The monumental showdown between Poker Hall of Famer Daniel Negreanu and online heads-up poker master Doug Polk kicked off on Wednesday night. In a live setting at the studios of PokerGO in Las Vegas, Negreanu and Polk squared off over 200 hands of action to whet the appetite of viewers. After more than three hours of action, Negreanu had taken the edge, but there’s a long way to go in the match.

Not Wasting Any Time Getting to Action…

The duo did not waste any time getting the cards and chips flying on the stage of the PokerGO studios. On the first hand of the battle, Polk defended his blind for a $1000 bet and saw a rainbow K-2-9 flop. Both men checked their options on the flop and, after a six came on the turn, they did it again. It was only after an eight came on the river slim chances at a straight and no possibilities of a flush that the action heated up.

Negreanu pushed out a $1500 bet, only to see Polk fire over the top with an $8500 chip bet. Negreanu pondered his next move, piecing together the logic of Polk’s actions. In the end, he didn’t buy the story that Polk was selling and called, turning up a K-3 for the flopped top pair. All Polk could come up with is the bravado of having fired away holding completely nothing with his A-4 and the battle was on.

With the players reracking their stacks to $40,000 after each hand, it was easy for players to dig themselves a hole that would be difficult to escape. Around the halfway mark, Polk had been able to erase the deficit he faced and pulled into the lead. But, over the last 70 hands or so, Negreanu reasserted his dominance over the live dominion.

Through masterful usage of the bluff and some well timed moves, Negreanu began to grind out a sizeable edge. Down $40K late in the evening, Polk once again bluffed his way to another sizeable loss, which Negreanu gratefully collected. As the action came to a close for the first 200 hands of play, Polk was down $$116,500 and ready to move over to the online arena to continue the battle.

But There’s A Long Way Left to Go

The heads up fight between Negreanu and Polk is but in its infancy. Here’s the pertinent information regarding the battle yet to come.

Stakes: $200/$400

Game: No Limit Texas Hold’em

Opening Stack: $40,000, with automatic top-off after each hand

Number of hands: 25,000

The player who is behind after half the hands have been played (12,500) will have the option of ending the heads up battle. The winner is the player who earns the most money over the number of hands played.

Now the battleground becomes the virtual felt at WSOP.com. Negreanu had wanted to play it on his home turf at GGPoker (his sponsor), but Polk wasn’t interested in traveling to the required location to be able to access GGPoker (GGPoker is not available to U. S. players). Thus, WSOP.com proved to be the best option available for the two men because both live in  Las Vegas and have access to the site.

Despite using social media as a cudgel prior to the action on Wednesday, both men were cordial towards each other face-to-face. That may change as the action moves over to the online arena. There is still a sizeable contingent that is heavily leaning towards Polk, even after his troubles on the live felt on Wednesday, and there’s literally more than 24,000 hands left to play. The virtual cards will hit the air today on WSOP.com at 2:30PM (Pacific Time) and it promises to be an interesting 25K hands of play – if it gets that far.

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