“Cheat Sheets” Debate Adds To The Animosity In Negreanu/Polk Feud

The Negreanu/Polk high-stakes, heads-up challenge was nearly called off over the use of "cheat sheets."

The ongoing, years-long feud between Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk entered yet another chapter over the weekend.

As the pair hashed out the subject of whether or not pre-flop charts (or any form of Real-Time Assistance) would be allowed in their upcoming high-stakes, heads-up challenge on WSOP.com, the tension between the two entered a new phase with Negreanu playing up his role as the underdog and Polk setting his intention to do real damage to Negreanu’s bankroll.

After negotiating out the details of the November match, including the stakes, game format, platform, and starting date, the subject of what reference materials would be allowed during the course of play came up. It was clear from the onset of the discussion that the mind games between the two had started well before the first card has even been dealt.

After first declaring that he was “open to either allowing or disallowing the use of any RTA including charts”, Negreanu shifted gears. He took to Twitter and dug into the notion that “real poker” is played without any in-the-moment assistance.

Polk, who was in favor of being able to use pre-flop charts, was seemingly fed up with the new wrinkle in terms. He declared that he was finished arguing over the finer points of the challenge and that if the WSOP.com Terms of Service weren’t good enough for Negreanu, then the match was off.

But Polk wasn’t finished wasting his time. The Twitter war of words continued as Negreanu stuck to his guns about neither side being able to use “cheat sheets”. Negreanu announced he was prepared to deposit $1,000,000 into his online account in anticipation of the start of the match.

He stayed on message, hammering home his underdog status insisting that the skill in poker comes from a player knowing what to do as opposed to referencing information and “doing nothing but reading and clicking buttons.” At the same time, Negreanu has insisted that, outside of this issue, Polk has already received everything he asked for.

Polk stated that his frustration stemmed from have done detailed preparation using the tools that the best in the world have used for quite some time. Conversely, Polk insists that it’s Negreanu who has had his way in setting out the rules.

The discussion on what is acceptable Real-Time Assistance and where the line is drawn has been heightened in the wake of the discovery of a high-stakes grinder, Fedor Kruse, who was alledgedly caught using GTO Real Time Assistance while playing on online.

Polk eventually countered, suggesting that he would agree to no charts if Negreanu would agree to both players streaming the entire match on delay with hole cards showing. The pair finally arrived at a to-be-determined limited broadcast of cards-up coverage on PokerGO with zero use of RTA’s or pre-flop charts across the entire match.

Even though both players threatened to pull out of the challenge over “cheat sheets”, it didn’t put an end to the match. It did, however, put an end to any previous civil discourse between the two players. And on Monday, Polk had seemingly had enough of all of it.

As of now, the Doug Polk vs. Daniel Negreanu heads-up match is slated to get underway on November 1 on WSOP.com with live-streamed coverage to be announced.