Daniel Negreanu rallies to book winning session at halfway mark

Doug Polk Daniel Negreanu
Jon Sofen
Posted on: December 29, 2020 06:00 PST

Daniel Negreanu picked off numerous bluffs from Doug Polk to win a bit in what could be the final session of the match. Or, maybe not. We'll all just have to wait and see.

The long-time feuding poker legends agreed to play 25,000 hands of heads-up no-limit hold'em. Part of the agreement was the player who trailed at the midway point (12,500 hands) would be given the option to quit without paying a buyout. If that individual opted to continue, the match would go the full 25,000 hands.

After Monday's short session, the poker pros have now officially reached exactly the halfway mark. And that means it is now up to Negreanu to decide the fate of this poker challenge. Will he call it quits or will he try to come from behind?

We don't know the answer to that and no one does except Negreanu. And maybe even he isn't certain yet what he's going to do. In the post-match interview with Remko Rinkema and Adam "Smitty" Smith on GGPoker's YouTube channel, he was non-committal.

Negreanu has recently suggested he not only intends to continue in this challenge, but even hinted at a 25,000-hand rematch with Doug Polk. With that said, he hasn't committed to any future plans and still has the option to back out and accept defeat at 12,500 hands.

As it stands, Negreanu and Polk are scheduled to return to the virtual felt on January 4 at 2:30 pm PT. If "DNegs" decides he's done with the challenge however, that scheduled session and all future sessions won't happen.

Doug Polk bluffs it all off

Doug Polk entered Monday's match on Day 22 with a seemingly insurmountable lead of $810,468 following a win on December 23. He ran it up even further on Monday early on, increasing his advantage to $950,000 barely an hour into the match.

Negreanu would bounce back in a huge way. Polk picked up the aggression, which is typically a winning strategy in no-limit hold'em. But not on this day. The Upswing Poker founder bluffed off nearly $200,000 in chips over the final half hour, which led to Negreanu booking a $40,000 profit.

In one hand, Negreanu turned the nut straight with 10-8 (J-7-9 on board) and Polk had nothing but eight-high and went for a huge $60,000 bluff that failed. That $150,000 pot was one of the biggest to date in this heads-up challenge. Shaun Deeb joked on Twitter that Polk purposely punted away chips to convince Negreanu to continue to 25,000 hands.

"Nice to see @DougPolkVids punting today to make sure Daniel has a winning session and doesn’t quit at 12.5k hands," Deeb wrote.

It's highly unlikely Polk intentionally dumped chips so that he wouldn't scare Negreanu away. But his penchant for bluffing big on Monday didn't pay off. And he even admitted on Twitter afterwards that he made some mistakes.

"Lost $140,000 bluffing in just 2 hands down the stretch. Went straight into the solver streets to see if they were mistakes. Turns out both of them were errors.... I didnt bluff them often enough," Doug Polk wrote.

We all now wait and see what Negreanu decides to do.

Featured image source: Twitter