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Found 51 results

  1. This week's episode of High Stakes Poker on PokerGO started off with the players still talking about Doug Polk folding the second nut straight to Phil Hellmuth shove with the nut straight last week, but quickly turned into an episode of the Tom Dwan Show - and he wasn't even in the game when the episode began. It didn't take long to get a six-figure pot. On the second hand of play, James Bord raised to $1,100 with [poker card="7c"][poker card="6h"], Jake Daniels called with [poker card="ks"][poker card="jh"], and Hellmuth defended his big blind with [poker card="7s"][poker card="4s"]. The flop came [poker card="9s"][poker card="8s"][poker card="7d"] and Hellmuth checked to Bord, who bet $2,000. Daniels called only to have Hellmuth raise to $5,000. Bord folded but Daniels called to see the [poker card="qs"] turn. Hellmuth check-called Daniels' bet of $7,100 to bump the pot to $30,100. The [poker card="2h"] river completed the board and Hellmuth led out for $14,000. Daniels raised to $57,000 and Hellmuth went into the tank. "I keep thinking, 'I'm going to fold this and he's going to show me the bluff and I am going to quit," Hellmuth said while contemplating his decision. After 2:35 of waiting, Daniels asked for a clock and Hellmuth was given two minutes to make his decision. Hellmuth ultimately called to take down the $144,000 pot and added $73,500 to his stack. On the next hand, Polk left and was replaced by Rick Salomon with Dwan taking his spot in the four seat. Before seeing a single hand, Dwan asked the double the stakes from $200/$400 to $400/$800 and nobody resisted, setting up a night of six-figure pots. Dwan started his reign of dominance by taking down a $57,800 pot, winning another $1,400 after running the turn and river twice against Bord in a $171,000 pot, but all of that was just whetting his appetite for winning a huge pot without a showdown. Brandon Steven opened to $2,400 with [poker card="ks"][poker card="4s"], Dwan called with [poker card="9d"][poker card="5d"], and Bryn Kenney called from the big blind with [poker card="th"][poker card="7s"]. The flop came [poker card="ad"][poker card="5c"][poker card="4d"] and Kenney checked to Steven who continued for $5,000. Holding a flush draw and middle pair, Dwan raised to $18,000. Kenney folded and Steven called. The [poker card="9c"] turn gave Dwan two pair and after Steven checked, Dwan fired out $33,000 into the $44,400 pot. Steven responded with a raise to $87,000. Dwan took a little more than two minutes before moving all in for $227,000. A visibly frustrated Steven folded his hand instantly and said, "you guys are impossible to bluff. It's amazing." It wouldn't be a Season 8 episode of High Stakes Poker without a bit of a Hellmuth rant. Hellmuth called from UTG with [poker card="as"][poker card="js"]. Bord raised to $2,600 with [poker card="ac"][poker card="qh"], Salomon called from the button with [poker card="ad"][poker card="4c"], Kenney came long from the big blind with [poker card="9d"][poker card="9s"] and Hellmuth called. The [poker card="kc"][poker card="tc"][poker card="7s"] flop got all four players to check. The turn was the [poker card="jd"] and Hellmuth bet $7,000 and only Bord called. The river was the [poker card="3s"] and Hellmuth continued to be aggressive, betting $9,000. Bord raised to $33,000 forcing Hellmuth into a decision. "I just can't fold this, I guess," Hellmuth said after 90 seconds and the 15-time WSOP bracelet winner threw in a call. After being shown the nuts, Hellmuth stood up and treated his tablemates and viewers at home to a monologue on Bord. "I love playing against you, I want you every fucking day," Hellmuth said. "You deserve to lose after all of those weird beats you put on me." With Hellmuth done holding the spotlight, Dwan resumed his domination as the episode drew to a close. After Dwan straddled to $1,600 and Salomon double-straddled to $3,200, Steven raised to $10,000 with [poker card="jc"][poker card="tc"], Daniels called with [poker card="ac"][poker card="kd"], Dwan called with [poker card="9h"][poker card="7c"], and Salomon made it a four-way pot with [poker card="9s"][poker card="8s"]. The flop came [poker card="kc"][poker card="7h"][[poker card="2h"] and everybody checked to Steven who fired $17,000 into the $41,200 pot. Daniels and Dwan called while Salomon got out of the way. All three remaining players checked through the [poker card="9c"] turn that gave Dwan two pair. The [poker card="js"] river completed the board and Daniels checked, Dwan bet $43,000 which forced Steven to fold. Daniels called and was shown the bad news as Dwan's two pair allowed him to rake in the $178,200 pot. Dwan then took down a $106,600 pot before the final hand of the night, which turned out to be the biggest of the week. Salomon straddled, Bord raised to $3,200 with [poker card="as"][poker card="jh"], Daniels three-bet to $10,000 with [poker card="jc"][poker card="td"], and Dwan also called with [poker card="qc"][poker card="tc"]. Action was back to Salomon and he called with [poker card="9c"][poker card="4c"] as Bord folded. The [poker card="7c"][poker card="5s"][poker card="2c"] flop got Daniels to bet $12,500 and both Dwan and Salomon called. Daniels then fired $33,000 after the [poker card="js"] turn and once again, Dwan and Salomon called. The river was the [poker card="8c"] which finally got Daniels to slow down. He checked, allowing Dwan to bet $75,000 with his queen-high flush. Salomon called with his baby flush and realizing he was behind, Daniels folded. Dwan tabled the winning hand and scooped the $320,500 pot, winning an additional $189,000 as play wrapped up for the week. The next episode of High Stakes Poker is the final one of Season 8 and airs on PokerGo on Wednesday, March 17 at 8 PM ET.
  2. A new episode of High Stakes Poker on PokerGO came with a new cast filled with some of the biggest names to take a seat this season and wrapped up with two superstars clashing in what will undoubtedly be one of the most talked about hands in the history of the show. Tom Dwan, Phil Ivey, Phil Hellmuth, Bryn Kenney were joined by James Bord, Brandon Steven, Jake Daniels, and making his Season 8 debut, Doug Polk. Dwan wasn't seated when play began, leaving action to start seven-handed. After the second hand of the night, where Bord scooped a $36,900 pot with [poker card="6c"][poker card="4h"], Hellmuth seemed to take issue with how Bord was assigned his seat and took aim at his fellow WSOP Europe Main Event champion. "I want you in the game, but I don't want you to get away with a lot of bullshit," Hellmuth said to Bord. Two hands later, the pair would clash. From UTG+1, Hellmuth called with [poker card="kc"][poker card="kh"] and action folded to Bord in the cutoff. He raised to $2,000 with [poker card="7d"][poker card="2d"]. Everybody else got out of the way and Hellmuth called. The flop came [poker card="ad"][poker card="6c"][poker card="4c"] and Hellmuth check-called Bord's $3,000 bet. The [poker card="6d"] turn got Hellmuth to check again. This time Bord decided to bet $15,000 into the $11,000 pot while saying, "I'm just going to bluff it off now." Hellmuth complained about how unfair the hand felt before folding face up. Sensing an opportunity to send Hellmuth into tilt, Bord told the 15-time WSOP bracelet winner "good fold" and showed the table his hand. Dwan joined the table for the sixth hand and then had a front row seat for the next big pot. Hellmuth called with [poker card="jh"][poker card="4h"], Steven raised to $2,100 with [poker card="9d"][poker card="8d"] and Bord decided to defend his big blind with [poker card="4s"][poker card="2d"] forcing Hellmuth to fold. After the [poker card="jd"][poker card="td"][poker card="6d"] flop, Steven bet $3,000 and Bord called. The turn was the [poker card="qd"] giving Steven a straight flush. He fired a bet of $5,000 and Bord responded by raising to $17,000. Steven thought over his options and decided to call. The river was the [poker card="7h"] and Steven checked, hoping Bord would fire one more time but the Brit checked behind letting Steven scoop the $45,000 pot. A couple of hands laters, Steven was involved in the first six-figure pot of the episode. Steven raised to $1,100 with [poker card="as"][poker card="jh"] and Dwan three-bet to $4,000 with [poker card="9s"][poker card="7s"]. Steven called to see the [poker card="js"][poker card="8s"][poker card="4h"] flop and then checked to Dwan. Dwan bet $5,000 and Steven called. The [poker card="3d"] turn improved neither player and Steven check-called Dwan's $14,000 bet. The [poker card="3c"] river completed the board and once again Steven opted to check. Dwan bet $30,000 and Steven called and showed down the winner. Half of the players at the table were involved in the next hand - at least until the flop. Kenney opened to $1,500 with [poker card="ks"][poker card="qh"], Steven called with [poker card="kc"][poker card="6c"], Daniels called with [poker card="as"][poker card="jd"] and Bord came along with [poker card="ac"][poker card="qc"]. The [poker card="qd"][poker card="9c"][poker card="6s"] flop gave Bord top pair, top kicker but he checked, as did Daniels. Kenney continued for $2,500, Steven folded, and Bord raised to $8,000. Daniels folded but Kenney called. The turn was the [poker card="2d"] and Bord bet $14,000 and Kenney called. The [poker card="2s"] river slowed Bord down and he checked to Kenney who bet $25,000. Bord called and showed Kenney he had him out-kicked to take down the $122,900 pot for a $64,400 boost to his stack. Ivey then left the table after apparently not feeling well. He was replaced by John Andress who sat down with $100,000 but wouldn't have to wait long to get those chips in play. Looking down at [poker card="7c"][poker card="7h"], Bord raised from UTG+1 to $1,100 before Andress raised to $3,500 from the button with [poker card="ac"][poker card="ad"]. Bord called and then got great news on the [poker card="qc"][poker card="7d"][poker card="5d"] flop. Bord checked to let Andress bet $2,500. Bord raised to $10,000 and Andress called. The turn was the [poker card="4s"] and Bord led for $30,000 and Andress called. The [poker card="ah"] river gave Andress top set. Bord announced he was all in and Andress called all in and then showed Bord the bad news. That $203,000 pot was the largest of the show but certainly won't be the most talked about. The final hand of the night started with Hellmuth raising to $1,100 from middle position with [poker card="qs"][poker card="th"]. Bord called his button with [poker card="2c"][poker card="2h"] and Polk defended the big blind with [poker card="td"][poker card="7c"]. The [poker card="js"][poker card="9s"][poker card="8h"] flop gave Polk and Hellmuth straights. Both players checked to Bord who bet $2,000. Polk raised to $7,000 before Hellmuth moved all in for $97,200. Bord folded and Polk asked for a count and that's when the drama began. "Just such a massive raise," Polk said to Hellmuth. "Phil, what do you have over there?" Holding the second best straight possible, Polk indicated he was contemplating making a massive laydown and Hellmuth couldn't keep quiet. "Well, I could easily have ... " Hellmuth said. "What could you easily have?" Polk asked. "You just bet a lot into very little." "I could have a set," Hellmuth said. Polk immediately doubted Hellmuth would shove with a set. "I could have blockers, two tens," Hellmuth said. "Oh, now you're busting out 'blockers'? God, if I fold this and I'm wrong, oh my fucking lord," Polk said. "I think I'm dead a lot given this," Polk said while pointing to Hellmuth. "Or like, you just have ton of equity against me." Throughout all of the post-flop action, Steven, Bord, and Daniels were engaged in a side bet about each player's holdings and were openly discussing it as Polk considered his action. At this point Polk realized he could show his hand without penalty and turned over this hand. Hellmuth put his head down and went quiet and Polk came to a conclusion. "This is completely absurd. He has to get through him (Bord) and then he has to get through me. No, this is just a fold," Polk said while throwing his hand into the muck. Hellmuth refused to show his hand. Commentator Gabe Kaplan called Polk's fold the "best letdown ever on High Stakes Poker." The next episode of High Stakes Poker airs Wednesday, March 10 at 8 pm ET and will features much of the same cast along with the return of Rick Salomon.
