Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk, two bitter rivals, have agreed to soon face off in a high-stakes heads-up no-limit hold’em challenge. No date has been set for the match. But Landon Tice, an up-and-coming poker pro, predicted “Kid Poker” would back out of the match. He later walked back that comment.
Tice wrote on Twitter: “I think there’s a high probability that Daniel won’t play Doug in the HU challenge.” He didn’t provide his reasoning or evidence for that prediction, however.
I think there’s a high probability that Daniel won’t play Doug in the HU Challenge
— Landon (@LandonTice) September 13, 2020
Later on, he took back his prediction, perhaps after receiving some inside information. Tice changed his mind and said, “I stand corrected.” The 21-year-old Floridian then admitted that “sometimes I’m wrong.”
Tice recently squared off against Polk in a short $2/$5 heads-up match that was streamed on YouTube and Twitch. He won the small sample size battle by about $500. Polk, who retired from poker a couple years ago, is currently undertaking some tune-up matches at low to mid-stakes. Thus far, he’s lost most of those matches, although the goal is to wear off the rust, and less of the focus is on winning.
Heads-up battle for the ages
Polk and Negreanu’s disdain for each other is no secret around the poker community. They’ve been feuding for a few years now, and it turned nasty long ago. After years of bickering, Polk finally challenged his rival to a heads-up poker match. And, to the surprise of many, Negreanu accepted.
It’s surprising that he accepted because Polk is one of the best, if not the best, heads-up online poker players ever. Negreanu, a top multi-table live tournament pro, is stepping out of his element to compete in this challenge. But when publicly called out by Polk, he couldn’t back down.
After some back and forth, the two poker greats agreed to play 25,000 hands of heads-up no-limit hold’em, online, at the $200/$400 stakes. The player who wins the most money after every hand is dealt will be declared winner. They haven’t agreed to a side bet yet, a staple in most heads-up poker challenges. The date for the match hasn’t been set, but Negreanu initially said he’d be ready to play by late September or early October. So, the challenge will likely start in the coming weeks.
Why they dislike each other
The feud between Polk and Negreanu began while Tice was still in his early high school days. Polk, who recently admitted to it, grew up a big fan of Negreanu’s. But as he started gaining notoriety as a top pro, his warm thoughts toward the poker legend changed.
Polk began spouting anti-Negreanu rhetoric in late 2016 when PokerStars, the poker site Negreanu previously represented, began catering more to the recreational players instead of the pros. The Upswing Poker founder doesn’t blame Negreanu for that, but Polk has been tough on his rival for shilling for PokerStars.
In 2017, Negreanu defended PokerStars’ increased cash game rake, insinuating that increased rake has its benefits. Polk ran with that and, for the past two years, has led the “More Rake is Better” charge to mock “Kid Poker.”
At the 2018 $300,000 buy-in Super High Roller Bowl in Las Vegas, while seated next to Negreanu, Polk wore a shirt that read, “More Rake is Better.” He took it one step further a few days later at the World Series of Poker. The heads-up legend purchased a billboard ad outside the Rio that read, “MoreRakeIsBetter.com.”
The feud between the poker pros has continued to this day. Perhaps, the heads-up match will put an end to it, but that might be wishful thinking.
Featured image source: Flickr