The grudge has been put to rest, both on the felt and off the felt it seems, between Doug Polk and Daniel Negreanu.
On the felt, the result was firm and resounding: Polk proved the superior performer in their $200/$400 heads-up match. Across 25,000 hands that spanned 36 sessions and three months, Polk beat his rival out of $1,201,807.
That left him with an impressive win rate of 12 BB/100, the envy of nearly any professional at any stakes, much less some of the highest in the world.
Off the felt, the two “buried the hatchet” in Polk’s own words, linking up for a study session before finishing out the match. Negreanu said they shared war stories and Polk called him a worthy opponent, so it seems the rancor between the two top players has been put to bed after years of feuding.
Polk Finishes With a Flourish
After some initial stumbles that saw Negreanu trade off the lead a few times, Polk took command of the match around the 5,000-hand mark and pretty much never looked back.
Negreanu looked for a second like he might battle back as he twice reduced $1 million in losses to a number about half that.
However, it simply wouldn’t sustain. Each time, Polk pulled back ahead, even after Negreanu booked a monster win of nearly $400,000 in a single session.
By the time the marathon final sessions went down, with Negreanu pushing hard and looking to play deep-stacked poker as a final Hail Mary, no real drama remained. Polk had secured victory, the only real question being where his final windfall would land.
Back-to-back wins north of $200K would see him finish in emphatic fashion. The final tally of $1.2 million represented his peak win after any session of the entire match, so Polk couldn’t have asked for a better closing stretch.
In fact, a relaxed Polk, no longer on his guard about protecting his trade secrets, streamed the final session with cards up.
Where to From Here?
It’s hard to say the final result was anything other than the expected outcome. One could debate whether the total win was above or below expectation, but the betting market had installed Polk as roughly a 4-to-1 favorite in advance of the match, no surprise given his vast experience edge in the heads-up format.
As for each player’s next step, PokerNews may take a more thorough look in the coming days and weeks, but Polk made his wishes clear: he wants to return to semi-retirement and a rematch is out of the question.
Whether this particular retirement has more staying power remains to be seen.
Negreanu, as an active GGPoker, likely has no such desire. Having acquired considerable heads-up skills in his recent endeavors, though, there’s been talk of more showcase matches, with Phil Galfond floated as a possible opponent while he awaits his next pot-limit Omaha challengers.
In any case, the book seems closed on perhaps the most high-profile feud in the game. Teeth and sausage are presumably intact but the price has been paid: Doug Polk is more than $1.2 million richer.