New HSDB Interview with Doug "WCGRider" Polk

Highstakes legend Doug "WCGRider" Polk found himself back in the headlines earlier this week when he took down PokerStars $700 "Kilimanjaro" $750k GTD tournament for a $163k payday. HighstakesDB caught up with Doug just after his win to ask him a few questions about his tournament prowess, his online plans, and about his fledgling training site
Hi Doug, thanks for talking to us again at HSDB. First off, congrats on your win in “Kilimanjaro” – must feel good to only risk $700 to win an amount you’d be happy to win in a nosebleed cash game?
Yeah man, what a day! I woke up and was feeling a little bit under the weather. I normally try to stream for Upswing Poker a few days a week, and I didnt feel well enough to go for it. I did however force myself to put in a grind, there were lots of good tourneys running so I just manned up and battled through it. Nice to get rewarded for being a hard worker with my career.
You’re known predominantly for your prowess for playing heads-up cash games but your tournament record is not to be sniffed at. $5m in live tourney cashes, and you’ve just beaten a near 1.5k field for a hefty online MTT payday – do you find that you enjoy tournament poker more than perhaps you did earlier in your career?
I don't enjoy tournaments, I enjoy winning money. That means that oftentimes I have to play mtts despite the fact I have little interest in them. For some reason the beats in tournaments are just so much more brutal. I played the Bellagio 5 diamond for 4 days last year, and got KK in vs QQ for a million chips with 30 left. He banged off a queen, and I was crippled. In Cash games when i lose an all in I don't even remotely care. But when it is for that much equity, after that much work, it gets to you. So I am not a fan of the format but battle it out to with the dolla dolla bills.
How does the feeling of taking down a big tournament compare to a big winning cash game session?
This is a great feeling in tournaments by contrast in cash games. In mtts, 95-99% of sessions end in disappointment. This is probably why people play tournaments to begin with, when you do get that HUGE score, it is such a rewarding and awesome feeling. Cash games you generally win 50-55% of your sessions if you are a good player, so you rarely feel like you very much accomplished something when you have a good session. That said some of my best moments have been cash (My Challenge vs Sauce, High stakes vs Isildur, High Stakes vs Wilhasha, etc), but winning a tournament is certainly more of a euphoric feeling then playing cash games.
You took to twitch for the final table a couple of days ago, you seem quite a natural in front of an audience – can we expect more twitch content from WCGRider in the near future?
Absolutely! I love streaming! I am still working with how much time/what I want my schedule to be with twitch. For now I am doing Tuesday/Thursday/Sunday from 11 am - 4 pm PST, but that could change. I am also going to be honest, I want to do this for as long as I am pumped to do it. So far I am loving the experience and the interaction, and I want to always have that passion. So you will see me in the twitch streets for some time to come :).
Good timing on the win by the way – it was a pretty good advert for upswing poker! How is your new training site going so far and what has been the general reaction to it?
I have been putting my blood, sweat, and tears into Upswing for the last 6 months. We have only recently launched our monthly coaching subscription, and was hoping it would be a big hit. I have gotten such overwhelmingly positive feedback from everyone, which just makes me so happy to hear. I want to say, our target is more in the recreational - small stakes player pool, so do not sign up for our lab thinking you will start crushing high stakes! We are taking a different approach here and want to help the majority of poker players, rather then helping small-mid stakes pros trying to become high stakes pros. Our approach is fundamentally different, all of the content is made by Ryan Fee and myself, which gives our site some concurrency that other sites dont have. I would strongly recommend players trying to improve their game in that range of play to head over to to check us out.
The WSOP is almost upon us, are you excited about the opportunity to flex your MTT muscles again on the biggest stage of them all?
I live in Las Vegas most of the year, so I have to defend the home front. Im gonna play all the high stakes tournaments, and maybe some smaller ones if I feel up to it. In the past I have tried to grind real hard (I had a bracelet bet the year I won a bracelet) but I think that is sub optimal, because it makes it so that you are tired for the big events. When you play a big event, you want to fresh and ready to go! So I will be a bit more selective this year then in years pass.
Finally a cash game question. What are your goals for the next year for online cash games?
I am going to be playing less online. The changes have been quite terrible for the games, and I have mixed feelings on still playing the same games in such a worse environment. I think by continuing to play those games, its a way of telling pokerstars that the changes that they have made are ok, when they are not. So I will be doing more on the Twitch/Business side, and a bit less battling it out on the high stakes front.
Thanks for the interview! Good luck to everyone in their online journey this year :D



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