It has been a wild week of action in the heads-up duel between Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk. After starting the week with some turmoil that was not the doing of the players involved in the match, the duo has played three consecutive sessions to crack the 10% mark of the match. The results to this point? Virtually even, with neither competitor able to sustain an edge.
Prop Bets Take Priority Over Actual Play
The week started with controversy the rule rather than the virtual cards hitting the air. Many players that are watching the competition have wagered on the action, with some huge odds being set on Polk to absolutely crush Negreanu in the battle. With the amount of money being wagered, some are making sure that the rules are being followed, causing some consternation between the bettors but not the players.
On Monday, play was suspended when businessman Bill Perkins, who has a healthy prop betting Jones and apparently has money on Negreanu (to the tune of 10-1 odds), caused the kerfuffle in a simple Tweet. In that Tweet, Perkins accused Polk of violating the rules by using a software to compute frequency analysis for him (the amount of times that Negreanu was taking a certain action), which would be a direct violation of the rules of not only the heads up match but also of WSOP.com’s T&Cs. Naturally, Polk was upset over the accusations, stating that he only was taking notes that he would use for review after the competition had completed for the day.
The situation was such that it did pause play for a bit on Monday. Cooler heads would prevail in the end, along with a ruling from the Arbiter of the action, Phil Galfond, who stated that what Polk was doing was completely within the rules of the competition. While Negreanu and Polk seemed to be OK with the decision, Polk was still a bit irritated with Perkins inserting himself into the match, calling his actions “nit picky bitch s**t” (for the record, Perkins has “apologized” to Polk for his insinuations).
Trio of Sessions Bring Fight Back to Zero
Negreanu and Polk did get in some action on Monday after the arguments had subsided. Polk started the Monday session a bit down to Negreanu, but it was less than a buy-in at one of the tables. To refresh the memory of those that are coming to the game late, the game is $200/$400 heads up No Limit Hold’em on two tables, with the players holding the option to top off their stacks to ensure that they have $40,000 on each table when they desire. The Monday session closed with Polk erasing Negreanu’s edge, but that wouldn’t last long.
The twosome has squared off over the last three days and racked up a great deal of action. Negreanu opened the action on Wednesday on a tremendous rush, seemingly unable to make a mistake in the competition. At the same time, some of the commentary from railbirds thought that Polk might have been trying to bluff Negreanu a bit too much. In the end, it resulted in the biggest day of the challenge for Negreanu, who racked up over $222,000 in winnings to take a $155,206 edge with more than 10% of the hands played (2965, to be exact).
Thursday would see a little more money leak over to the Negreanu side of the ledger. Another 457 hands of action would see the Poker Hall of Famer add slightly more than $24,000 to his lead. Polk would be blasé about the losses, chirping over Twitter, “Blah, blah, blah, something uplifting despite losing every session…I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Yesterday’s action was literally a total reversal of the situation between the two men. Now it was Polk, who many consider one of the greatest practitioners of the Heads Up No Limit Hold’em format, who couldn’t make any mistakes. Some of the same races that Negreanu had been winning started going Polk’s way and in a massive manner. At the end of Friday’s session, Polk had booked a $205,000 win and retaken the lead from Negreanu.
As the match approaches the 20% mark of the proposed 25,000 hands, here’s how we stand:
Leader: Polk, $26,371
Number of Hands Played: 3799
(the player down at 12,500 hands has the option of ending the match)
While the poker played between the two men has been top notch, the theatrics outside of the battle arena have been less than exciting. With Thanksgiving approaching, it remains to be seen how many more hands will get played before Negreanu and Polk take a well-deserved break. With hope, those that are outside of the event will stay on the sidelines rather than trying to involve themselves in what is an exciting matchup in poker.