  3. The “HU4Rollz” revival gained more even momentum over the past week when high-stakes tournament pro Fedor Holz and nosebleed cash game crusher Wiktor ‘limitless’ Malinowski agreed to battle each other in a live streamed, high-stakes heads-up challenge beginning on March 5. The pair have settled on a four-session challenge of $100/$200 Heads-up NLHE that will kick off on Friday, March 5 at 12:45 ET. Subsequent sessions will be played on March 8, March 10, and March 12. When the action kicks off they will be sitting 100bb deep and fans will get to watch live on GGPoker.TV on a 30-minute delay. The origins of the challenge dated back to August 2020 when Malinowski joined Joey Ingram on the Poker Life Podcast where he issued a challenge to play any player in the world heads up, at whatever stakes they want. In that same interview, Malinowski targeted Holz, calling him out specifically and even offering that he would play while drunk. Over six months after Malinowsky’s appearance, Holz responded by posting a short video on Twitter where he essentially took Malinowsky up on his offer. “I just want to get back to that offer you made on Joey’s podcast, to play me drunk whenever I want, whatever stakes I want. So yea…let’s fucking do it. I challenge you,” Holz said. Holz is well-known for his tournament prowess having accumulated more than $32 million in total tournament live earnings, including eight seven-figure scores. Just weeks after getting called out by Malinowski, Holz went on to win the 2020 World Series of Poker $25K Heads Up event for $1,077,250, his second career gold bracelet. Holz is also a former worldwide #1-ranked online player, having held the top spot on three different occasions dating back to 2014. Malinowski has a reputation as one of the most respected online nosebleed cash game pros in the game today. He started his journey by playing freerolls in 2014 and achieved success at every buy-in level along the way, eventually reaching the elite levels of the high-stakes. Not one to be short on confidence, Malinowski accepted this challenge with Holz even though he’s currently embroiled in another high-stakes challenge against Stefan ‘Stefan11222’ Burakov, which has seen him lose as much as $550,000 in a single week. The challenge looks to be another treat for fans of the format who have had a number of exciting challenges to follow in the past year. It was in April 2020 that Phil Galfond captured the attention of the poker world with his million-dollar comeback against ‘Venivivi1993’ in the first of the Galfond Challenges. Then, of course, the three-month-long High Stakes Feud between Doug Polk and Daniel Negreanu came to a conclusion in February, with Polk booking a win of more than $1.2 million. Now fans will have the opportunity to watch these two high-stakes heavyweights go at it exclusively on GGPoker in the four-session stretch. Billed by the online operator as “The Prince of Poker vs. The Notorious End Boss”, GGPoker is also promising expert commentary, exclusive interviews, and promotions surrounding the event.
  4. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. Buckle up folks ... fresh off of his $1.2 million win over Daniel Negreanu, Doug Polk joins co-hosts Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters to talk about how much he ACTUALLY won, what he thinks of his longtime rival now, and what's next for him and his career. Lance and Donnie also get into Chris Moneymaker's new sponsorship, the launch of PokerStars in Michigan, what GGPoker's licensing in Pennsylvania means for players there and what would the world of poker be if there wasn't a massive Twitter drama bomb? Lance and Donnie give their take on the Terrence Chan/Mike McDonald Twitter beef over PokerShares' offering on the Landon Tice vs. Bill Perkins heads-up challenge. Subscribe to The FIVES and never miss an episode - available everywhere you enjoy your favorite podcasts. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  5. After 91 days and 25,000 hands of high stakes heads-up No Limit Hold'em, the grudge match between Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk finished on Wednesday night with Polk adding $255,722 to his total earnings to end up a $1.2 million winner. As soon as the challenge ended, Polk spoke on his YouTube channel with Jamie Kerstetter and Nick Schulman about the work he put into to get ready to play after having walked away from the game a year ago. "I'm very happy that I spent so much time preparing and I felt it really ended up helping me tremendously and that I got to execute at such a high level over such a long period of time," Polk said after his win. "It's just so crazy that the last six months have been like this, considering where I was at in my life six months prior, which was totally done with poker, hadn't played a hand in over a year, wasn't planning on it." When Wednesday's session began, the pair were 1,718 hands from the pre-determined finish line of 25,000 hands and there were no guarantees that they would play enough to finish the challenge. The action went on for 5.5 hours with Negreanu up more than $180,000 at one point. Polk battled back to even before piling up big pot after big pot as the 25,000 hand mark approached. In his own post-game interview on GGPoker.tv, Negreanu gave Polk full credit for the win while still lamenting being on the wrong side of luck in some spots. "He deserved it. He played well. I thought he made really good adjustments. I thought he improved as the match went on as well. Thought he got better and better and sharper, in a lot of different lines," Negreanu said. "I was definitely unfortunate in the match. Here's the thing, I needed to actually run above expectation to win the match. That's what needed to happen and I don't think that happened, obviously." The animosity between Polk and Negreanu which ultimately led to the two battling it out on the felt seemed to have evaporated by the time the pair sat down for the final session. Polk, who made the More Rake is Better meme popular at Negreanu's expense, offered his opponent praise for how his game improved over the 25,000 hands. "Negreanu did, by far and away, just an honest assessment, he did a really impressive fucking job with a lot of the stuff that he did. I did not think he would play this well, at all," Polk said. "I was expecting way more of what things were like at the start, when he was doing some stuff that was pretty bad. By the end, he was doing so many sharp things; sizes, strategies, frequencies. In most of the spots it was hard to bluff him." The match, dubbed the High Stakes Feud, began on November 4 with 200 hands played out live on PokerGO from the PokerGO studio with Negreanu winning $116,500. Of the 35 sessions that followed, all played online, Polk was a winner in 19 of them. His biggest win came on November 28 when he banked $332,178.00 from 684 hands of play. That session was the fourth consecutive that Polk booked win, a streak which saw him earn $775,347.12. He was a six-figure winner in 15 of the 35 online sessions. Negreanu actually had the single biggest winning session on January 22 when he won $390,03 in 1,046 hands. That win came after Polk had surpassed $1 million in earnings for the first time. Negreanu was also the only player to win five sessions in row when he earned $321,177 from December 28 to January 11 and it came at the tail end of a streak that saw him as the net winner in seven of eight sessions. Despite obvious interest from poker fans for a rematch between the two, Polk has stated he has no interest in returning to the felt and his win over Negreanu is most likely his swan song. For his part, Negreanu has indicated he'd consider playing Polk again but is also seeking out other challengers to play.
  6. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. A busy week in the poker world gives Lance and Donnie plenty to discuss on this episode of The FIVES Poker Podcast. For the first time in nearly a year, the World Poker Tour crowned a new champion in a live venue with a nearly record-sized field turning up for the Lucky Hearts Poker Open at the Seminole Hard Rock. That wasn't the only headline that the World Poker Tour found itself in this week. The company was sold to an investment firm for more than $78 million and they also announced a new online series with a brand new partner. The Doug Polk vs. Daniel Negreanu Challenge is nearly 80% complete with Polk bringing a new strategy to the table that seems to have tilted his opponent. Polk maintains his position as the leader but a big win by Negreanu has given his fans and backers some hope. The guys also discuss the ending of the Phil Galfond vs. Chance Kornuth match in the Galfond Challenge, the Winamax Team Pro who qualifies for dumbest multi-accounter of all time, and give American online poker players some hope for a brighter future. Subscribe to The FIVES and never miss an episode - available everywhere you enjoy your favorite podcasts. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  7. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. Don't miss this week's all-new episode of The FIVES Poker Podcast as Lance and Donnie reunite once again to bring you all of the latest news from this week in the world of poker. This week, the guys are discussing the World Series of Poker's recently announced hybrid live/online 2020 WSOP Main Event. The 10K freezeout will start by being played out on both WSOP.com (in the U.S.) and GGPoker and eventually end up with a televised heads-up match for broadcast on ESPN to determine poker's new World Champion. Plus, speaking of heads-up action, the Doug Polk-Daniel Negreanu high-stakes challenge is full speed ahead and the guys break down all of the action taking place and what they've learned in the early going. Subscribe to The FIVES and never miss an episode - available everywhere you enjoy your favorite podcasts. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  8. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. Don’t miss this week’s all-new episode of The FIVES Poker Podcast as Lance and Donnie break down all of the news from a busy week in the world of poker. First up, the guys dive into the latest numbers coming out of the Doug Polk/Daniel Negreanu high-stakes heads-up challenge. Polk still holds a commanding lead while Negreanu has strung together a number of winning sessions - will the challenge end at 12,500 hands or extend to the full 25,000? The guys get to the bottom of it. The 2020 World Series of Poker Main Event is taking place this month with the first flights of the international leg taking place on GGPoker. In the United States, as players prepare to take their shot in the $10K buy-in event, an issue cropped up in one of the satellites on WSOP.com which had the poker community buzzing. Also, GGPoker’s signing of social media influencer Dan Bilzerian drew both praise and sharp criticism from all corners of the poker world. Is the controversial Bilzerian good for the game of poker? Subscribe to The FIVES and never miss an episode - available everywhere you enjoy your favorite podcasts. