After dropping a short live session against Daniel Negreanu earlier this week, Doug Polk rebounded during an online session on Friday. Polk, back in his familiar milieu of the online game, would trounce Negreanu by more than $200,000 during the session on Friday. This now puts Polk into the lead, but it is still way too early to draw any conclusions from the proceedings.

Polk Powers to Lead With Excellent Cards

Playing at WSOP.com, the game continued after the initial start at the PokerGO Studios in Las Vegas on Wednesday. With each man ensconced in their homes and ready for action, they began with the same parameters as previous:

Stakes: $200/$400
Game: No Limit Texas Hold’em
Number of Hands Played: 200
Number of Hands to Play: 24,800
Opening Stack: $40,000, automatically topped off after every hand played

For the next two hours, the duo squared off over two tables and, almost immediately, the fortunes began to change for Polk. Considered one of the best heads-up players in the history of the game (live or online), Polk asserted his strength from the start. It didn’t hurt that Polk also got every break that seemed to come on the virtual tables, either, but Negreanu made some moves (and mistakes) that he could have prevented.

One of those situations was in losing an entire stack in one hand. After the duo saw the board come 8-9-10, Negreanu was convinced that his pocket nines were the best hand and called off an all-in bet from Polk. Polk, however, had the goods, tabling a J-7 for the flopped straight and, after the board failed to pair, Negreanu was down $40,000 in one hand alone.

Tables Swing Back in Polk’s Favor

Once the carnage was done for the night, Polk had completely reversed the extremely early lead that Negreanu had established and had staked himself to a decent lead in its own right:

Hands completed: 424
Results: Polk +218,292

Total hands played: 624
Leader: Polk +101,792

Looking through the early action, it is obvious that, if the 21st century version of Moss/Dandalos were played in the areas of each player’s strength, that it would be a much closer battle. Negreanu is much more comfortable in the live poker arena, while Polk has an edge with his online prowess. But why is this the case?

Negreanu can definitely see things in a live setting that most cannot pick up on. How many times have we seen him deduce the exact holdings that a player holds? These skills serve him well in the live game (which, other than the PokerGO start, we probably will not see again), but have no applicable purpose in the online game.

Polk can’t count on the cards always working for him, but he’s been around the online game long enough to know the mathematics and optimum play for a situation. He also is demonstrating, in the early action, that his semi-retirement hasn’t eroded his skills in the slightest. Over the next 12,000 hands at the minimum (the player who is behind once 12,500 hands has been reached has the option of ending the match), can Polk continue to extend this lead or will Negreanu be able to figure things out and reassert himself on the battle?

There are tentative plans for more action this weekend, but nothing has been set in stone. For those looking to get insight into the action, Polk is streaming the action on his Twitch feed and, if the virtual railbirds set their notices, they will be informed when action resumes.

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