It’s not quite the high stakes grudge match we were expecting. We’ve been waiting for round two of Hellmuth v. Negreanu, Dan Cates v. Everyone, or Phil Galfond v Anyone. Instead, if you hit up Twitch in a few hours you can watch Phil Nagy, CEO of the Winning Poker Network, and Chris Moneymaker, America’s Cardroom’s highest profile poker pro, duking it out heads up. The match will start at 3 PM Eastern Time today, April 13, 2021.
In fact, “grudge match” is a little misleading. It’s pretty clear that Nagy is a good sport who just wants to play some cards. And of course, Moneymaker is about as mild-mannered as poker players come.
The ACR Twitter account fired off a promo for the heads-up friendly with just a few hour’s notice. “Our CEO @WPN_CEO and ACR Team Pro, @CMONEYMAKER are having a heads-up battle at 3 pm ET today, April 13th,” ACR tweeted. “Follow all the action on their personal Twitch channels. […] This will be EPIC!”
When I win, will you pay me with my own money?
Nagy is a more active poker player than many poker company execs. When Doug Polk was looking for players to practice against ahead of his match with Daniel Negreanu, Nagy volunteered as tribute.
For hours Nagy valiantly battled it out with someone who had been one of the top heads up hold’em players in the world and who was on a training bender that made Rocky look like rocky road ice cream. He didn’t win, but it remains quite a story for him to tell.
Moneymaker should be a less brutal opponent than Polk. He is, after all, poker’s average Joe. The Moneymaker effect is called an effect precisely because Moneymaker was just some accountant from Tennessee. He wasn’t a pro, he was you — only luckier.
That’s not to say he’s the whale in this match. He hasn’t been “just some accountant” for a long while. Seventeen years of playing cards for a living tends to sharpen one’s game. If it doesn’t, you usually aren’t still playing for a living after that long.
On the other hand, Nagy’s the man who signs Moneymaker’s sponsorship cheques now. Perhaps throwing the match for good office relations would be the smart move. The poker game starts before either player even sits down.
Either way, the game should have a rough around the edges feel than watching Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk chase Nash Equilibrium and GTO did. “Amateur” poker is often more exciting, with trick plays and light footwork in place of mathematical precision.
Featured image source: Flickr by the World Poker Tour