Will They or Won’t They? Negreanu v. Polk Heads-Up Match Discussions Heat Up

There has been a little bit of animosity between poker professionals Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk, and it has been brewing for some time. Earlier this year, the duo seemed to be on the doorstep of that classic battle of manhood in poker – the Heads-Up No limit Hold’em match – but for some reason it hasn’t come to pass. Now, after some banter back and forth on Twitter, it appears that a date has potentially been set, but no details worked out.

Oh Yeah?

It seems the latest tete a tete between the duo was fired by Polk on Thursday. On his Twitter account, Polk tossed down the virtual gauntlet in writing, “Alright, I’m sick of the runaround. Does anyone know how to get in touch with @RealKidPoker (Negreanu’s Twitter handle) so we can actually schedule this match?”

“He tweets at me once in awhile and then goes silent,” Polk wrote on Thursday. “It’s been two months and I’m ready to f*****g battle. Let’s work out some details.”

That seemed to spark Negreanu to life.

Less than a half-hour after Polk’s statement, Negreanu responded. “Well, this is awkward,” he started. “You all riled up, eh? You have been talking to Mori and Brent, no? I have and they said they spoke with you. All that’s left is waiting on a final legal opinion to see what options are available.” Negreanu then put out November 1 as a potential start date for a heads-up battle.

After that, both accused each other of – acting childish. “Yes, let’s do November 1,” Polk fired back. “This process has been quite childish because you won’t just hammer out the details with me unless it’s either A) a Tweet to everyone, or B) me hunting down people that can talk to you.”

Negreanu didn’t let that slight go by, popping back, “To be fair, our starting point was a Heads Up for Rolls challenge, so we kind of started off childish, no?” He then reasserts that Polk has spoked with Mori (presumably Eskandari) and Brent (presumably Hanks, a host on PokerGO), who are probably involved to set up airing the festivities. Negreanu finishes by saying, “We have ironed out all details outside of location for the most part. We can iron out any outstanding details this week.”

Feud is Years in the Making

The feud between Negreanu and Polk is one that has been years in the making. Back in 2014 Negreanu, who has never been known for his online poker skills, posited that he could, with a modicum of practice and work, step into the higher cash games online and perform well. Polk, who was one of the best online Heads Up No Limit Hold’em players at that time, called Negreanu “naïve” for even thinking that he could pull off the feat.

In 2015, Negreanu made his now infamous “more rake is better” comments regarding online poker. That was the year that PokerStars, Negreanu’s employer at the time, massively upped the rake on cash games, which hurt their performance. In 2018, Polk bought billboard space beside the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino during the yearly World Series of Poker, promoting a website “morerakeisbetter.com” where Polk touted Negreanu’s comments in an attempt to embarrass him further.

Polk would continue to poke at Negreanu in 2018. On the podcast of poker media maven Joey Ingram, Polk called out Negreanu for his work with PokerStars (who sponsored Negreanu at that time). “He’s a massive hypocrite and, frankly, he’s an embarrassment to players and the game of poker,” Polk bluntly stated on the Ingram podcast.

The twosome would basically steer clear of each other in 2019, but apparently access to social media and the availability of online poker has drawn them back to clash. In July, Polk tossed the glove to the floor and challenged Negreanu. Polk, who is coming out of retirement to play in the game, is trying to state that it would be an even match, but Negreanu is pulling the “underdog” card as he himself says he isn’t a “strong” online player.

There are some details that have been established. It will be two tables of $200/$400 No Limit Hold’em, with the number of hands to be played to be somewhere between 10,000 and 25,000. This would allow for true skill to play through instead of immediate luck. Beyond this, the battlefield has yet to be determined and, although it seems likely, how people can watch live has not been determined.

So, who wins? Polk or Negreanu? The battle lines have been drawn, all we need is a date for the festivities to begin and a spot for them to play to be determined (GGPoker? WSOP.com?). Whenever it starts, it promises to be riveting viewing.

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