Polk and Negreanu call in Galfond for grudge match arbitration

Jon Pill
Posted on: November 18, 2020 12:27 PST

Play took a short break on the Polk v. Negreanu grudge match while they hashed out some of the finer points on the rules.

The disagreement came to light when Bill Perkins tweeted about the issue. The tweet read: "Match delayed due to disagreement over rules. One party ( @DougPolkVids) thinks it's ok to manually enter in hand history to software and have frequency analysis done and the other does not ( @RealKidPoker)."

Real-time assistants, solvers, and bots are something of a hot topic this year. Much of the delay in getting this match set up was due to debates over exactly how much such tools could or couldn't be used during the match or in training and analysis between sessions. Both players have had their rigs inspected and have two cameras on them as they play.

So naturally, the statement caused some controversy.

Phil Galfond came in to arbitrate on the matter. As if Galfond doesn't have enough going on. He has his own heads up challenge and is compiling the Mike Postle hand-histories.


Bread and circuses

The immediate response ran the full gamut. Starting from people who felt that of course hand-history-analysis was fine, and ending with those who view electrical equipment as the end of poker.

Chris Schueller, for example, tweeted: "I have an idea. How about they play poker instead of a game of who can come up with the best computer program to artificially tilt the odds in their favor."

Saun Deeb even went as far as tweeting that the delay was unfairly giving Negreanu time to train, upping his edge.


Others suspected that the tweet might have been a Bill Perkins mountain spun from a Polk/Negreanu molehill. Echoing the President of the United States, Jamie Kerstetter called for the count to be stopped.

For several hours the Twitter circus put on its barking seal show, before clarification started to come down and we got to go back to the main big(tank)-top attraction.


Doug Polk was the first to chime in with a rather terse clarification. "Ok this is completely ridiculous [...] the rules were, no hand histories and no huds. We both agreed and were clear on that. Neither was used."

He went on to explain that Negreanu had asked about how "data mining" was defined in Nevada law. The discussion reached a sticking point over whether going through the hand history to check things like 3-bet frequencies pre-flop met that definition.

Phil Galfond was called in as a kind of expert witness as much as an arbitrator. His online poker room, Runitonce, operates in Nevada.

Negreanu added his two cents worth saying people were "overreacting".

"We just want to make sure everyone is on same page in regards to what is allowed in regards to NV regulatory rules," he wrote.

After a brief wobble, all is well again. It appears that Galfond explained the minutiae of Nevada gambling regulations. With tempers mostly soothed, play will resume shortly.


Featured image source: Twitter