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  9. ‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the land poker players were playing, getting in one last hand. The bad-regs were grinding at the tables with care in hopes that some run good soon would be theirs. The locals were nestled, all snug in their seats, with visions of jackpots brought on by bad beats. Playing live on the strip, no PokerBros app. Is that Mike Postle with his phone in his lap? When out in the lobby, someone backed up a truck. I sprang from my seat to see what the f**k. There was Doug Polk celebrating a win, and Joey beside him, a shit-eating grin. The scene was electric, a buzz filled the air. Like Galfond’s big comeback, I’m glad I was there. When what to my bloodshot eyes should appear? A high-stakes affair, the big game was here! With cameras, lights, and high society stacks, a commentary team of Schulman and Platt. As if from a chimney, the great Mori came and he whistled and shouted and called them by name: “It’s Ivey, and Dwan! There’s Doyle and Gus Hansen! Daniel and Bellande! That’s Dan Bilzerian!” They all took a seat Stacking chips with a grin “Splash away! Splash away! Let’s go all-in!” They got ready to play, the rail became deep. I was pushed to the back, it was hard just to see. But then the crowd parted, Daniel stood on his seat, he said “We need one more!” and he pointed at me. Nervous but ready I knew this was my chance. A seat with the best, a trip to the dance. A Perkins-sized buy-in, it’s all on the line. Like Mike versus Teddy, it’s my time to shine. They shuffled and dealt, chips and cards flew. I was tight, I was snug, it was all I could do. The pros were relentless, betting and raising. The pots quickly grew, these guys were amazing. Finally the time to play a hand had arrived. With joy I looked down, I spied Pocket Fives I opened with a raise, but Ivey three-bet. Folded back to me, should I mine for a set? I looked in his eyes, not a read to be had. The poker world will see this, will math nerds be mad? I called and I gulped and awaited the flop. Ivey laughed, turned to Doyle, and said “We’re on for props!” An ace and a queen with a five in the door. Ivey didn’t slow down, he bet even more. Just what I wanted, I set the trap. “Let’s play for it all”, I pushed in my stack. Ivey snap-called, like I hoped he would do. He flipped over his cards, he flopped top two. We just had to hold, I showed down my set. The turn was a deuce, we’re not safe just yet. I used my ”one time”, I prayed to St. Nick The river was dealt, “It’s a brick, it’s a brick!” With the pot pushed my way, Ivey vanished from sight “Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”
  10. You can say you hate poker’s petty drama all you want, but numbers don’t lie. When something in the poker community sparks a heated debate, the clicks go up as people are eager to read all about the latest scandal and have their say. Even here in 2020, a year fraught with incredibly real drama that affected millions of people around the world, the game of poker managed to have a few stories of its own which scratched that drama itch for the poker community. From temper tantrums to TOC's, here are some of the stories that kept the conversation going in 2020. Daniel Does Drama When you are the biggest name in the game, you don’t need to court drama - drama comes to you. Then again, perhaps you do bring it on yourself when you threaten to knock out someone’s teeth and feed it back to them somewhere other than their mouth. This is the defining moment of Daniel Negreanu's year. Negreanu, like all of the poker community, was looking to make the best of a bad situation by streaming some online poker for the fans from his Las Vegas home during the 2020 WSOP Online series. When someone in the chat said something regrettable to the six-time bracelet winner, ‘DNegs’ went supernova on them. “Come f***ing step to me and say that and I will knock you the f**k out. How about that? I’m not f**king around. I will break your f**king teeth if you step to me and I will feed them to you anally. How about that?” Negreanu said (off the top of his head.) Perhaps for any other regular streamer or player, this would blow over pretty quickly. But as one of the most recognizable faces in the game of poker, members of the poker community were quick to take sides. As the clip made the rounds on social media, those who hold a grudge against the GGPoker ambassador were quick to attack, while his defenders were in support of him being himself and defending his family. In the end, Twitch banned Negreanu from the platform stating, “Acts of threats of violence will be taken seriously and are considered zero-tolerance violations.” The Twitch ban turned out to be temporary, but the ripple effects from Negreanu’s rant will have a longer-lasting effect on poker. In the aftermath of this particular rant (Negreanu’s had a few this year, like this one, or this), Negreanu’s biggest rival of the past 10 years, Doug Polk, peaked his head back into poker. Polk, who had recently entered poker retirement reemerged and used the rant to take a couple of shots at his old foe. It was just days later that Polk issued the high-stakes, heads-up challenge that, to the surprise of nearly everyone, Negreanu accepted. Still very much underway, the challenge has turned into one of the most entertaining and engaging grudge matches in recent poker history. Fans are getting nearly everything that could have hoped for including massive six-figure swings, a regular playing schedule, and candid conversations after the sessions with both Negreanu and Polk. Love him or hate him, Negreanu knows how to keep people talking about him. And when it comes to dealing and creating poker drama, perhaps no one in the game does it better. Postle Seeks A Payday The biggest story of 2019 continued to play out in the courts as the Mike Postle cheating scandal had its day in court. The lawsuit, which alleged that Postle cheated during the live-streamed cash games at Stones Gambling Hall was, essentially, dismissed by Judge William B. Shubb shuddering the prospects of the plaintiffs to find any real relief in the scandal that rocked 2019. Rather than proceed with an appeal, based on the initial judgment, plaintiffs’ lawyer Mac VerStandig negotiated a settlement with Stones Gambling Hall and tournament director Justin Kuraitis. Sixty-two of the plaintiffs allegedly received a one-time joint payment of $40,000, which, if true, broke down to roughly $645 per player. In addition, those who accepted the deal were also restricted from talking about the settlement. Read: Behind the Scenes of WIRED Magazine’s Mike Postle Scandal Deep Dive Soon after, an emboldened Kuraitis took an ugly victory lap on Twitter, calling out nearly everyone who had believed him to be a potential conspirator with Postle. While Postle himself was excluded from anything having to do with the settlement, he tried to turn the tables. In the wake of the case being dismissed, Postle filed a $330 million defamation lawsuit against nearly a dozen defendants including Veronica Brill, Daniel Negreanu, and Joey Ingram. As the year draws to a close, it looks like Postle’s lawsuit also nearing an end as it has been reported that his lawyers are seeking to be taken off the from the case after nearly all communication between their firm and Postle have ceased. Matusow Opens His Mouth Again When four-time gold bracelet winner Mike "The Mouth" Matusow entered Event #5 of the 2020 WSOP on WSOP.com he likely thought he was in for a long day of grinding. However, when he busted just two hands into the freezeout event, Matusow, who was streaming live on YouTube at the time, had a full-on on-air meltdown. “This motherf**ker, ‘wolverine17’…I’m going to f**k him right in his f**king ass man, right in his f**king ass. Mark that name down, ‘wolverine17’,” Matusow said. ”I’ve got this guy’s name written down. I’m going to find out who he is. I’ll see him in person, I’ll f**king knock him the f**k out. Think I won’t? Watch,” he continued.”I am going to find out who this motherf**ker is and I swear to you I’m going to throw him up against the f**king wall and tell him, ‘you f**king ever slow roll me again, I’m going to beat your f**king ass.'” Matusow then offered his fans in his chat some extra money if they could supply him the identity of ’wolverine17’. Someone in the chat supplied Matusow the player’s real name, Megan Milburn, who he promptly tweeted at and stating “do you enjoy acting like a fucking c*** by slowrolling people online where nobody can see you?” Milburn took it all in stride, and even though there was some pressure put on the World Series of Poker to issue some kind of penalty, they opted not to as they determined a YouTube live stream was not under their purview. Respect The TOCs After a lengthy investigation from PokerStars, the 2018 World Championship of Online Poker Main Event champion ‘wann2play’ was removed as the winner, and the $1.35 million first-place prize he won was redistributed to the rest of the player pool. Shortly after ‘wann2play’s victory suspicions arose about their play. PokerStars quickly froze the account to take a closer look and after a year and a half long investigation, it was announced in March that ‘wann2play’ violated their terms of service and was disqualified. “Our players deserve a safe place to play online poker, said Rebecca McAdam, Associate Director, Group Public Relations for PokerStars. “That’s why we invest millions of dollars every year and have a large Game Integrity team working round the clock.” Argentina’s ‘Eze88888’ was officially installed in the history books as the winner and had their earnings credited with the original first-place prize of $1.529 million. GGPoker also clawed back some money that was earned by breaking the rules this year when German cash game pro Fedor Kruse was outed by his roommates as using Real-Time Assistance software in some of the online operator's high-stakes cash games. This led to GGPoker banning 40 different accounts and confiscating more than $1.175 million in funds that were reimbursed to the affected players. “While there will always be deceitful individuals trying to cheat the game and steal from their fellow players, our Security Team continues to be on the cutting edge with regards to detection and protection and maintains a zero-tolerance policy to Real-Time Assistance.” He Took It Like A Champ When the World Series of Poker announced that the successor to Hossein Ensan as the WSOP World Champion would be crowned this December, many in the poker community were left asking - Um, but what about Stoyan Madanzhiev? Just three months earlier, the 29-year old Madanzhiev battled through a field of 5,802 entrants to capture the $3.9 million first-place prize of the 2020 WSOP Online Main Event. An event that turned into a Guinness World Record-setting tournament. Madanzhiev received a certificate and a special WSOP bracelet and, at least for a little bit, the perceived title of WSOP Main Event winner. And he was...kind of. He was the ONLINE Main Event winner and in the eyes of the WSOP itself, not the same banner-worthy achievement as the likes of Phil Hellmuth, Chris Moneymaker, or Jerry Yang. While many advocated for Madanzhiev to be recognized as the 2020 Main Event champion, the plan to crown a more official Main Event champion moved forward and Madanzhiev was left to be called A Main Event champion rather than THE Main Event Champion.
