Weird session helps Polk slightly increase lead against Negreanu

Jon Sofen
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Posted on: January 18, 2021 2:26 pm EST

Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk played a wild and crazy on Day 28, which saw the poker pros trade the lead back and forth for three hours. In the end, Polk booked a small win — a little less than a full buy-in.

But the victory was bigger than the score indicated for the Upswing Poker founder and more devastating than it appears on the surface for the GGPoker ambassador.

That is because he entered the session down just over $630,000 with about 9,000 hands left to play. While it might seem like that is plenty of hands to pull off a comeback at $200/$400 stakes, he’s facing one of the best heads-up no-limit hold’em players of all-time.

Without a plethora of luck going his way consistently for the remainder of the match, it’s hard to imagine Negreanu winning this competition. But stranger things have happened in poker, so there’s no reason to quit paying attention yet.

Bluffs come back to haunt Negreanu

To win at heads-up no-limit hold’em, you must not fear bluffing off your entire stack at times. And you must also not shy away from your opponent’s big bets when you have marginal hands.

On Day 28, Negreanu learned those lessons, as if he didn’t already know. He twice lost $80,000 pots due to failed bluffs. In one of those hands, Polk called his massive river bet with nothing but a pair of 7’s on a king-high board. Sometimes, you just have to go with your instincts and make a tough call.

Negreanu picked off a few big bluffs of his own, however. Polk jumped out to a quick $50,000 lead on the session but then it didn’t take him long to give it all back on his own failed bluff attempt.

That’s sort of how the session went for three hours and 650 hands. Polk jumped out to a decent lead, then Negreanu took over the lead, then Polk moved back out in front before Negreanu took control of the match again.

In the end, Polk is the one who finished the day with the session victory, but only by just over $26,000, which is a little more than half of one full buy-in.

“Just about even today. Caught Daniel running some bluffs in some big spots. Also caught Daniel betting some boats in some big spots. Basically this session was Daniel betting the river and me calling,” Polk wrote on Twitter following the match.

The Upswing Poker founder now has a $629,882 lead through 16,500 hands. They are set to play a total of 25,000 hands, and this epic grudge match should conclude late in February or early March. Play will resume on Monday at 2:30 pm PT.

Featured image source: Twitter