fired back a counter-offer.

“Ill make ya an offer, we play 3 games heads up. 1 is uncapped NL Hold’em, other 2 you can pick. Only stipulation is you gotta give me a month to prepare so I can read the rules of Badacey or Pot limit pineapple or whatever else we are playing,” Polk sarcastically wrote on November 24.

Although Polk was only kidding with the silly games like badacey and pineapple, he is serious about playing Doyle Brunson heads-up. The only problem is that it’s unlikely to ever happen given that Doyle doesn’t appear to have any interest in playing.

“Just saw this. You have split your pants bragging about how little chance players have against you. So I’ll pass and NLH is barred from further discussion. I would substitute limit hold em instead of no limit if u are interested,” Brunson wrote back on November 27.

Doyle Brunson: Polk vs. Negreanu the death of no-limit hold’em

Are Doug Polk and Daniel Negreanu killing no-limit hold’em, the game Doyle Brunson perfected more than 40 years ago? Brunson sure seems to think so.

“I think the match between Polk and Daniel is the end for NLH. I had no idea this new way was so strong. Any player would be nuts to play unless he knows the info. Never thought I would say that,” Brunson wrote on Twitter.

Polk argued that “this is going to happen in every game,” even the mixed games that Doyle plays. The top pros have bigger edges in mixed games than in no-limit hold’em. That’s because fewer people play those games than NLH, so the recreational players are less knowledgeable about proper game strategy than in NLH.

Many of the professional high rollers prefer sticking with mixed games or non-NLH games instead of NLH because they know they have a bigger edge, which means they make more money. Doyle Brunson hasn’t played much no-limit Texas hold’em in many years. So, it would be a terrible idea for him to play Doug Polk heads-up in NLH, a game the Upswing Poker founder specializes in.

But the same can be said for Polk, who is unlikely to accept a challenge against Brunson in mixed games or any non-NLH poker variant.

Featured image source: Flickr