Polk vs Negreanu match almost called off over DM mix up

Jon Pill
Posted on: August 14, 2020 10:20 PDT

In the race to the bottom that the Negreanu-Polk feud has created, maturity has yet to be held at a premium.

The oddly adolescent nature of the fight was cranked up to eleven-year-old status this week when Doug Polk, poker-player turned poker-tutor, sent some direct messages to Daniel Negreanu and didn’t get an immediate reply.

The DMs concerned the heads up challenge between the two. This challenge was issued by Negreanu, in a style that attempted to replicate some sense of the drama of pistols at dawn.

Unfortunately, 25,000 hands of heads up poker don’t have any of the pithiness of even a drawn-out flintlock showdown. And a down-swing is easier to dismiss as being due to variance than four-hundred-grains of lead to the brain-pan.

Choose your weapons

Both players have gone on record that the challenge would go ahead. With long-winded smack talk going back and forth for the benefit of the public eye, it appeared in private that Negreanu was leaving Polk with a tick mark on his messages.

Polk seemed to figure calling Negreanu out might be good for some Twitter engagement and did so. He wrote, “I’m starting to get a little worried that@RealKidPoker is going to back out of our challenge, being that he refuses to answer any message about the challenge.”


To which DNegs immediately fired back a list of things to do while Polk waited. The list started with “1. Find a hobby” and ended with “7. Twiddle your thumbs.” What else Polk could do with his thumbs was left implied.

It took Negreanu a few more days to peek up from his WSOP grind and reiterate to Polk what was going on. “FYI just saw that you sent me a DM on here and can’t find it for some reason. Your practice sessions will not be vain. This match will happen [100%]”.

Conflict, resolution

“Practice sessions” here refer to the mid-stakes heads up matches Polk has been using to sharpen up his heads-up game.

That Polk managed to persuade his chosen site, America's Card Room, to let him have his practice tables rake-free may also have been a jab at Negreanu, whose “more rake is better” comments have been fuel for a great deal of Polk’s online clickbait.

In all other ways though, this exchange seemed to mark a moment of civility between the two ranters. Polk replied with an almost disappointingly grown-up “OK cool makes more sense, looking forward to it.”

That's a character arc for you.

So in the end, all is well that remains pending well.