Doug Polk and Daniel Negreanu demonstrate a high level of game art as their heads-up resentment match hits the home straight.
Last Monday, the first session after Negreanu posted a profit of around $ 390,000, Polk came out of the gates with a new, much more passive strategy. He often hobbled in when on the button, a game very infrequently used for most challenges.
Polk hinted at the change by tweeting "Big Strategy Change Arriving Today … Let's Go & # 39; s" just before the two cards were up.
The strategy didn't work well for Polk's bottom line at that session as Negreanu won $ 46,854 over 438 hands, but it did raise questions about what prompted Polk to drastically change his game plan while still having a $ 612,000 lead at the time held .
"I thought, 'Why is he doing this? "And then I thought about the pressure he was under and found that it had become significant," Negreanu said in his post-game interview on the GGPoker YouTube channel. "Because he doesn't just have money in the game for this game. He has a big side bet on the line. I understand that there is fear and concern about losing that lead."
Before the challenge began, the poker world rushed to bet on the outcome. Most of the bets had Negreanu on a 4-1 dog and Polk publicly accepted a bet from Phil Hellmuth and it is rumored that he made another big bet on himself with Bill Perkins.
Polk didn't mention the side bets in his own post-game interview on his own YouTube channel. However, he admitted trying to reduce the variance. He compared it to having a big head start late in a soccer game.
"It decreases the standard deviation," said Polk. ", I'm pretty sure. When you play smaller pots, there is less variance. We're trying to reduce the variance. The problem is, we are going to lose 10 buy-ins in the next 3,000 hands. We are playing to prevent defense . "
In some ways, it's a counter-strategy to the way Negreanu played in the previous game. Negreanu admitted playing a hyper-aggressive style to increase variance and win big pots. With only a few thousand hands left in the 25,000-hand challenge, it serves both as a hedge against excessive variance and forcing Negreanu to adjust to a strategy he probably wasn't prepared for.
Whether or not he was prepared for it, Negreanu said the strategy simply cannot be profitable in the long run.
"I feel for him," said the six-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner. "Honestly. I can't imagine that he would like to play like he does today because he can't win. There is no world where this strategy he used will be + EV (expected value). He will lose EV to me. The question is how much does he lose? "
Negreanu Counters limping with refueling
Ultimately, the GGPoker ambassador did not counterattack for the limp. To give himself the best chance of developing one, he made his own change in the following session on Wednesday afternoon.
For the first 15 minutes of Wednesday's session, Negreanu used almost the entire time bank on every straight of every hand. Polk immediately took to social media and expressed his displeasure on the move.
Completely pathetic representation from @RealKidPoker today
Refuel 20 seconds to open, refuel 20 seconds to check the flop, refuel every single decision to bring the game to zero.
Total piece of shit moving.
– Doug Polk (@DougPolkVids) January 27, 2021
"He made a strategic adjustment that he believed was in his best interests," Negreanu said after the meeting. "I have no problem with that. I did exactly the same."
For Negreanu, the refueling served several purposes. The fewer hands they play in each session, the more time Negreanu has to study and figure out the right way to combat limping. But it also balances its timing. Before the game started, there was controversy over whether preflop charts should be allowed.
Eventually they both agreed that they should be allowed. So far, Negreanu said there was no need to use them. However, to prevent the limp, he has to see what to do.
"There are times when I'm still looking for the hand and what to do and all my time bank is gone," Negreanu said. "So that I can make up for that because I'm doing it against 2.4x and the limp, I have hands for both of them. So I don't want to act fast when I have an easy hand and act slowly when I'm looking for it got to. "
Polk was so furious with Negreanus tanking that they decided to let high-stakes legend Phil Galfond, who had just won his own heads-up challenge, decide the situation. Before the game began, Polk and Negreanu agreed that Galfond should resolve any disagreement.
Both players sat outside while they had Galfond on the phone to hear both sides. He decided that Negreanu should be quick to hit the button as he wasn't faced with any new strategy if there was no action. However, he would be allowed to use his time bank if he was in the big blind.
The two played briefly before Polk gave up the strategy of limping and returned to his normal, aggressive game on the button. Once the limp was given up, Negreanu began to act faster. It seems this will be the norm from now on.
Polk won $ 136,239 over 560 hands in one dramatic session and followed on Friday with another win for $ 34,855 over 1,384. At the start of the game on Monday, Polk was up $ 736,804 to $ 21,306.
No rematch in the cards
He also argued that his limp from the previous session wasn't just in the rules, but a game that will make money in the long run.
"(Today I learned) People don't know that limping increases your winrate HUNL"Polk tweeted afterwards.
Based on Polk's rhetoric, Negreanu is not buying the winrate argument.
“If you actually thought this was the higher EV game … you came in on day one and said you wanted to win the max. You wouldn't say, "No, I can't take care of it," said Negreanu. "You would have just done it."
After last Friday's session, Polk made it clear that he will retire once the challenge is over. There will be no rematch.
"I'm way too burned out from all that studying / preparing / playing and I'm not enjoying the game," tweeted Polk after his six-figure win last Friday. "I also want some flexibility not to be in Nevada for the next 4-5 months."
The two will play three more sessions this week. With 3,694 hands left in the Challenge and Negreanu taking longer sessions to play deep stacked poker to get the best chance of winning, there is a high chance that these will be the last three sessions of the Challenge .