Negreanu drew first blood in long-awaited heads up challenge; Latest update sees Polk in the lead for over $180k

An exciting moment in poker history, the anticipated heads up match between the industry’s two popular icons, Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk has finally begun. With years of history between the two established players, the agreed challenge seems like a resolution to their long standing back and forth banter and countless controversial issues. The initial 200 hands was a good start for Negreanu as he booked a win of over $100k but was quickly reversed within the next two sessions.

Set to play a 12,500 or 25,000-hand, $200/$400 heads up No Limit Hold’em challenge, the match has a long way to go before an overall victory is awarded. Roughly over 1,300 hands in, Polk is in the lead with a profit of $180,865 so far, with many fans closely tuning in for the next session and latest updates.


Session 1: 200 hands live at the PokerGO studio in Las Vegas

The first 200 hands set a different tone from the rest of the following sessions being it was played live at the PokerGO studio in Las Vegas, delivering fans an entertaining experience right off the bat. Thousands of enthusiasts watched the live stream across the various media channels, excitedly cheering for their favored player while the two icons battled it out on the felt.

Taking a more conservative route paid off for Negreanu as he ended the initial session with $116,500 in winnings. Right timing as well as a good run of cards was in the works as the Poker Hall of Famer crushed the first match. Polk on the other hand, began with a more aggressive style which brought a few losses right from the start. By the 127th hand however, Polk managed to grab the lead by catching a few bluffs and making hands that would see a payout from Negreanu. The last 70 hands for the match was brutal for Polk as things seemed to just fall out of his way, pushing him to end the session with a six-figure loss.

“I thought he played a couple nice lines that panned out. I thought he played fine, he played well.”, commented Polk to Poker Central’s Brent Hanks after the segment.

Negreanu, similarly content with how the session turned out, said, “I know that we’ve got a long road ahead and we’re gonna be walking into his arena. Felt like I played well, I executed my strategy and it worked out as good as it could.”

Session 2: 424 hands online on

Set out on a different field, the first online match kicked off last Saturday on the client lasting roughly two hours in a two table arrangement with automatic top-ups to the 100-big blind and a $40,000 buy-in. The two famous poker personalities battled it out on the virtual felt to complete a total of 424 hands for the session with Polk securing a great recovery from his initial loss.

Showing some excitement in a series of tweets prior to the match, the pair shared their gaming setups with the viewers, ready to unleash some great poker action on the online tables.

Polk’s arena proved to be well-suited for the famed Youtuber as the match resulted in a landslide for a profit of $218,292.78. Negreanu, who was down for more than 5 buy-ins for the day, encountered coolers here and there and found himself always second best even with his generally good hands. With the tables turned and Negreanu now at a downswing of -$101k, the six-time bracelet winner positively ended the session on a good note despite the striking loss.

“Long way to go and I’m excited to get back to it!”, tweeted Negreanu.

“I won 200k but I still feel bad because I made more misclicks in my session than a man 2 tabling in a recliner”, he added.

Session 3: 382 hands online on

Another two-hour match was in full swing as the duel continued on, adding just over 382 hands to bring the total to 1,006 hands completed. Still riding his wave of luck, Polk smashed another $166,239.03 in earnings to bring his lead up to +$268,031.82. His aggressive style countering Negreanu’s under-betting strategy enabled him to frequently scoop up pots in addition to his good run of cards. Negreanu on the other hand, once again saw second best with his big hands while failing to catch his big draws in crucial pots.

While Negreanu’s recorded loss of over $268k seems huge, the match is only 8% through the 12,500-hand halfway mark. With a long way to go and multiple sessions yet to be completed, Polk was quick to chime in on Negreanu’s run right after the match.

“I will say this though, just cause the number is big doesn’t mean Dnegs is down that much. He is down a little under 7 buyins. That is a completely normal result over 1k hands of hunl.”, Polk tweeted.

Session 4: 366 hands on

Four days in the exciting heads up challenge, Negreanu finally comes out on top, booking his first online win of $87,166.59 over 366 hands. Cards were at last falling his way, scooping up a $95k pot all-in preflop with pocket Kings against Polk’s pocket Jacks. His luck continued on for the duration of the session up until the last couple of hands.

Just when everybody was watching the Canadian pro possibly secure a big win of over $170k to recuperate his standing $268k loss, a terrible runout on the last hand of the day cut a chunk of his winnings by half. A four-bet preflop from Negreanu with pocket Jacks and a call from Polk saw a flop of 6h-5s-2h. With over $20k already in the middle, Polk check jammed his remaining $30k with 10s-10h. The turn 3h and the river of 7h gave Polk a runner runner flush against Negreanu’s favored two black Jacks.

A bad beat for a pot of $81k, Polk was glad to have cut his losses for the day tweeting, “Was only a matter of time until we had a losing session online. Honestly was a river card away from losing 4 buyins, happy to walk away only having lost a little over 2!”

Latest tally

With four sessions completed, the latest update can be seen with Polk in the lead for $180,865.22 across 1,372 hands. Play is expected to resume tomorrow Friday at 2:30pm PT.

Session Hands Completed Daniel Negreanu Doug Polk
1 200 $116,500 ($116,500)
2 424 ($218,792) $218,792
3 382 ($166,239) $166,239
4 366 $87,166 ($87,166)


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Janette Dee

Graduated from De La Salle University, Janette works as a full time teacher in Manila, Philippines. She has long joined the local poker community as a recreational player for the last decade. Having a natural love for the game, she decided to branch out into a different avenue of poker. Currently, Janette works for Somuchpoker as a content writer reporting local and international news for the site.

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