Just when it seemed all was lost for Daniel Negreanu in his $200/$400 heads-up no-limit hold’em match with Doug Polk, a monster session left him with a fighting chance.
After he won a whopping $385,000 — the largest either player has managed to drag in a single session — on Jan. 22, Negreanu cut his deficit by almost 40%. He was down about $1 million at two different points, but if he can manage any more victories like that going forward, he’s right back in it with a shot at an incredibly unlikely comeback.
Here’s how the most recent sessions have gone.
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The day started off with an early indication Negreanu was about to have an epic winning day, as right off the bat, he won a stack when he continued for $3,199 on as the preflop three-bettor. Polk called and then called $9,644 on the turn. On the river, Negreanu put in the $23K left and got snap-called, but his had been in a dream equity spot against from the jump.
Polk got it right back moments later in a cooler when he pipped Negreanu with a nine-high flush over a seven-high one — the eight was on board. He then won a $28K pot and $43K pot without showdown, shoving river both times and not getting a call. He went up about a buy-in.
Polk went for a monster hero call on a board of . He had bet $3,451 on the flop and $11,451 into $15K on the turn before checking river. With $28K left on the end, he check and called when Negreanu crammed all in. Negreanu showed for rivered top pair and was way good against .
In a single-raised pot, Polk brought the heat with some big aggression. He bet $1,519, just under pot, on , then $7,339 on the . Negreanu checked the and Polk blasted all in for $48,443 effective, more than twice the pot. Negreanu tank-called with and was rewarded when Polk showed for almost the nut low.
With Negreanu already up about two buy-ins, an absolutely massive pot went down. Polk three-bet to about $3,700 preflop and then continued for $3,164 on . Negreanu peeled, bringing a . Polk sized down with $4,574 and was met with a big raise to $16,080. On the , Polk checked and snapped a pot-sized jam of $46K, creating a pot of almost $140K. Negreanu showed for a straight that Polk couldn’t beat with .
Negreanu kept climbing and was past $150K in profit for the day in the next big spot, which would see a brief raising war on end in a cooler shown down as Negreanu’s was smashed by . The turn gave both players full houses but Polk’s was better and he dragged the $81K pot.
Then, Negreanu four-bet preflop and c-bet small in position on only to get shoved on for a massive $31K over his $2,159 bet. He was only too happy to call with and had the of Polk smashed. The brought a little help for Polk but he didn’t improve on the river.
An interesting hand came up on an flop, with Polk having three-bet preflop and continued for $2,300 on the flop. Negreanu came along and Polk checked to him on the . Negreanu bet $5,127 and they went to the river, which was the . Polk checked, Negreanu shoved for about $28K effective, a little over the pot, and Polk found the call button to see Negreanu’s airball. Polk took it with .
They were almost $60K deep when Negreanu got max value in a four-bet pot. He was the aggressor and bet $5,399 on then $9,718 on the . Polk called pretty quickly, and on the river, he check-called off the remaining $32,390. His was no good against . That edged Negreanu up past $200K in winnings.
They played a slightly bigger one even when preflop, flop and turn action was identical with Negreanu using the same sizings a flop then an turn. This time, Polk shoved over the turn bet for $42,543 and got called instantly by . He had for a flopped monster draw and the would see the $117K pushed to “Kid Poker.”
Negreanu peaked around +$400K when he three-bet pre and continued for a bigger sizing of $5,358 on . Polk called and then faced another sizable wager of $12,538 on the . He called again then called the last $25K on the river, but Negreanu had the goods with , rendering Polk’s almost worthless on the turn.
Negreanu bluffed back one final stack on a board of when he bet $2,021 into $3,017 in position on the river, only for Polk to make it $6,751. Negreanu ripped in Polk’s remaining $31K but Polk had an easy call with . Negreanu had an airball with .
Still, the marathon session had proven very lucrative for Negreanu when they quit moments later.
Hands Played: 1,000
Results: Daniel Negreanu +$385,000
Full session video
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This much shorter session began with a very tame first hour or so as Polk inched out to a $25K lead but neither player seemed that inclined to play many huge pots, and stacks didn’t go in at all.
Polk did announce before the match he was bringing a change in strategy, and that change seemed to be limping preflop at some frequency, which he did in several spots. Overall, it did expectedly lead to less big pots, if the first hour of it was any indication.
Finally, a huge pot occurred, and a surprising hand was shown down as Negreanu slammed in a five-bet shove for $52K preflop. Polk called him with and was up against , with the small pair nailing a set on the flop and sealing the deal on a blank turn.
They were almost $70K deep when another big pot was built as Polk four-bet to $12,000 preflop and Negreanu called. Polk continued small for $4,799 on and Negreanu called, bringing an . Polk bet small again with $11,086 and Negreanu stuck around for the . Both players checked and Polk had to be glad he did so when Negreanu showed .
Polk hit a strong finish when he three-bet and tripled off on with and got a call from to reduce his loss to just under $50K.
Hands Played: 350
Results: Daniel Negreanu +$48,000
Full session video