One of the most fervently followed heads-up matches in poker history came to an end with a seven-figure victory for Upswing Poker founder Doug Polk.
Polk came away with $1.2 million in profit in a heads-up match against archrival Daniel Negreanu, with the last of the 25,000-hand match wrapping up Wednesday. Polk and Negreanu battled it out at $200/$400 No-Limit Hold’em stakes on WSOP.com, capping off years of bad blood between the two poker icons.
The off-table animosity between the two seems to have simmered for now, but Polk dominated the action at the WSOP.com tables. The 25,000 hands played out over three months, taking 36 sessions to complete.
Polk entered the match as the heavy favorite to defeat Negreanu, and the match dubbed as “High Stakes Feud” by PokerGO saw Polk never really in danger of losing. Negreanu took an early lead in the opening sessions and held a $179,363 advantage after Day #8 on Nov. 19.
That session marked the last time Negreanu led in the challenge, however. At no point in the final 28 sessions did the Poker Hall of Fame member end a session with the lead over Polk.
Polk Erases Early Deficit and Cruises to Victory
Perhaps the most anticipated heads-up poker match in the history of the game, Negreanu and Polk began the High Stakes Feud with a 200-hand live session from the PokerGO Studio at Aria Las Vegas. Negreanu came out ahead by $116,500 in the short session, with the amicable spirit of the live match coming as somewhat of a surprise to the poker community.
The rest of the match played out in the online streets at WSOP.com. Polk and Negreanu traded the lead multiple times over the first few online sessions, but after Day #8 Polk dominated the duel.
Polk erased the nearly $180k deficit and amassed a $596,197 lead after taking more than eight buy-ins of Negreanu on Day #12. A clearly frustrated Negreanu contended that bad luck played a major role in the lost lead, but the worst was yet to come for the longtime live poker icon.
We have talked hands and stuff here and there from the get go, but today we really talked about a bunch of different situations and spots from the challenge.
Some really fun stuff. 1 bluff he ran I cannot fucking believe lol.
Glad we buried the hatchet. A worthy opponent 💪 https://t.co/mELUfjBFwD
— Doug Polk (@DougPolkVids) February 2, 2021
Polk, one of the world’s top heads-up players, thrived in his return to poker. After retiring from the game following his $100 to $10,000 bankroll challenge, Polk came back to poker to take on Negreanu after the two reignited their long-running feud last summer.
Day #18 ended with Polk up nearly $1 million. Negreanu trimmed that lead back down to $484,073 after Day #26 on Jan. 11, only to see Polk finally cross the $1 million threshold after the Jan. 20 Day #30 session.
On the way to taking that seven-figure lead, Negreanu’s frustration with his alleged luck turned into Polk’s own agitation toward Negreanu’s perceived unlucky run. Polk posted a YouTube rant on the eve of Day #30, which became an instant legend in the poker world.
Negreanu posted the biggest win of the challenge shortly thereafter, winning $390,032 for Day #31 on Jan. 22. After another small win on Jan. 25, however, Negreanu lost each of the final four sessions to close out the match.
Polk’s official earnings against Negreanu ended up at $1,201,807 over the course of the challenge. Just before the final session, Polk called Negreanu “a worthy opponent,” and the three-month duel between Polk and Negreanu provided entertainment the likes of which the poker community might never see again.
Check out the entire summary of the Polk-Negreanu match here.