Daniel Negreanu seals victory in his second consecutive round of the High Stakes Duel, overpowering Heads-Up specialist Doug Polk. The three-hour battle carried more than just the $200,000 prize for Negreanu; it was a reaffirmation after being swept by Phil Hellmuth in a previous duel and sweet revenge against Polk, following his defeat in the Grudge Match.
This wasn’t the duo’s first rodeo. They previously locked horns in 2021 during a fierce 25,000-hand online battle dubbed the "Grudge Match". Polk then came out on top, netting a whopping $1.2 million. Many wondered why Negreanu would face Polk again. However, after Eric Persson, whom Negreanu defeated in the first round, backed out of a rematch, Polk stepped up to the plate.
Polk, currently focused on growing the Lodge Card Club in Round Rock, Texas, and reenergized by fatherhood, couldn’t resist the challenge presented by PokerGO. Meanwhile, Negreanu, ever the trophy hunter, was all in for the competition. Post-match, he proudly remarked on his first belt, noting its hefty weight.
Delving into the second round, the game was a rollercoaster of highs and lows. Negreanu took the initial lead when his king-ten suited overcame Polk's ace-high. However, the tables turned quickly, with Polk re-establishing dominance in a big pot where he hit a flush on the river against Negraenu’s top pair.
Daniel came back from a deficit with several strong hands, most notably hitting a nut flush against Doug’s K-high flush draw and him betting while drawing dead. In the match's final hand, Polk raised with 97s and Negreanu called with AT. Doug made a continuation bet with straight draw and Daniel floated with A high. When the turn revealed an ace, Negreanu checked, leading Polk to bet again. On the river, Negreanu checked, prompting an all-in move from Polk. After a brief pause, Negreanu called, securing his win in Round 2 of High Stakes Duel 4.
Reflecting on his bout with Polk, Negreanu said, “The challenge with Doug is that he’s not afraid to corner you, forcing you to make difficult calls with marginal hands.” Despite this, Negreanu stayed true to his strategy, playing cautiously and making a pivotal call with top pair that secured his win.
With two consecutive High Stakes Duel victories under his belt, Negreanu has decided to cash out. Asserting his decision, he stated, "I win the belt, right? I don’t want to risk it. But anyone willing can challenge me in Round 1, and I'll defend it then."