The last week has been pretty quiet in the Heads-Up Duel between online specialist Doug Polk and Poker Hall of Famer Daniel Negreanu. Bill Perkins didn’t raise any ruckus and there were two days where poker was the only thing on the agenda. What has occurred is that Polk is beginning to assert himself on the virtual felt, opening the possibilities that there might be an early end to the festivities.
Polk Adds to Overall Lead
The schedule for Thanksgiving week allowed for the men to take some time to be with their families, but it also made sure that they got some time in on the tables. The slate of play was set for Monday, Wednesday and Saturday (today), with the time off on Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving. Over the span of the two days of action earlier this week, Polk didn’t storm out to his advantage, but quietly grinded his way into the bigger lead.
Monday’s session was the longest of the duel to this point. Polk and Negreanu hit the virtual felt at WSOP.com at 5:30PM (Pacific) on Monday and proceeded to put in a serious 852-hand session between the two tables (quick refresher: the stakes are $200/$400 No Limit Texas Hold’em over two tables between the two men with a starting stack of $40,000). After coming into the day’s play with less than a buy in separating him from Negreanu, Polk was able to open the window a bit more.
“Lots of big pots back and forth, some coolers, some bluffs, this one had it all, except all-ins before the river,” Polk commented on Twitter following the marathon (for this battle) session. In the end, Polk was able to pick up $117,624 over the 842 played to bring the overall session near the 20% completion mark. After Monday’s play, Polk held a $143,996 edge with 4651 hands in the books.
They only played half the hands Wednesday that they booked on Monday and once again it went all Polk’s way. Another 416 hands in the books saw Polk finish at $120,023 on the positive side of the ledger. “Very quiet day…we didn’t even play an all-in pot,” Polk commented to his Twitter followers. “Lot of small-mid pots going our way to take (the lead).”
Prior to the resumption of hostilities on Saturday afternoon at WSOP.com, here’s how the overall standings look:
Hands Played: 5067 (of 12,500 OR 25,000)
Edge: Polk, $264,019
Would Someone End the Battle Early?
The key stat in that report above is whether the player who is behind at 12,500 hands wants to exercise their options. Under the negotiated rules of the Heads-Up Duel, the player who is behind at the halfway point of the match has the option of ending any further play. The question thus becomes what level does a player have to be behind to say no mas?
The halfway mark hasn’t been quite reached if someone is looking at the 12,500 mark, but there is an extrapolation that can be made. If it were to continue as it has to this point, that would put Negreanu down more than $528,000 (at the minimum) by the time the 12,500th hand is played. While Negreanu is well known for his willingness for action, seeing more than a half million dollars separated from your wallet cannot be a comfortable feeling.
Then again, it could all switch around very quickly. Negreanu’s had a singular session when he switched the tables for more than $200K, so it is conceivable that this is going to go all the way to the 25,000 mark. At the start, this writer predicted that it would be a close match with neither competitor winning by more than a couple of buy ins – let’s say two to four. The players are just too good and too professional to lose massively. As a result of this, we’re going to get a full competition (more than likely) which will help to alleviate what has been a dismal 2020.