  11. FIVE THINGS is a column, written by PocketFives President and Editor in Chief, Lance Bradley that covers pressing topics and current events in the poker world today. It appears periodically at PocketFives.com. For the last 10 days, the poker world has been tuned in to Daniel Negreanu vs. Doug Polk grudge match. The pair have played a total 4,651 hands and Polk holds a $143,996.16 lead over Negreanu. With nearly 20% of the 25,000-hand challenge (or 40% if the combatant who is trailing at the midway point throws in the towel) now complete, poker fans now have a good idea of what exactly this thing is all about. Here are Five Things the poker world has learned through the opening salvo of the so-called High Stakes Feud. It's Closer Than Expected In the days leading up to the start of this battle, Polk made it quite clear that he was lookng to put a financial hurting on his opponent and only cared about "backing up the fucking truck". While Polk opened up a six-figure lead after Monday night's lengthy session, that's only 3.5 buy-ins - not quite yet the thrashing many of Polk's most ardent supporters were predicting. On the other side of that coin, Negreanu is keeping this heads-up for rolls match close and those who bet on him at 4-1 (or better) are probably feeling pretty good about their wager. If you want to put on a tinfoil hat and dive deep into a potential conspiracy theory that Sidney Powell would approve of, you might wonder if Polk really believes his edge is massive, why would he want to be up even $1 at the midway mark when Negreanu could simply walk away without losing another cent? Polk might be better served by learning as much as he can about Negreanu's tendencies over the first 12,500 hands before stepping on the gas pedal of his massive truck and taking home a mid-seven-figure score. It's a Viewer's Utopia Whether they're cheering for Negreanu, Polk, or just want to see blood, poker fans have had a plethora of options for how to follow the action as it happens. Rather than tying up the viewing experience with just a single option, Polk and Negreanu allowed the Twitch/YouTube content creators full reign to do as they please with the action. The winner has been the fans. Polk has been running a livestream on his YouTube channel with the likes of Jamie Kerstetter, Andrew Lichtenberger, Marty Mathis, and others all taking turns calling the action. Negreanu hasn't done anything on his own, but GGPoker has been running live coverage on GGPoker.tv with Jeff Platt, Niall Farrell, along with GGPoker GGSquad members Kevin Martin and Patrick Tardif, all jumping in at various points to provide analysis and insight. A few days into the challenge, YouTube legend Joey Ingram threw his hat into the ring and fired up a stream of his own. He's had Nick Schulman and rising star Landon Tice working alongside him. The SolveForWhy crew recently brought their own flavor to the stream game, with Matt Berkey and Christian Soto at the helm. Can We Pull Back the Curtain Just a Little? While the live stream options are aplenty, anybody hoping that Polk and Negreanu would give their fans a glimpse at what's going on beyond the scenes between sessions has been left wanting. Outside of a few post-session interviews with both Polk and Negreanu, the lack of content being produced by these two is somewhat surprising. Both Polk and Negreanu have a talent group of content creators around them and they have each had a hand in producing some of the best player-created content ever. The stakes being as high as they are - especially when you consider the side action - probably means neither guy wants to give anything away until the session is over. Still, a vlog or two from each camp during the challenge would add a great deal to what we've already pointed out is one of the most viewer-friendly experiences in poker history. Here's hoping once they've played the 25,000 hands that each camp can put out some videos that will take poker fans behind the scenes. A Cage Match with a Side of Civility Remember when Negreanu and Polk hated each other? The challenge kicked off with a live session on PokerGO and while Negreanu winning big to kick things off grabbed the headlines, the level of civility these two "mortal enemies" displayed towards each other was also a real talking point. That hasn't gone away with the shift to the online felt. Outside of a small needle here or there on social media, there's been no real hatred - or even dislike - shown towards each other, even as both enjoyed or endured a six-figure swing in the opening few weeks. Fans firmly entrenched on one player's side were prepped and ready with More Rake is Better memes and oh-so-tired Vanessa Selbst jokes, but for better worse, they've been left to follow the lead of Polk and Negreanu who seem to be much too focused on the actual gameplay to spend any time engaging in trash talk at this point. Bill Perkins Can't Help Himself Before the challenge began, we speculated which Karate Kid character Polk was representing in this challenge. While the civility mentioned above makes it difficult to cast Polk as either Daniel LaRusso or Johnny Lawrence just yet, at least one other casting decision has a front-runner. Bill Perkins, who has gone on record with his six-figure bet on Negreanu, is definitely in the lead to take on the role of Tommy. For those who don't remember Tommy, he's the guy that LaRusso easily dispatched in the early rounds before he makes a somewhat memorable appearance during the finals despite not actually being in the match.  On November 17, Perkins, who like Tommy is not actually in this match, took to Twitter to share details of a potential delay in the schedule after a dispute arose over what was and wasn't allowed in terms of stat-tracking. The supposed controversy was quickly resolved (apparently thanks to some mediation from Phil Galfond) and the match continued without any delay while Perkins continues to shout from the rail. The Polk-Negreanu Challenge continues with Session #11 on Wednesday, November 25 and Session #12 on Saturday, November 28.
  12. For years, Daniel Negreanu has been obsessed with the Rocky movie franchise and as the Doug Polk vs. Daniel Negreanu Challenge became official, the six-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner immediately painted himself in the same light as Rocky Balboa: the plucky underdog with nothing to lose taking on the champ. That iconography might work for Negreanu, but this challenge isn’t Rocky Balboa vs. Apollo Creed. Polk can’t be Creed. Creed was the reigning and defending heavyweight champ when his originally scheduled challenger, Mac Lee Green, had to pull out of a championship fight after breaking his hand. That fight was born out of necessity and convenience for Creed, not some long standing feud between two pugilists coming to a head in dramatic fashion. Rocky director John G. Arvidsen won an Academy Award in 1976 for his work on that film. Eight years later he directed another box office hit that, while it didn’t win him any more Oscars, might be a better cinematic fit and provide a stronger analogy for personifying the role of Polk in what we’re going to see play out over the next few months. The Karate Kid. For the seven of you who haven’t seen it: the film centers around two characters who develop a dislike for each which, through a series of smaller confrontations, turns into a deep-seated hatred. They decide to settle their differences one-on-one (kind of) at the All Valley Under 18 Karate Championship. Narrative-wise, one of them is a bully, angry at the world and looking for somebody to take out his aggression on, while the other is an innocent combatant, forced to stand up for himself and his ideals after growing tired of the other’s act. But which one is Polk? The answer isn’t as clear as it might seem. Thesis: Doug Polk is Johnny Lawrence Anybody who grew up in the 80s and saw The Karate Kid in theaters or rented the VHS tape from their local video store will tell you that Johnny Lawrence, the blonde-haired, blue-eyed, two-time defending All Valley Under 18 Karate champion, is nothing but a bully with a chip on his shoulder. Polk, once considered the best Heads Up No Limit Hold’em cash game player in the world, a three-time WSOP bracelet winner, and one of the best content creators in poker (some of which is centered around Negreanu), carries a similar chip. He’s told anybody and everybody that this is his arena, he’s not looking to make friends or build a legacy, he’s only looking to "back up the fucking truck" and show absolutely no mercy. Lawrence first encounters the story's hero, Daniel LaRusso, at the beach. Recently dumped by Ali Mills, Lawrence confronts his ex-girlfriend in an ill-fated attempt to win her back. Things get heated and after her ghetto blaster is destroyed by Lawrence in a fit of rage, LaRusso appears ready to intervene only to have Lawrence beat him up and leave him laying face down in the sand as Lawrence and his friends from the Cobra Kai karate dojo ride off on their awesome dirt bikes. Polk’s vendetta against Negreanu dates back to October 2016 when Negreanu gave an interview to Rikard Aberg where he claimed that higher rake leads to softer games. From that interview, the "More Rake is Better" meme was born and Polk continued to push it via his YouTube channel and social media. The taunting from Polk - and his team - reached a peak in June 2018 when Polk entered the Super High Roller Bowl and ended up seated next to Negreanu on the feature table. Polk removed his button-up shirt to reveal a black t-shirt with an image of "More Rake is Better" on a billboard. Polk busted the tournament in short order, but got the opportunity to humiliate Negreanu in front of a large audience. Two days later, the actual billboard appeared outside the Rio Hotel & Casino where the 2018 WSOP was underway. Following the initial confrontation, Lawrence and his Cobra Kai friends spend the next few weeks tormenting and attacking LaRusso which ultimately lead to LaRusso’s handyman/friend/sensei Mr. Miyagi walking into the Cobra Kai dojo to lay down a challenge on behalf of LaRusso. Lawrence’s sensei, John Kreese, is ready to have the throwdown then and there. Kreese: You get your boy on the mat or you and I will have a major problem. Miyagi: Too much advantage ... your dojo. Kreese: Name a place. Miyagi: Tournament. Kreese: You’ve got real nerve old man, real nerve, but I think we can accommodate you. After a quick negotiation, the pair agree to fight at the upcoming All Valley Under 18 Karate Championship. Like Lawrence, Polk seemingly never turned down an opportunity to troll Negreanu. This summer, Polk picked up his anti-Negreanu cause in earnest. Negreanu, playing WSOP bracelet events on WSOP.com, exhibited some less-than-perfect behavior and threatened a livestream viewer while offering him free dental work along with a rectal exam. That got his Twitch account suspended and gave Polk all the ammunition he needed to go back on the attack. After some back and forth, Polk challenged Negreanu to battle. The Cobra Kai Dojo philosophy is built around the motto, "Strike first. Strike hard. No mercy." And over the last four years, Polk has continued to strike at Negreanu and shown absolutely no mercy in his attacks. Thesis: Doug Polk is Daniel LaRusso The movie opens with Daniel LaRusso and his mom moving cross-country from Newark, New Jersey to Reseda, California to chase down an opportunity at a better life. Polk is originally from Pasadena, California and while the drive to Las Vegas, where Polk now resides, isn’t a long one, he did have a short stint in Wilmington, North Carolina while in college. That’s where he discovered a real love for poker and eventually dropped out to pursue the game full time. LaRusso arrives in Reseda knowing nobody and gets invited to a beach party by another kid in the apartment complex he just moved into. At that party he sees another kid - Lawrence - angrily confronting another partygoer and destroying her property. In an effort to keep the peace and hold the bully accountable, LaRusso steps up and intervenes to stop Lawrence from ruining the party for everybody. In 2016, in the wake of PokerStars’ decision to suddenly take away benefits from SuperNova Elite players, Negreanu, a Team PokerStars Pro at the time, appeared on a podcast hosted by Rikard Aberg to make the case that business decisions made by PokerStars which appear to be unfriendly towards players are actually good for them. This is where Polk first stepped up on behalf of the poker community and called Negreanu out in a video on his YouTube channel. LaRusso found another opportunity to antagonize Lawrence after he showed up at the school Halloween dance. That’s where he spots Lawrence and his Cobra Kai cronies dressed as skeletons and when he realizes Lawrence is in a toilet stall he decides to take a shot at embarrassing him in front of the entire student body. LaRusso hooks up a hose above the stall and turns the water on, drenching Lawrence in the process. LaRusso, dressed as a shower, flees knowing they’ll be looking for him. The Cobra Kai eventually catch up to LaRusso and the five of them kick the everloving crap out of LaRusso before Mr. Miyagi appears and saves the day. The kid from New Jersey was going for laughs, but ultimately ended up battered and bruised after learning an expensive lesson. The Super High Roller Bowl is one of the marquee events on the poker calendar. In 2018, Polk showed to the $300,000 buy-in event hoping for a chance to make another point in his ongoing battle against Negreanu. That moment came when the pair wound up seated next to each other on the feature table. Polk took off his button-up shirt to show the world the "More Rake is Better" shirt hoping to get under Negreanu’s skin and get a few laughs along the way. Negreanu ended up winning a huge pot off Polk that day and Polk was eliminated not long after. Negreanu finished second in the tournament for $3,000,000. Polk got some laughs in the moment, but after losing the $300,000 buy-in and paying whatever the billboard outside of the Rio cost him, it was really just a costly piece of his entire campaign. As the karate tournament progresses, LaRusso makes his way through a number of competitors, including members of Cobra Kai who had been part of the 5-on-1 assault on him. Serendipitously he ends up in the final against Lawrence with far more than a title on the line. Polk’s path to the battle with Negreanu included no other required battles, but to make sure he was ready, Polk spent the past six weeks taking on all comers on WSOP.com and America’s Cardroom to make sure he was free of any ring rust before sitting down with Negreanu. The Cobra Kai Narrative Both of those thesis are based on the original interpretation of the movie where LaRusso is the good guy and Lawrence is the bad guy. Starting in 2013, when How I Met Your Mother’s Barney Stinson first floated the idea, there has been plenty of discussion that maybe, just maybe Lawrence was in fact the hero of The Karate Kid. That narrative shift is a big reason why YouTube created the Cobra Kai show, which is now on Netflix, exploring where Lawrence and LaRusso wound up after the tournament. There is definitely a segment of poker fans who consider Polk to be the hero of the story thanks largely to his anti-hero, anti-establishment ideals that Lawrence carries with him in Cobra Kai. There’s also a group of fans who see Polk the same way that Cobra Kai paints a modern-day LaRusso: the successful and arrogant man who refuses to grow up.
