The Doug Polk and Daniel Negreanu heads-up match finally began on Wednesday, as the pair sat down in person from the PokerGo studios to play the first hands of the challenge.
Before the match, they agreed to play 200 hands live from the studio, which was complete with hole cards viewable to viewers. Many agreed that some of the impassioned trash talk of the last few weeks and months largely disappeared. What poker fans got was a most cordial match between the two that also led to some compelling conversation while the pair battled it out.
Same. I know a lot of people wanted some IRL drama but the reality is we are both there to play. Looking forward to Friday. https://t.co/wQKbkw2BCi
— Doug "Truck Driver" Polk (@DougPolkVids) November 5, 2020
Of course, it was the poker that was front and center during the broadcast as the pair played for over 3 hours. Seen as some as the best live player of the two and one that is more comfortable playing in a high-profile live setting, Negreanu “backed up the truck” with a $117,000 win after exactly 200 hands. However, even with the big day for Negreanu, observers still don’t believe he has much of a chance in the long-run. PokerShares currently has odds of around -667 of Negreanu being aheads at the end, the equilvalent of a 87% chance of winning.
PokerGo provided free live coverage of the match, including a replay, which poker fans can watch below. If you have limited time, the last 25 hands were seen by the commentators as the highlight of the match.
If you just want to see the highlights, check out PokerGo’s list of the Top 5 hands of the session:
In the post game interview, Negreanu said that he recognized that he is not a favorite overall, but was pleased with his play on the first day. “I executed my strategy, it worked out that as could as it could. It was really important for me to get off to a good start. I really want to make this match competitive and I want those that are watching to see a battle to the end.”
Despite losing the session, Polk said that “Negreanu played a couple nice lines” and that “[Negreanu] played better than I was anticipating, but it is really early to tell.”
With 200 hands played on Wednesday, there is still a long way to go. Negreanu and Polk agreed to play 25,000 hands to start the match with the option for the loser to back out after 12,500 hands.
Now that Polk and Negreanu have completed the first portion of their challenge from PokerGo, they will now move their play all online at WSOP.com.
The match is expected to resume on WSOP.com at 2 PM PT on Friday.
Before the challenge started, the indication was that there would be no “official” live streams of the online portion of the match. However, a mix of streamers are likely to fill in the gaps to let poker fans keep up with the action in real-time (or in near real-time).