Doug Polk explains how his opponent, Daniel Negreanu, can be competitive in HU match

Doug Polk
Jon Sofen
Posted on: October 27, 2020 11:11 PDT

Doug Polk has been asked many times, he says, how much he'll win during his heads-up challenge against Daniel Negreanu. The Upswing Poker founder claims he has no idea and believes it comes down to how well his opponent plays.

Negreanu and Polk, two long-time feuding rivals, are set to begin a 25,000-hand online poker battle on November 1 -- in just five days. The entire poker community is eagerly awaiting what could be the most entertaining heads-up competition ever.

Many expect Polk to win by a massive amount, potentially over $1 million. That's because he's known as one of the best heads-up no-limit hold'em players in the world, the game they are playing at the $200/$400 stakes. For the Poker Hall of Famer to pull an upset — he's a 4/1 dog — he'll need to devise a strategy that counters Polk's methodical, disciplined approach to the game.

It isn't easy beating Doug Polk at heads-up NLH online. He's faced off with some of the best players in the world such as Ben "sauce" Sulsky and Olivier Busquet over the years. And he's beat them all. Negreanu, on the other hand, specializes in live poker tournaments. He doesn't have much experience in heads-up poker over the past decade, and that puts him at a significant disadvantage against Polk. Hence the reason he's a huge underdog.

So, how does a player like Negreanu who isn't a heads-up expert compete against one of the best heads-up players over a large sample size? Polk seems to have an answer for that question.

How can Negreanu avoid getting completely thrashed?

Polk addressed Negreanu's chances in a series of tweets. He even gave a bit of advice to his opponent on how he can at least keep the match competitive. What a nice guy.

"I get asked over and over again what people think my winrate will be in the challenge. I have no idea, it isnt really up to me. I am going to come into the challenge as a very good HUNL player. I do not know how good or bad dnegs is going to end up being," Polk began saying.

He then continued to say that if Negreanu "isn't familiar with standard optimal sizes and strategies" he will lose 15 big blinds per 100 hands. One big blind is $400, so if that's the case, "DNegs" would end up dumping $1.5 million over 25,000 hands, a crushing blow to one of poker's all-time greats.

But, Polk argues, if his opponent is willing to put in the work before the match to get those concepts down, he'll only lose around 10 big blinds per 100 hands, or about $1 million, which is still a sizable amount. If Negreanu grinds hard, the Upswing Poker founder says, he may not lose much at all.

Polk then gave some advice to those who want to bet on the match. He even gave an honest assessment of his own abilities given that he hasn't played professionally for a couple of years. The three-time WSOP bracelet winner wrote: "The bottom line is, you arent really betting on me/my ability. I will be a very good hunl player, not world class anymore, but very solid. You are betting on how good you think Dnegs can be at an extremely challenging and complicated game."

Featured image source: Flickr