  13. Throughout the years, iconic sports moments have often been memorialized with the equally classic commentary that went with it. The Miracle on Ice will always be paired with Al Michaels and his unforgettable call of "Do you believe in miracles? Yes!" Every Premier League fan around the world will always remember Martin Tyler yelling "Balotelli…Agurerooooooo!" when the Manchester City striker scored the winning goal to give his team their first EPL title ever in 2012. The list goes on and on. While poker commentary isn’t necessarily known for its incredible calls, it is often an integral part in creating a highly entertaining and engaging product for the viewing audience. Someone who knows plenty about this, is none other than Kane Kalas, the man chosen to do the commentary for the highly anticipated Doug Polk vs. Daniel Negreanu heads up match. Kalas’s love of sports was ingrained in him from a young age by his father, legendary baseball commentator and MLB Hall of Famer Harry Kalas. "Growing up listening to my father broadcast NFL games weekly during the regular season and following his commentary with NFL Films turned me into an NFL fanatic," Kalas told us about his childhood. While Kalas made a name for himself in the poker world through his stellar play, he has channeled his father many times when he has stepped into the commentary booth, quickly becoming one of the most popular and talented poker commentators. When it came time to pick out who the voice would be for this matchup of two poker titans, his wealth of experience made the choice an obvious one for Polk and Negreanu. "I have worked with PokerCentral/PokerGo for years. Each summer I broadcast a number of WSOP events. I have also broadcast for the WPT, Poker Night in America, the Triton Super High Roller Series, the Patrick Antonius Poker Challenge, the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open, Live at the Bike, and the Borgata Poker Open," Kalas listed off. Kalas not only has plenty of experience playing high stakes poker, something not all poker commentators have, but even more important to this project specifically is the fact that Kalas first came up in poker by playing mostly heads up cash games. "Heads up NL Hold'em is my strongest game; I have played well over 1 million hands of that format in my career. I have played heads up NL Hold'em against both Daniel and Doug online. In addition, considering the nature of the feud between Daniel and Doug and the polarity it has caused in the poker community, my amicable relationship with both players was an asset," said Kalas. Heads up battles have been popular in 2020 with the lack of live poker options due to Covid-19 restrictions throughout the world. Phil Galfond has been playing high stakes heads up matches in his popular Galfond Challenges, but for Kalas, this grudge match is different. He says the reason is simple: this feud has years in the making, and for both players, it’s personal. "The main thing that makes this match different is the drama and personal vendetta between these two top pros. Doug has been relentlessly trolling Daniel for years, both on his channel and in the flesh. Daniel, for his part, largely assumed the posture of the bigger man, generally avoiding direct public criticism of Polk, until recently that is." Kalas continued on that note, discussing how quickly Negreanu agreed to a challenge where, on paper, he would be a heavy underdog against Polk, who was widely considered one of the best heads up players in the world during his poker prime. "Daniel barely hesitated to accept the challenge. In a blog post, he spoke directly to Polk, 'Attack me endlessly, bully me, mock me, in the hopes of getting me to agree to a high stakes poker match. If that’s the case, well played. You have your wish.'" Kalas continued, "The intense feud between Daniel and Doug is at the center of the storyline of this match and I am well-positioned to recap the drama, trolls, tirades, and escalation of this feud into a high-stakes grudge match in an entertaining yet fair manner." The drama seemed to kick up to a new level recently on Twitter, when Negreanu and Polk went back and forth on whether charts should be allowed to be used while the two are playing. Polk argues that charts that indicate the preflop raising tendencies of his opponent should be allowed because they are standard with online play, while Negreanu argues that this match should be played straight up with no outside assistance during hands. Kalas weighed in a bit on this recent controversy, saying that he can see both sides of the argument. "Ultimately, it should be determined by the players. To Daniel's point, it does make the match a bit less interesting if both players are employing the exact same preflop strategy by following a chart. To Doug's point, there is no precedent to ban the use of preflop charts during play and it is within the rules of the platform, WSOP.com." While Kalas’s poker commentary resume speaks for itself, his selection doesn’t come without its own bit of controversy, as is largely inevitable on Twitter and other online spaces. There have been some whispers that Kalas might be biased towards Polk considering that he runs a Short Deck Poker course on Upswing Poker, a coaching website run by Polk himself. Kalas was quick to address those critics, saying that anyone who knows him knows that he won’t pull any punches towards either player, regardless of his business considerations. "Everyone who knows me knows I am a guy who speaks my mind openly and honestly. Any 'filter' I may have is based on my ethics, not based on my business dealings. As an ex-professional poker player and current investor and hedge fund manager, I am in a privileged position of not needing to worry about getting 'fired.'" While Kalas no longer plays professionally full time, he plans to use his vast experience to his advantage with this job. However, he was quick to point out that poker experience alone does not make for a great poker commentator, making sure to recognize some of the biggest names in poker commentary who don’t play at the same levels as Polk or Negreanu. "David Tuchman, Lon McEachern, Norman Chad--these are just a few examples of my colleagues who have not competed on the felt at the level of Negreanu or Polk but are all indisputably top-tier commentators." Kalas did also point out that there are a few high-level aspects of the heads-up battle that he feels specifically suited to commentate on. "In-depth range analysis, while interesting on occasion, is not the cornerstone of a successful broadcast. I will say, however, that having played at the game's highest level allows me to more easily empathize with and explain the drama at the table as it unfolds." While Kalas has largely switched from playing poker to focusing on hedge funding, he did say that he uses several aspects of his poker playing in his new career, and vice versa. "One thing that I took away from my poker career is the value of data and quantitative analysis. When I got into poker, the number of good professionals was pretty much split 50/50 between 'feel players' and 'data geeks' like me. Today, most of the feel players have gone broke and the data guys are the best players in the world. The same thing is happening in the world of finance," said Kalas. Kalas went on to discuss in more detail what he has been up to the past few years. "Since 2015, I have spent less time at the poker tables and more time in the securities and digital assets markets. This year I launched Crystal Oak Capital which manages Crystal Oak Partners, a stocks fund, and Crystal Oak Digital Assets, a digital assets fund. I'm really excited about the future of finance and the opportunities that lie ahead." The future in the financial world surely looks bright for Kalas, but for the upcoming week, he will be going back to the past. He will be drawing from his years of poker playing and commentating, and digging even further back to the days of listening to his father’s famous radio calls. For Kalas, he hopes that his voice will forever be associated with a poker battle that could ultimately go down as one of the most memorable moments in recent poker memory.
  14. Skill, determination, and a little bit of luck are what it’s going to take for either Doug Polk or Daniel Negreanu to come out ahead in the most hyped, bad-blood poker grudge match in recent memory. The two social media heavyweights are planning on playing up to 25,000 hands of high-stakes, heads-up online poker starting this week and both are looking to put a hurt on the opposition's bank account and poker industry clout. But unlike some of poker’s more recent heads-up contests, a victory for these each of these guys will be measured by more than a strict tally of dollars and cents. After years of trash talk and trolling plus pre-match positioning, how each of these players measures their success, and really books a “W”, is drastically different. Time To Back It Up For Polk, it won’t be good enough to simply beat Negreanu by a couple of bucks in order for his return to poker to feel like a win. After all of his online put-downs, including how he will be “backing up the truck” to collect Negreanu's paychecks, those on his side are looking for him to absolutely bury Negreanu on the felt by an astonishing amount. Polk built his entire poker career on the back of being a legendary Heads Up No Limit crusher. Playing under his screen name ‘WGCRider’, Polk was known to take on all challengers, including high-profile players like Viktor Blom and Daniel Cates, and in the end, he emerged the richer for it. His HUNL success was the bedrock helped him launch his popular YouTube channel and brought people to his successful poker training site, Upswing Poker. That’s the history that has made Polk the overwhelming favorite in this challenge and it’s a role he’s embraced. He’s produced Photoshops of him backing up an armored truck while making comments about wanting to clean out “a complete dolt” in Negreanu who wants to “ship me a million dollars.” While it seems like it’s all a show in an effort to push the action, for Polk to truly win this challenge he’s going to have to make Negreanu look like he’s a member of the Washington Generals. A guy playing a game he has zero chance of winning. He’s going to need to do enough damage to Negreanu’s seemingly infinite bankroll that the six-time WSOP bracelet winner considers quitting before they hit any milestone hands simply because he can’t handle the pain. In short, for Doug to really get the win, he has to make the kind of money that will allow him to leave poker, again, and this time leave for good. The Rocky Scenario Negreanu doesn’t bear nearly the same burden as Polk. And it’s not by mistake. From the get-go, Negreanu spent the better part of the pre-match back-and-forth telling anyone who would listen that despite all his accolades which includes six WSOP bracelets, climbing to the top of All-Time Money list, finishing runner-up in a Super High Roller Bowl, and becoming the biggest name in the game over more than two decades on the felt…he’s a massive underdog. But he's the type of guy who just won’t back down from a challenge. And it worked. The public narrative is that Polk received nearly everything he wanted. Polk dictated what they would play (HUNL) and where they would play it (online) and when PokerShares originally put a line on who would win, Polk was roughly a 6:1 favorite. This made it so Negreanu doesn’t even really need to win a dime in order to celebrate in the end. Read: Five Of The Wildest Prop Bets for the Polk vs. Negreanu Challenge In his own mind, Negreanu is Rocky. Not the squirrel but the boxer. He’s the scrappy underdog stepping into the HUNL ring and he’s taking on the celebrated champ Apollo Creed, represented by Polk. But the end of the original Rocky is sometimes misremembered (spoilers ahead) in that Rocky doesn’t actually win the fight. Sure, he goes the distance with the champ, taking his lumps and dishing out some damage, but when all is said and done he ends up losing by decision. But even though Rocky isn’t the champ, no one in the theater considered Rocky a loser in the end, right? That’s a similar scenario that could be what constitutes a “win” for Negreanu. If “Kid Poker” goes the distance with Polk and somehow manages to escape having lost a nominal amount, say a few buy-ins that can be easily accounted for by normal variance, then Negreanu can (and likely will) raise his own hand in victory. Of course, if Negreanu happens to win outright, even by a dollar, or pulls off an unexpected haymaker and puts Polk to sleep in the early going then his celebration will be bigger than a billboard right outside of the Rio. “Let’s Put On A Show” It’s not just Polk and Negreanu who can win in this challenge. The fans also have a path to victory. For the railbirds, it will be a win if the players find consistent times to play on a stream that provides quality production value. Accurate hand counts and an up-to-the-minute accounting of who is up and down on the session is crucial to keep fans engaged. Guesstimation of the scoreboard keeps fans distanced from the action. Having high-stakes pro Kane Kalas anchor the commentary is already a good start. Bringing in (and properly publicizing) other high-profile players who can keep things fresh and offer the rail different views of the match would be a big plus as well. Any additional behind-the-scenes cooperation including post-session interviews from Polk and Negreanu would take the challenge to the next level and really turn it into something fans can invest their time into. How can the fans lose? Easy. Durr Challenge. Enough said. However, getting to that finish line is likely to take some time. Both Negreanu and Polk are busy guys and if they start out by playing two-hour sessions, as has been reported, weeks may turn into months before this comes to a conclusion. So, for all who plan on setting aside time to follow the challenge, perhaps the biggest win will be remembering that sometimes the journey is the destination, and getting the opportunity to watch these two battle it out, in any form, may itself be a win unto itself.
