Doug Polk vs Daniel Negreanu: Who is the Best Poker Player?

Doug Polk vs Daniel Negreanu — Who is the best poker player? This debate has raged on for years, but now there’s a way to settle it once and for all. The new PokerGO documentary series “Under The Gun” follows six of the world’s top poker players as they compete in high-stakes tournaments.

In episode one, Polk takes on Negreanu in a heads-up match to decide who is the best of the best.

Doug Polk vs Daniel Negreanu

doug polk vs daniel negreanu

Doug Polk accomplished what he set out against Daniel Negreanu: He backed the truck to the tune of $1.2 million in profit in the most publicized heads-up poker match ever and one of the most exciting poker stories for 2021.

The High Stakes Feud ended in February 2021 after 25,000 hands. Over three months, the live streams were watched by both casual and hardcore poker players.

How the feud started

In 2014, Doug Polk took offense at Daniel Negreanu’s claim that he could quickly master $25/$50 6-max, no-limit hold’em online games. Polk considered it a slight to those who have spent hours studying the format and put in the effort to master it.

That was the beginning of a six-year feud between the two biggest players in the game. While Negreanu was quiet about their unhappy relationship, Polk was critical of him on his popular YouTube channel as well as Twitter.

He can’t even decide if he said it, and it’s been three years.

Doug Polk (@DougPolkVids).

They had reached a Republican vs. Democrat level of pettiness by summer 2020. But, unlike Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Polk and Negreanu were mature enough to put aside their differences. They settled the matter the old-fashioned manner: a shootout at O.K. Corral.

It was a heads-up match of poker, thankfully.

Back the truck up

Polk had told his followers on social media that he was going to “back the truck up” before the 2020 match, meaning that he was confidently anticipating a big win.

Polk’s pre-challenge predictions proved accurate when the players went on a winter break in December 2020. They had reached 12,500 hands and by the end of the new year, Negreanu was trailing by $800,000. The losing player had the option to either quit or continue with the challenge.

Negreanu refused to give up, despite the odds being against him. It appeared for a brief moment to be a wise choice.

Although he was down big at 20 buy-ins at the beginning of 2021, Negreanu was still competing at a higher level against arguably the best heads-up player ever. Negreanu isn’t a pro at this format but he was still competitive during the 25,000-hand challenge.

Even Polk admitted that he was surprised by how well Negreanu played.

Mid-January saw Polk finally reach the $1 million profit mark. The time was running out for the poker pro known as “Kid Poker,” but Negreanu gave his fans hope by scoring a $385,000 win, which was the best session ever for either player.

Polk starts to tank

After Negreanu’s massive session, Polk had a challenge win to protect. He changed his strategy and started to limp some buttons to keep the pots smaller.

This strategy was somewhat similar to a football team running out the clock late in the game with the lead.

Negreanu was however unable to profit from the opportunity. Polk’s win rates in the challenge were at an all-time high. He nearly doubled his profit in the last week and ended the match at $1,200,000.

This is equivalent to 30 buy-ins.

Many poker players were critical of Polk’s decision not to play fast and to use limp buttons. But it worked, and it may have thrown his opponent off his game. Polk was at one time a participant in the heads-up, no-limit Hold’em tournament.

The Upswing Poker owner made an average of $48 per hand during the match. This is quite impressive considering that a heads-up hand of online poker takes 30 seconds on average. They were also playing at two tables at once.

Polk and Negreanu have since sorted out their differences and are now in good standing.

Negreanu lost three straight heads-up matches to Phil Hellmuth at PokerGO’s High Stakes Duel.

Meanwhile, Polk moved from Las Vegas to Austin and does not play poker as much, though he is considering opening a poker room in Texas.


In the Doug Polk vs Daniel Negreanu face-off of 2021, we saw two of the best poker players in the world settle a long-standing dispute right on the felt. In episode one of “Under The Gun,” we saw these two pros battle in a heads-up match to decide who is the king of poker.

Doug Polk came out on top, proving that he is the best player in the world right now.