Daniel Negreanu rallied from a six-figure deficit on Day 34 only to let it all slip away on the final hand of the five-hour session. In the end, he only lost about a buy-in, but trails the overall match against Doug Polk by a seemingly insurmountable amount.
Polk came out swinging early on in the match. He entered the session with a lead that exceeded $700,000 through just under 20,000 hands. So, he knew he was in a position to put coast the victory.
Despite having massive side bets on the side that he needs to protect, he played a higher-variance style of play than some may have expected. Instead of lowering the variance by limping and refraining from bluffing and playing for big pots, he came out swinging, and it worked like a charm.
Two hours into the 34th session of the High Stakes Duel, a $200/$400 heads-up no-limit hold’em competition between two hated rivals, Polk was up over $130,000. He hit numerous big hands, but also likely got away with quite a few bluffs.
Cards are only exposed at showdown, so you can’t be sure if one of the players had the goods or was bluffing in a non-showdown hand. But considering how frequently Polk fired large bets and forced a fold, it’s safe to assume he didn’t always have it.
Negreanu struggles, then recovers… briefly
Negreanu played it passive for much of the session, and Polk pounced. For about three hours, it was essentially a bloodbath, and “DNegs” was getting abused.
But then the Poker Hall of Famer stopped allowing Polk to push him around. He began firing off some large bets and took down pot after pot. Before long, he took a small lead which grew to about $25,000 at its peak.
Then, on the final hand, he ran into a tough situation that destroyed his impressive comeback. Both players were all-in on the river with over $110,000 in the pot. Polk had A-8 and Negreanu 8-4 on a board of A-10-3-4-8, both holding two-pair but Negreanu’s was inferior.
The brutal hand tilted “DNegs,” who decided to call it quits for the day. The lengthy session lasted five hours and 1,384 hands. Polk got out of there with a $34,855 win and now leads the overall challenge by $736,804 with 21,306 hands complete.
Play will resume at 2:30 pm PT on Monday on the WSOP.com poker site. It is possible they could finish up the challenge this week, although it will likely run into next week.
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