  15. Hosted by Lance Bradley and Donnie Peters, The Fives Poker Podcast runs each week and covers the latest poker news, preview upcoming events, and debate the hottest topics in poker. Lance and Donnie remember the late Sam Grizzle to kick off this week's episode of The Fives. The 67-year-old poker legend passed away following a stroke in mid-October. The upcoming Doug Polk vs. Daniel Negreanu challenge is sure to take the poker world by storm and Lance and Donnie preview what the potential outcomes are and what - if anything - it settles between the two. While that challenge promises to hold the poker world's attention over the coming weeks and months, both guys discuss how the latest Galfond Challenge match featuring Phil Galfond and Chance Kornuth has yet to really garner the same type of following as the now legendary battle against 'Venvidi1993' did earlier this year. They also discuss the return of live poker to Atlantic City, the strong turnout at the Venetian in Las Vegas for the Venetian DeepStack Showdown, and the possibility of online poker foe Sheldon Adelson selling his US-facing operations and what that might mean for the future of regulated online gaming in the United States. Subscribe to The FIVES and never miss an episode - available everywhere you enjoy your favorite podcasts. Subscribe: Apple Podcasts * Google Podcasts * Stitcher
  16. Forget the schoolyard trash talk and cheat sheet squabbles for a hot minute, and let’s focus on the poker. Doug Polk and Daniel Negreanu will be going head to head in a knock-down drag-out war commencing on November 1, with millions on the line and at least one ego cruising for a bruising. As a former Heads-Up No Limit Hold’em specialist, Polk enters the $200/$400 ring as the clear favorite. But this battle isn’t Daniel vs Goliath. It’s Goliath vs Goliath 2.0. The fan favorite of the past 20 years against the fan favorite for a new generation. They truly hate each other and are out for blood. And like us, we’re sure you’ve got questions. Polk made his preparation public, but what has Negreanu been doing to ready himself for battle? Like Negreanu sunbathing in skimpy swim shorts, Polk has left nothing to the imagination when it comes to his preparation for the challenge. For the past month or so he’s been battling a bunch of players--including Bill Perkins and Landon Tice--at stakes ranging from $5/$10 to $50/$100, while also issuing one-off high-stakes challenges to Matt Berkey, Christian Soto, and Luke Schwartz. On Joey Ingram’s Poker Life Podcast back in August, Polk said: 'I’ve honestly been working around the clock trying to improve my game." He admitted to getting "rekt", but who wouldn’t after so long out of the game? (OK, so Fedor Holz probably wouldn’t. That guy can’t help but win. The entire high-stakes community put on their best Teddy KGB impersonation when Holz emerged from "retirement": “Kid’s got al-eee-gay-torr blood. Can’t get rid of him.") Polk has since reported some winning sessions, and it seems like his heads-up game is getting to where he wants it to be before the battle with Negreanu begins. But aside from posting a few casual, often comical strategy polls to his 486,000 Twitter followers, Negreanu has kept the world in the dark as to what he is doing to get himself in fighting shape. https://twitter.com/RealKidPoker/status/1309244477232406530 For a while there, the answer was probably nothing, and understandably so. As a GGPoker ambassador, Negreanu was in Mexico for a month to play the World Series of Poker Online events in a bid to win his sixth bracelet (he bet plenty of money on himself to do so too, but we’ll get to that in a minute). When he returned to his Las Vegas home, he probably needed some rest. I mean, who among us doesn’t like to relax and play round after round on our top-of-the-range golf simulators after a few busy weeks at the office? But the time to relax is over. As we edge closer to the November 1 kick off, Negreanu has started hinting at what he’s been up to behind the scenes. On October 6 he tweeted that he "most definitely needs to start practicing". The whole cheat sheet pre-flop chart debacle (which we won’t go into now, but you can read about here) will have no doubt inspired Kid Poker to revise ranges. https://twitter.com/RealKidPoker/status/1313600198086549504 And nobody should be surprised if they find out Negreanu has hired coaches. That might seem inconceivable to your casual Joe Bloggs poker fan (“Why would Negreanu need coaching? HE CAN CALL OUT YOUR EXACT HAND!”) but Negreanu has always been humble about his own abilities and openly sought coaching when he felt he was falling behind in the Super High Rollers. It paid off big time, too. Keeping up with the Jason Koons, Stephen Chidwicks, and Michael Addamos of the world might not be a priority for Negreanu in 2020, but he enjoyed a long stretch where he was right in the thick of it, finishing second in the $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl for $3 million (May 2018), and second again in the WSOP $100K High Roller for $1.7 million (July 2019). He even released a MasterClass based on everything he’d learned (with some sandwich-based tells thrown in for extra bite). One thing we know for sure? Negreanu is rolled for the road to rail heaven. He recently tweeted that he will be loading up his WSOP.com account with $1 million (25 buy-ins) “to start”. There’s obviously a whole lot more in Negreanu’s bankroll should he need it. A million bucks could seem a paltry amount when all is said and done. https://twitter.com/RealKidPoker/status/1313961969171324929 Does Negreanu have anything to lose (aside from money)? Indulge us for 20 seconds while we tell you what you already know about Negreanu. He’s a legend and first-ballot hall of famer. He’s played and won at the highest stakes across multiple decades (shhh, we won’t mention his record on High Stakes Poker). He’s third on the all-time money list with $42 million in career earnings. He’s one of the best ambassadors the game has ever had. And he’s always, ALWAYS your friend’s favorite poker player. You shouldn’t put anything past him when it comes to playing poker. But in this contest, he’s a clear underdog. He’s admitted that. After all, he has agreed to play arguably one of the best heads-up No Limit Hold’em specialists of all time at heads-up No Limit Hold’em. For all his humor and on-camera charisma, it’s worth remembering just how good at poker Polk truly is, or at least was in his prime. He came up in the pre-solver era, when players had to forge ahead and build their own strategies based on hand histories and experience rather than memorizing what play a computer says is perfect and unexploitable. That’s exactly what Negreanu did in tournaments and cash games back in the day alongside his crew of Phil Ivey, John Juanda, and Allan Cunningham. Whatever happens in the challenge, Negreanu’s reputation in poker will not be damaged. The man’s not perfect. He’s made mistakes. But his hall pass will forever be laminated. And if all he stands to lose is a few million bucks, can he really lose? Negreanu is used to wagering large amounts on himself. He locks in hefty WSOP bracelet bets at $100,000 or more a pop every single year against countless opponents and never seems to lose face (he might lose close to seven figures at times, but his face remains intact). Perhaps all of this puts even more pressure on Polk. He’s the favorite; the expert; the man who’s only here to "back up the truck", take Negreanu’s cash and drive off into the sunset. https://twitter.com/DougPolkVids/status/1316092457478615040 So, what if Polk loses? He’ll be just fine financially. Polk is a super-smart guy - you simply have to be to rise to the top of poker and have as much success as he’s had - and from cryptocurrency to YouTube to UpSwing Poker, he’s done very well for himself. You may wonder how he’ll be remembered in the poker world if he loses this heads-up challenge though. He’ll always be one of poker’s best content creators, but his legacy on the tables isn’t as cemented as Negreanu’s. Polk has won millions in tournaments and cash games, but it’s undeniable his poker identity is built on the foundation of his elite skills in heads-up play (an identity Polk probably couldn’t care less about). Look, both of these guys will be fine, whatever happens. It’s just that, if Negreanu loses, nothing changes. That’s what most people think will happen. There will be no surprises. But if Polk loses, it’s going to be a long, cold drive home in that big empty truck. What happens if we see a bloodbath on Opening Day? The poker world is very interested to see if either of these guys has a breaking point. After Day 1 of the Galfond Challenge, Phil Galfond was down €72,527 against 'VeniVidi1993', and they were playing €100/€200 PLO, a much more volatile game. So, let’s say, hypothetically, that Negreanu gets stuck $160,000 (four buy-ins) after the Day 1 sessions. We know his account is loaded with another $840,000, so he’ll be back to battle the next day. But how he sleeps that night will depend on how well he thinks he played. If variance punched him in the face he’ll be out like a light. He’s used to bad luck. But if he feels he was simply outmatched, it could be the beginning of a nightmare. Then what happens if he’s down a cool milly after, say, Day 4? That’s an enormous mountain to climb, both mentally and financially, even for a player of Negreanu’s calibre and bankroll. We saw Galfond complete a monumental comeback from a €900,000 deficit against 'VeniVidi1993', but that was only after some time off during which he considered quitting. After his break Galfond decided he wanted to continue, not only because he felt he could close the gap and even win (which he did, incredibly), but because it was him who initiated the challenge in the first place. In this case, Negreanu accepted the challenge. You can’t help but wonder what Negreanu’s threshold for pain is. It’s probably safe to say he’s one of the richest pure poker players around, and it wouldn’t be absurd to assume he’ll have 100 percent of himself. So, will he continue to play Polk if he’s, say, $1.4 million in the hole? $1.7 million? $2 million?!! That would be enough to make even the coolest individual feel the heat. And the scary thing? The challenge might still be far from over. https://twitter.com/DougPolkVids/status/1316096706711183360 On the flip side, what if Negreanu rips Polk a new one on opening day? Poker media will flock to their keyboards, bettors will rush to Mike McDonald’s PokerShares to examine the changes in odds, and Twitter trolls who haven’t emerged from their caves since PostleGate will run rampant. It would get more people paying attention, that’s for sure. Polk obviously has a lot of his own money, but may have sold action for this challenge. That safety net might help keep the wolf from his door if he finds himself buried early on. Still, it will be interesting to see if there’s a number at which he simply wouldn’t be able to continue. And if he does quit, whether we’ll ever see him play poker again. https://twitter.com/DougPolkVids/status/1316089776781488128
