Thursday November 5, 2020 at 2:43 pm

The High Stakes Duel finally got underway with Doug Polk and Daniel Negreanu playing the first 200 hands of their 25,000-hand challenge at $200/$400 NL stakes. It took about 3 hours and 40 minutes to complete 200 hands of their grudge match live at the Aria Casino in Las Vegas. After the first 200 hands, Negreanu finished up 2.2 buy-ins and he opened a $117K lead over Polk.


KidPoker strikes first blood! After months of smack talking, posturing, subtweeting, and outright funny wankery, the highly-anticipated heads-up match between Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk finally began, much to the delight of fans, bettors, and haters alike. There's no shortage of beefs among poker pros, but these two actually put their money where their mouth (and where the SEND button on Twitter) is. Heads-up for rolls! Well, sort of.

Daniel Negreanu came into this heads-up match aka the High Stakes Duel, as a 4/1 underdog against Doug Polk, who was considered a heads-up NL specialist before he retired from poker and stepped away from the game to pursue more fruitful pursuits including broadcasting, YouTubing, and crypto. During Polk's time away from the tables, KidPoker's life also drastically changed. He left PokerStars after being an ambassador for them for over 12 years, he got married, and then joined forces with GGPoker to become their pitchman and ambassador. Along the way, Negreanu stepped in plenty of dog doo, especially after he lost his mind on a live stream during the WSOP Online this summer. The incident blew up and nearly destroyed the intertubes with plenty of KidPoker loyalists and KidPoker haters fanning the flames on twitter, Facebook, and old-school forums.

Doug Polk, the so-called man of the people, had enough of KidPoker's antics and challenged Negreanu to a no-holds barred heads-up joust! After an extend time bickering back-and-forth over the actually battle, the two finally agreed on the forum and stakes. They would joust for 25,000 hands at $200/$400 NL playing two tables at a time online at Polk wanted the matches to be streamed... for the people and fans... but KidPoker hesitated because he did not want to have to show his hole cards on every single hand. They agreed to a hybrid in which the first 200 hands would be played live and in person at the Aria Casino, which would be aired for free on PokerGo and its streams via YouTube and Facebook.

The first 200 hands began on Wednesday, November 4. While most of America kept one eye on the election results, they kept the other eye on this highly-anticipated heads-up grudge match.

Much to the dismay of the bevy of haters out there, the two were cordial and polite to one another. If you tuned in for the first time and had no idea what was happening, you'd almost think the two were BFFs in real life. I'm a multi-universe kinda of guy and I'd like to think that in another timeline, Polk and Negreanu are actual BFFs and they do fun things together like build model airplanes, play in the same fantasy football league, have tattoos of each other's initials on their biceps, and wear matching tracksuits for random events.

But in this timeline, the two hate each other's guts because that's what spending too much time in poker will do to a person. It skews reality and you end up swimming in toxic sewage, so it's easier to hate than to let things slide.

Luckily for us, there's a heads-up joust to watch and gamble on (just ask Matusow, who bet half his bankroll on Negreanu). It's not quite a Hamilton-like duel to the death when these two would've stood behind the Luxor in the parking lot and shot pistols at each other ten steps away. I mean, that would have been waaaaaaaaaay more entertaining and I would've paid $200 to see that happen. But there's laws, even in Nevada, that outlaw old-fashioned duels, so the two could not settle their differences the old-fashioned way. So, to the felt it is!

The first 100 hands did not see much movement. The two were feeling each other out and like two dogs that never met, they were sniffing each other's butts.

Most of the drama happened in the last 30 or so hands. KidPoker flopped trips sixes (ho-hm the anti-Christ) with Carte 10 de trèfleCarte 6 de trèfle against Polk's Carte Dame de carreauCarte Valet de carreau. KidPoker induced Polk to bluff at the pot with air for $44K, and Negreanu trapped him and called.

"I got nothing," said Polk as he shook his head. Negreanu dragged the pot worth over $114K. Polk had to rebuy, while Negreanu surged to 100K.

When the dust settled and after 3:40 of action, the first 200 hands were complete. Polk found himself in the hole $117K, while KidPoker took an early lead. 200 hands down, 24,800 more to go as the action heads to

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