After reaching the halfway point of their Heads-Up Duel, Daniel Negreanu faced a difficult decision. Did he cut his losses, take the “L” and back out of the challenge only halfway through the match or did he plunge onward? Negreanu has chosen to continue and, after the end of another week of battle on the virtual felt at WSOP.com, it seems he has been able to find a mode of attack that is working for him.
Not Big Wins, But Wins Nonetheless
As reported by my friend and colleague Dan Katz, Negreanu was able to put in a $27,005 win on Monday, but it was an important moment. The match crossed the 12,500-hand point, which gave Negreanu the opportunity to be able to end the match. After some contemplation, the Poker Hall of Famer decided that he still had a chance to either cut the deficit or – perhaps most shocking – to pull out a victory.
Wednesday saw a slightly bigger win for Negreanu. The twosome played through a 750-hand session and Polk could never seem to gain any traction on the game. By the time the final hand was dealt, Negreanu had booked a $98,579 win and dropped Polk’s edge down under the $700K mark.
The bad news would continue Friday for Polk. Negreanu and Polk would put in another 750-hand session, with Negreanu getting off to a great start before losing some back to Polk in the later stages of the battle. Still, Negreanu would book a $27,945 win to drop the amount he has lost to this point in the competition to “only” $616,722.
So, What is Negreanu Doing Differently?
From the state of the play, Negreanu is staying away from huge pots and big decisions against Polk. He seems to be trying to just chip away at the mountain he is facing and, after a week of the resumption of hostilities, it seems to be working for him. He admitted to this “small ball” approach after the close of the session on Monday.
“With a long-term goal, there are checkpoints,” Negreanu explained in his post-game show on the GGPoker YouTube channel. “I always believe in setting big goals with several smaller ones within it…if I can win one buy in per session ($40,000), we win.”
Negreanu’s math isn’t off. If he were to win a buy-in per session until they reach 25,000 hands, that would be another 10,500 hands of action (and, at their current rate of roughly 500 hands per session, another 21 days of action). At $40K per session, the eventual outcome would see Negreanu win $840,000 over the next 21 sessions. Of course, this isn’t going to occur – poker just doesn’t play out that way – but should he be able to even make half that amount, it would significantly reduce the loss that he has at this mark in the event.
Who Has the Edge?
Neither man seems to be particularly tense at this point in the heads-up duel. Negreanu was dealing with his fantasy hockey teams over the weekend, while Polk spent much of Sunday watching the Chicago Bears take a beating from the New Orleans Saints in the NFL Playoffs. It is expected that the match will continue on the schedule that has been set recently – play on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays beginning at 2:30PM (Pacific Time) on WSOP.com for a couple of hours each day – and they are offering coverage on their particular outlets (Polk on his personal YouTube page and Negreanu on the GGPoker YouTube page) with a wide array of guests offering commentary.
Can Negreanu continue chopping at the oak tree? Will Polk reassert his dominance? The battle continues to find out.