  17. In the post-summer online poker doldrums, the upcoming high-stakes, heads-up challenge between Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk is giving poker fans something to look forward to at the end of the year. Slated to kick off on November 1, one of poker’s most high-profile feuds will finally battle it out on the felt, giving fans of both personalities something to get invested in as the action unfolds. Online poker betting site PokerShares knows that the interest in the match is extremely high and so they are giving fans a chance to get in on the action themselves. Of course, the Mike ‘Timex’ McDonald led book allows players to bet on who will win the challenge outright (Polk is the current favorite at roughly 4.5-1) but they have also decided to have some extra fun by offering more than 15 prop bets for fans who want to have a little extra rooting interest. So, here are some of the more interesting wagers onlookers can make while watching Polk and Negreanu play HU4Rollz. How Big Will The Biggest Pot In Session 1 Be? For many fans, this is the biggest reason to tune in. Just like “Rail Heaven” days on Full Tilt Poker when the best nosebleed players in the world routinely won and lost six-figure sums, the chat will be packed with those hoping to see poker players put it all on the line in sick spots. This challenge has the potential to have some of those swings. At $200/$400, 100 big blinds deep with stacks being topped off, it only takes a cooler or two before there could be a whole lotta of money on the table. PokerShares is setting the over/under on the biggest pot at $100,000 and with the first session assumed to be at least two hours long with two tables running the potential for fireworks is there from hand number one. Will One Player Rage-Quit Early Session 1? Rage-Quitting is real. It’s defined as "angrily abandoning an activity that has become frustrating", and in recent months and weeks, tempers from both Polk and Negreanu have flared up. It wasn’t that long ago that Negreanu was temporarily banned from Twitch after having a few choice words for a viewer who insulted his family. This took place only a few sessions after disconnect problems on WSOP.com, the same platform this challenge is being held on, saw him nearly toss his laptop across the room on stream. Polk on the other hand keeps it more controlled in his streams and videos. That’s not to say he can’t be riled up. When the entire challenge was threatened, he lashed out a few times on Twitter not only at Negreanu but also taking the time to reply to random Dan-fans about how he’s planning on “backing up the truck”. Although unlikely, those who think emotions will get the better of one of these two can get 4.8-1 on their money. Will Doug Polk Return To Being A Pro Poker Player? The odds are not in favor of Polk, win or lose, returning to the grind but there are some interesting things to consider here. Polk has stated that he only retired from poker once and the only reason he’s back is to take on Negreanu. He posted a “goodbye poker” video on his channel and for those who followed his YouTube journey, it was clear his love of the game had dried up some time ago. But...he is back. Remember, he challenged Negreanu, not the other way around. He was out of poker and on to bigger things like trying to recall the Mayor of Las Vegas. But Polk chose to return to the spotlight, no one called him out. Now he’s back in the lab, not only working on his game in theory but getting cash game sessions in against some tough opponents in preparation. Finally, while he claims that he’ll be off once he's done taking out "the ******* trash", he’s also indicated on Twitter that he might be open to playing other opponents. It might be a tough judgment call on whether Polk is ever a pro again (for instance what if he’s playing challenges but also returns to creating content where he makes a good deal of money), but if you want to take a shot on him the line is 7.6-1. The flip side of this is Will Daniel Cease To Be A Pro Player Because of This Challenge? Good luck with that one. Will There Be A Slowroll in Session 1? Both players have a firm understanding of the etiquette behind slow rolls and the deep disrespect that sometimes comes with them. That said, these guys clearly do not like each other, and in the layers-deep mind games that play out in heads up, would either of these guys pull a slow one? This bet comes with an important caveat that needs to be seen before putting down a few dollars. The person behind the website, Mike McDonald, is “the decider” in this case. While being a longtime trusted member of the community, and apparently a 90% free throw shooter, it might be a little problematic if the guy who knows where the bulk of the money sits is also responsible for determining the outcome. This is not a questioning of McDonald’s honor or intent, just a nod to how someone might feel if they place and bet and it’s ruled against what they think is an obvious slowroll. Same odds on both sides here. Where Will Doug Polk's Teeth Be At The End Of This Match? You read that right. PokerShares is confident that Polk will be keeping all his teeth right where they are. But if you think Negreanu might make Polk the same offer that got him banned on Twitch, you can take a flyer on this wild prop that jokes about what might be done to Polk's teeth and where they might be given back to him. These prop bets are made for fun with a majority of them having a per-player max limit less than the buy-in of a Sunday Major. This ensures that neither the player nor the book, can be hurt too bad. At least not nearly as bad as the pain Negreanu or Polk may feel when the challenge gets underway next month.
  18. 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.
  19. In what has been one of the most interesting battles on the high-stakes tables at Full Tilt Poker, 2014 World Series of Poker bracelet winner Doug WCGRiderPolk (pictured) has been squaring off against Denoking, with both players pulling out sizeable victories. Special thanks to HighStakesDB for the data used in this article. Last week, Polk took the action to Denoking on the $300/$600 No Limit Hold'em tables at Full Tilt and, after a long session, walked off with a $736,000 win. Thus, when Denoking returned to the felt on Monday night, Polk was poised to add some more of Denoking's ducats to his virtual wallet. As the session played out, however, it was Denoking who had the last laugh. Deciding on a shorter session than their previous matchup, Denoking came out of the gate rapidly. Inside an hour of play, Denoking was able to ratchet up a $300,000 edge. In one hand, after Polk three bet pre-flop, Denoking decided to just call and see a monochrome Qc-7c-10c flop. Polk check-called a bet from Denoking and, with both players having more than $100,000 on the table, saw a 9h on the turn. Polk once again check-called a bet and, on the 6c river, pushed his chips all in for the nearly $200,000 pot. Denoking made the call and, after Polk showed a Qh-10h for a flopped two pair, Denoking showed Ac-Qs for the rivered four-flush to take down the $279,000 pot, the biggest of the match. Polk didn't back off, instead reloading his stake and going back for more. Polk's big strike of the day came after four-betting Denoking off the button to see an innocuous 2-5-8 flop. Denoking fired out on that flop and Polk three-bet, which Denoking simply called. The turn was an ace and Denoking slowed down with a check. Polk fired off $22,000 into the $160,000 pot and Denoking called to see an eight on the river. Both players pulled back with checks, at which point Polk showed pocket queens to win on the very dangerous board. Now it was Denoking's turn to make a bit of a comeback, as he won several smaller hands before taking down the last six-figure pot of the matchup. As Denoking's roll continued, Polk took a pause from the action to gather his thoughts. As he waited, Denoking reminded Polk that it was a "short session" and, without a reply, stood up from the table and booked a $308,000 win. Although losing on Monday to his rival was a bit of a hit, Polk seems to have rebounded nicely. During action Tuesday on Full Tilt Poker, Polk soothed his wounds by booking a win of his own, taking down nearly $137,000. Since the start of 2014, Polk has played 95 sessions according to HighStakesDB and almost 27,000 hands. As of Wednesday, Polk has racked up $971,711 in winnings, good enough for fifth place. For his part, Denoking has had a tough week. Although he was able to start the week with a small win, the battles with Polk have resulted in his bankroll taking a bit of a hit. After the clash with WCGRider, Denoking's overall loss for the past week sits at roughly $436,000. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  20. In August, Daniel Negreanu took to Twitter to offer his commentary on the play during the 2014 World Series of Poker and, in particular, the "online" players he faced. Negreanu was less than complimentary of the attacking style employed by many online players and fell back on his success in live cash games to demonstrate his knowledge. This led to some in the Twitterverse deriding him, stating he couldn't even beat a $5/$10 cash game online. Not one to back down from a challenge, Negreanu issued a challenge. In response to a person who questioned whether he could beat the $25/$50 six-handed PokerStarscash games, Negreanu responded, "It would take two weeks of work and I'd be a winner." He added, "I couldn't be any more serious. Two weeks, five hours playing, four hours studying numbers daily… (I) would bet a million (that I would be a winner)." Naturally, this boisterous proposition by Negreanu raised the ire of some of the regular online cash game pros. One of those was 2014 WSOP bracelet winner Doug WCGRiderPolk (pictured above), who responded to Negreanu's claims in an interview with CardPlayer. Polk said once Negreanu was called out, "Kid Poker" introduced several caveats to what he stated on Twitter. "This whole thing started with Negreanu posting that with two weeks of study, he could beat $25-$50," Polk answered in the interview with CardPlayer's Julio Rodriguez. "So, I took that to mean that if given two weeks of study, he could beat $25-$50. Apparently, what Negreanu meant was that he'd be given two weeks of study and then get a whole year to beat $25-$50, along with another year of play if needed with some consequences or something." "The question is, am I willing to bet against Negreanu beating $25-$50 over the course of two years while cherry-picking his spots and getting coaching?" Polk asked. "No, of course not. But that's not what he originally said. The terms that I think are reasonable for the bet, he would never agree to." Polk moved on to say that he and others in the online cash game world were "insulted" by Negreanu's insinuations that he could beat their game so easily. "I think Negreanu is a fantastic live tournament player. He has great results and is a great ambassador for the game of poker, but he is not a good high-stakes online cash game player. He's just not. There are guys who spent a lot of time and energy making their way to that level and winning and he's basically dismissing their effort by saying he could just jump in and beat them. Most of the older, more recognizable live pros just don't have the skill set to win online." Polk seems to be one of those who has made the online-to-live jump quite successfully. Although he dismisses reports of his online performance, his last eight months of live action have been impressive. In addition to winning a WSOP bracelet, Polk finished fourth in the Aussie Millions $100,000 Challenge in February for a big six-figure score and, in July, took down the Bellagio $100,000 Super High Roller Event for $1.6 million. In his live tournament career of only three years, Polk has racked up over $3.6 million in earnings, according to the Hendon Mob. Although it makes for excellent fodder for poker gossip, the battle between Negreanu and Polk would be fascinating to see come to fruition. Do you think that "Kid Poker"' may have bitten off more than he could chew? Or could he actually, with two weeks of training, become one of those top online cash game pros? Leave a comment here and let us know! Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  21. In a series of Tweets posted last week, it was revealed that Doug Polk (pictured), who is known in the high-stakes online poker world as WCGRider, had his Bank of America accounts frozen. The bank's actions came in advance of Polk wanting to head to Canada for the ongoing WCOOP on PokerStars. --- PocketFives' news coverage is brought to you by Betsafe, one of the leading suppliers of online gaming products worldwide and a major sponsor of Gumball 3000. Sign up now for great bonuses, €3,000,000 guaranteed monthly, and plenty of live events! --- According to HighStakesDB, "When Polk tried to change his more anonymous 'WCGRider' screen name to just 'Doug Polk', a security alarm of some kind in the Bank of America system must have been raised." Polk promptly took to Twitter to warn other poker players who may bank with BOA, saying: Members of the industry responded to Polk's comments by saying they've had similar experiences in the US and UK, with Polk remarking at one point, "Yeah, I'm tired of getting treated like a criminal." When asked why BOA shut his accounts down, Polk simply told the community, "They told me they do not reveal that information." The issue involving poker players and well-known banks doesn't seem to be isolated to BOA, either. For example, Jason JCarver Somerville (pictured) described his experience with Chase, saying, "Chase did basically the same thing to me a few years ago that BOA is doing to you. I'd be a little cautious w/ them too." WCGRider is 74th on the list of biggest winners tracked by HighStakesDB, which makes the news more high-profile. He is $1.23 million in the black in high-stakes games that the tracking site has logged since late 2009. According to the Hendon Mob, Polk has $3.6 million in career live tournament winnings, including a victory earlier this year in a $100,000 No Limit Hold'em Super High Roller event at the Bellagio in Las Vegas for $1.6 million. