Daniel Negreanu vs Doug Polk: Who Will Win the Grudge Match of the Century?

It is the poker Grudge Match of the Century and one that most fans have been calling for over the past half a decade - Daniel Negreanu versus Doug Polk – and today we are going to do a Tale of the Tape

By: Andrew Burnett

If it feels a little early to be calling the upcoming highstakes battle the ‘anything’ of the century, just think of the near-constant bickering between the famous duo.

Among the incidents, the ‘More Rake is Better’ feud, an American Poker Awards dispute, the Negreanu ‘Blackface’ saga and, not least, the recent video compilations that led to the challenge being accepted.

Admittedly the majority of the needling and attacks came from Polk’s camp, but Negreanu threw enough punches of his own for a share of the blame.

And so, the Grudge Match, which will apparently be a two-table online battle at highstakes – likely $200/$400 No Limit Hold’em - and that could be an expensive battleground.

Daniel accepted the basic rules, despite claiming he is the underdog, and let’s see exactly why that’s the case.

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Doug Polk came to be among the most feared HUNL highstakes players on the planet, more than $2million profit between his respective PokerStars and Full Tilt accounts.

Let’s look in more detail at how Polk did on the latter, under his WCGRider nickname…

That rather beautiful upswing was the result of some 15 months play, almost 100k hands and a huge profit overall and per hand…

Doug 'WCGRider' Polk on FullTilt

Profit: $1,585,717
Hands: 94,161
Win/hand: $16.84
Most played game: NLHE

The biggest pot of the lot? Close to $½million when he flopped the nut flush against Viktor 'Isildur1' Blom’s set at $400/$800!

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At roughly the same time, Polk was climbing up to the $1million winnings mark on PokerStars too, although he’d have to settle for about half that – twice as many hands, twice as long a run, but roughly half the stakes balancing that somewhat.

Doug 'WCGRider' Polk on PokerStars

Profit: $577,266
Hands: 173,736
Win/hand: $3.32
Most played game: NLHE

The biggest pot this time around was against another online crusher, Ben 'Sauce123' Sulsky, this time Polk flopping a set against TPTK..

In fact, Polk’s claims to being the best HUNL player in the world are connected to his massive match win over Sulsky playing as Sauce1234 on Full Tilt, scooping a $100k sidebet along with $750,000 from the match itself.

Altogether, an incredibly impressive showing by Polk, and one that would make most players think twice about taking him on in his favourite arena at his favourite game.

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Over to Negreanu, and his recent claims that he has hardly studied or played HUNL for almost a decade are perfectly true – and even when he did it didn’t go particularly well!

Daniel 'KidPoker' Negreanu on PokerStars

Profit: -$451,814
Hands: 25,821
Win/hand: $-17.49
Most played game: NLHE

That is a hefty chunk of loose change even to a poker superstar who has won $millions, and most of it was the result of a series of HUNL matches.

Negreanu took on the mighty Isildur in a brace of SuperStar Showdown matches, losing his $150k buy-in in short order but returning the following weekend to win $25k or so of it back.

Unfortunately for Negreanu, he’d already blown a few stacks in training matches against Sulsky and Max 'altiFC' Altergott.

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None of this bodes well for Negreanu’s chances in the upcoming match against Polk.

Despite Polk being retired from active play, he is the better player at HUNL by far, the better schooled in the modern version of it, and will be extra motivated to prove this against his arch-enemy.

Negreanu is not without his chances, of course, as one of the most talented all-round players ever to grace a poker table.

However, not only is he a super-busy person, and as mentioned 10 years removed from serious HUNL study and his motivation is probably of the wrong sort – a revengeful mission of sorts - and how he handles a bad start could be crucial.

My money if the match takes place is on Polk to take Negreanu for some serious cash, but my actual money is on another scenario altogether.


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