Daniel Negreanu beginning to chip away at Doug Polk's lead

Daniel Negreanu Doug Polk
Jon Sofen
Posted on: December 07, 2020 07:53 PST

Daniel Negreanu still trails Doug Polk by a healthy amount, but he's starting to mount a bit of a comeback in the heads-up poker grudge match. After three straight winning sessions, the GGPoker ambassador has to be feeling much better than he did a week ago.

Negreanu still trails by a healthy amount — more than half a million dollars. That may sound massive, and it is. But he's at least stopped the bleeding and is starting to mount a comeback.

The past two sessions have been arguably the most intense two days of the entire challenge. There have been so many huge pots recently, and so many lead changes. In both sessions, Polk jumped out to a big early lead, then lost that lead, regained a big lead, and ended the day in the red.

Negreanu has battled through consecutive rough sessions in which he made some questionable plays early, found himself deep in a hole, but was able to bounce back and finish with a profit. He has now won three straight sessions. That's the good news for the six-time WSOP bracelet winner. The bad news is he's still deep in the hole against a great heads-up player. And he may never be able to dig his way completely out of it.

Daniel Negreanu cuts into deficit

Heading into Friday's session, Daniel Negreanu had booked small wins the previous two days ($13,000 and $17,000). But he could have won a larger amount in one of those sessions if he hadn't lost an $80,000 pot on the final hand due to making a questionable river call.

Early on Day 15 (Friday), Negreanu made another questionable river call and doubled Polk up right off the bat. It took very little time for him to get all those chips back, and then some. But then he again dumped some chips and lost a couple of bad beats to find himself once again in the hole.

He picked up pocket aces and caught his opponent bluffing to win nearly a $100,000 pot. All of a sudden, just like that, he was back out in front for the session. But yet again, Polk regained the advantage only to watch Negreanu grind his way back into the lead before the session concluded.

Negreanu took a $70,000 lead on the day late but gave a few of those chips back before they called it quits. He ended up winning $46,581 for the session over 452 hands. The victory was much needed but he still finds himself down by $514,000 in 7,467 hands.

There's little chance he can erase that deficit by the time the match hits 12,500 hands. At that point, the losing player has the option of quitting without penalty. If the losing player decides to continue playing, he'll end up playing 25,000 hands.

Given the likelihood of Negreanu being down so much money at the 12,500-hand mark, many expect him to quit at that point. There's a decent chance he could be down by more than $1 million by then. Or, if the trend continues in its current path, perhaps he will only be down a small amount and decide to continue playing.

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