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  22. Starting on Friday at the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, four high-stakes poker pros will square off against an AI bot. The competition lasts for two weeks and will see Doug "WCGRider" Polk (pictured), Dong Kim, Bjorn Li, and Jason Les each play 20,000 hands heads-up against a bot developed by Carnegie Mellon University. The game is No Limit Texas Hold'em. "Poker is now a benchmark for artificial intelligence research, just as chess once was," said Tuomas Sandholm, a Professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon, in a press release. "It's a game of exceeding complexity that requires a machine to make decisions based on incomplete and often misleading information thanks to bluffing, slow play, and other decoys. And to win, the machine has to out-smart its human opponents. Computing the world's strongest strategies for this game was a major achievement, with the algorithms having future applications in business, military, cybersecurity, and medical arenas." Each of the four pros will compete for a purse of $100,000, hoping to wrestle the six-figure sum away from the computer program, which is called Claudico. Polk, whom we've written about several times here on PocketFives, commented, "I think there will be less hand reading, so to speak, and fewer mind games. In some ways, I think it will be nice, as I can focus on playing a purer game and not have to worry about if he thinks that I think, etc." Play will proceed in two 750-hand sessions per day for 13 days. According to the press release, AI bots have had success in Limit Hold'em, but it remains to be seen whether they can master No Limit Hold'em, a game that's considerably more complex. As the release put it, "Two-player No Limit Hold'em has 10161 (1 followed by 161 zeroes) situations, or information sets, that a player may face, vastly more than all of the atoms in the universe. By contrast, the easier game of Limit Hold'em, in which bets and raises are limited to a predetermined amount, has only 1013 (1 followed by 13 zeroes) information sets." Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  23. With the event headed into the homestretch, four poker pros have built up an edge over a specially-created poker playing bot in a first-of-its-kind demonstration. On April 24, four players – World Series of Poker bracelet winner and online guru Doug WCGRiderPolk (pictured), Dong Kim, Jason Les, and Bjorn Li – set out in the "Brains vs. Artificial Intelligence" competition being held live at the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh. Their opponent was the latest creation of the Carnegie Mellon University School of Computer Science, a poker playing program known as Claudico. The challenge for the two sides was to play 80,000 hands of No Limit Hold'em on laptops linked together and, in the end, whomever had won the most money would be determined the victor. The four humans are playing for a $100,000 bonus. The competition is unique in that this is the first time a computer program built for poker was taking a stab at No Limit Hold'em. Other programs and competitions from the past, including the University of Alberta's Polaris, were playing Limit Hold'em, a far more statistical game than the No Limit version. Even the program that supposedly has "solved" poker – Alberta's Cepheus– has only solved the Heads-Up Limit version of the game. Over the past 12 days, the four men have played 1,500 hands per day against Claudico, with two of them playing on the floor of the Rivers Casino and the other two in an "isolation room" taking part in their own heads-up matches. The players are all using the same cards against Claudico and, as the experiment draws to a close, the players are the ones cleaning up. Heading into the final few days of play, the humans have built up a sizeable edge over the Carnegie Mellon team. Overall, the "Brains" have built up a $673,941 lead over Claudico, which, according to Dr. Tuomas Sandholm (pictured) of Carnegie Mellon, would be a statistical defeat for his artificial intelligence program. Li has been the star of the "Brains" team, racking up $466,473 of the total win for the squad. Polk ($184,542) and Kim ($129,273) are running neck-and-neck to see who can take the second largest total, while Les (-$106,347) is the only one letting the human race down. What is the purpose of building Claudico, Polaris, or Cepheus, you ask? Artificial intelligence programs have usage far beyond simple games such as poker and chess. The program that defeated chess grandmaster Garry Kasparovin 1997, known as Deep Blue, eventually morphed into the Watson program that crushed former Jeopardy champions in 2011. By being able to compute a massive amount of information from differing sources, such artificial intelligence programs can improve the lives of humans through the fields of medicine, finance, cybersecurity, and other areas. In essence, the decision-making skills the poker-playing programs use are vital in many areas of daily life. With only a couple of days of play remaining, it seems that the human race will emerge as victorious in this particular battle. On May 8, a special closing ceremony will be held where the final results will be announced. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  24. Wow. If you're looking for a World Series of Poker tournament packed with talent, check out the $10,000 No Limit Hold'em Six-Max event, which is down to its final two tables. Nosebleed-stakes cash game player Doug WCGRiderPolk is atop the field with a stack of 1.4 million, one of two players who bagged seven-figures. --- Tournament Poker Edgeis the only poker training site dedicated exclusively to MTTs and features over 1,000 training videos, blogs, articles, podcasts and a dedicated strategy forum for members. Check Tournament Poker Edge out on Twitter. --- There are several brand name PocketFivers left. In fact, two former #1 playerscan be found in third and fourth: Paul paulgees81Volpe (pictured) and Fedor CrownUpGuy Holz, who have 896,000 and 841,000, respectively. Volpe has $5.1 million in career online tournament winnings and was last ranked #1 on PocketFives in 2011. Volpe won a bracelet last yearin a $10,000 NL 2-7 Draw Lowball event and was the runner-up to Shaun Deebin a $10K PLHE event this year. Holz, who has deactivated his PocketFives profile, was ranked #1 on PocketFives in March. Sam Pudge714Greenwood, who won a braceletlast week in a $1,000 No Limit Hold'em event, is in seventh place with 455,000. Greenwood has had success in daily fantasy sports as well, winning $100,000in a tournament on the daily fantasy sports site DraftKings. Chris SLOPPYKLOD Klodnicki (pictured) is in eighth. He has cashed for $2.5 million in online MTTs and will record his first in the money finish of the 2015 WSOP. Two behind Klodnicki on the leaderboard is Olivier livb112Busquet, who made waves over the weekend after calling out Phil Hellmuth for thanking his sponsorsduring his bracelet acceptance speech. Then, an image of a smiling Busquet rocking Full Tilt gear surfaced, which put an end to much of the debate. Finally, Mark AceSpadesRadoja is the short stack with 143,000 in chips. He's a two-time bracelet winner with heads-upand shootout titles. Here's how the leaderboard looks with 12 remaining. When play stopped, the price of poker was 5,000-10,000-1,000: 1. Doug Polk - 1,443,000 2. Kenneth Fishman - 1,200,000 3. Paul paulgees81Volpe - 896,000 4. Fedor CrownUpGuyHolz - 841,000 5. Kevin Song - 661,000 6. Byron Kaverman - 580,000 7. Sam Pudge714Greenwood - 455,000 8. Chris SLOPPYKLODKlodnicki - 434,000 9. Fernando Brito - 419,000 10. Olivier livb112Busquet - 403,000 11. Thomas Muehloecker - 254,000 12. Mark AceSpadesRadoja - 143,000 The tournament restarts at 2:00pm PT on Friday. Stay tuned to PocketFives for the latest WSOP coverage, brought to you by Tournament Poker Edge. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
  25. After two weeks and 80,000 total hands, four of the world's top online heads-up cash game players emerged victorious against an artificial intelligence program specifically designed to beat humans at No Limit Hold'em. The idea of computer programs built to "beat" poker is nothing new – the University of Alberta's Polarishas been tested against people and its latest version, Cepheus, is said to have "solved" the game – but those programs played Fixed Limit. This was No Limit Hold'em, a much more complex, nuanced game. The four men - Doug "WCGRider" Polk (pictured above), Dong Kim, Jason Les, and Bjorn Li – played 1,500 hands per day against the Claudico program, developed by a team at Carnegie Mellon University led by Dr. Tuomas Sandholm. To minimize variance that can be produced by one player getting lucky and receiving better hands than the other, two players were dealt one set of hands against Claudico, while Claudico received those same hands against the other two human players. In the end, the human players came out $732,713 in play money chips ahead. The breakdown of the individual results is as follows: Bjorn Li: +$529,033 Doug Polk: +$213,671 Doug Kim: +$70,491 Jason Les: -$80,482 While the nearly three-quarters of a million dollars victory seems overwhelming, Sandholm said that by virtue of the $170 million bet over the course of the 80,000 hands, the result was actually a statistical tie. "We knew Claudico was the strongest computer poker program in the world, but we had no idea before this competition how it would fare against four top 10 poker players," he said in a press release. "It would have been no shame for Claudico to lose to a set of such talented pros, so even pulling off a statistical tie with them is a tremendous achievement." Les was impressed by the artificial intelligence. He had seen an earlier version of Claudico called Tartanian7last July, but said this one is better: "The advances made in Claudico over Tartanian7 in just eight months were huge." Li was proud that the humans are still #1 despite Sandholm's claim of a tie, saying, "We know theoretically that artificial intelligence is going to overtake us one day, but at the end of the day, the most important thing is that the humans remain on top for now." Interestingly, Sandholm(pictured) said creating a computer program to beat humans in No Limit Hold'em is not really the goal of the project, but rather just a step in a larger overall process. "Beating humans isn't really our goal; it's just a milestone along the way," he said. "What we want to do is create an artificial intelligence that can help humans negotiate or make decisions in situations where they can't know all of the facts." As the Carnegie Mellon press release stated, "The same sort of algorithms could also be used to create strategies for applications involving cybersecurity, business transactions, and medicine. For instance, an AI similar to Claudico might help doctors develop sequential treatment plans for a patient, or design drugs that are less prone to resistance. Or, such an AI might help people negotiate their best deal when purchasing a house or a car." Polk, like Les, thought Claudico was a solid poker player, but still has a ways to go before it is a serious challenger to the human throne. One oddity he noted was that sometimes Claudico's bet-sizing was way out of whack. Severe underbets and overbets were not uncommon: "Betting $19,000 to win a $700 pot just isn't something that a person would do." Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook.
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