Daniel Negreanu lost $1.2 million to Doug Polk in a heads up match that concluded recently. He is apparently now ready for his next heads-up match, and this time around he wants to take on the “Poker Brat”. Negreanu recently challenged Phil Hellmuth to a heads-up battle after the latter publicly criticized his performance during his grudge match against Polk.
Negreanu and Polk played heads-up NLHE at $200/$400 stakes across 25,000 hands. Polk ended it in style just over a week ago after 36 sessions, winning $1.2 million. The pair began the match in early November and battled it out for about three months, with the bulk of the action taking place online on WSOP.com.
Polk had been a 4-1 favorite to win the match ever since it started. He is a beast in heads-up NLHE. He is far more experienced than Negreanu when it comes to online poker, which was why his victory was expected. But Hellmuth thinks the Canadian’s performance was not so good.
Hellmuth “Disappointed” at Negreanu’s Performance
Back in October, just days prior to the start of the grudge match, Phil Hellmuth announced that he was betting $25K on Negreanu, at 4-1, to win the battle. Mike Matusow, another high-profile pro, also bet big on the former all-time money leader.
“Disappointed” – that was how Hellmuth felt about Negreanu’s play during his grudge match against Polk. The “Poker Brat” thinks Negreanu should have avoided the GTO style of play, given his opponent’s vast knowledge and experience on that particular strategy.
The 15-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner criticized Negreanu for not sticking to his own style. According to him, the Canadian instead attempted to match Polk’s GTO expertise, which clearly didn’t work for him in the end. Hellmuth praised Negreanu’s “brilliant” coaches but he was simply not satisfied with how things turned out.
Hellmuth shared his thoughts on the match during his recent guesting on the new PokerGO show No Gamble No Future, hosted by Jeff Platt and Brent Hanks.
During the same episode, Hellmuth also revealed that he told Polk he wanted to become his next heads-up opponent. This is unlikely to happen, with the Upswing Poker founder already discounting the possibility of another heads-up battle taking place.
Negreanu Reacts With A Challenge
Upon learning about Hellmuth’s critical comments, Negreanu took to Twitter, asking the Poker Brat to play heads-up poker against him. He also made a sideswipe at Hellmuth over giving a “strong” opinion on the grudge match when he hadn’t even watched a single session of it.
Negreanu also said Hellmuth can choose where to play, may it be live or online. It’s also up to the Poker Brat as to the stakes and the number of hands he’d like to play. But it’s unlikely Negreanu would agree to a short battle. He probably wants a heads-up match with a similar structure to his recent bout with Polk. The question now is, would Hellmuth be willing to take on the challenge?
Biggest Heads-Up Match
Hellmuth is pretty confident with his heads-up skills. He said he won all but one of his most recent heads-up matches (29/30). He beat Antonio Esfandiari three times during their Heads Up Duel on PokerGo. He won the inaugural NBC National Heads-Up Championship in 2005. In 2013, he finished runner-up to Matusow on the same televised competition.
Hellmuth also outclassed both Dan “Jungleman” Cates and Polk himself in a four-player poker competition on Poker Night in America.
But it’s also worth-noting that all of those victories involved small sample sizes of 200 hands or less, far smaller than the recent match between Negreanu and Polk. So to really put his heads-up skills to the test, Hellmuth might as well try to play large sample sizes, and a match with Negreanu would be a feast for the eyes of the entire poker community.
Both Negreanu and Hellmuth are stalwarts of poker. They were two of the best and most successful poker players of the poker boom era, and even up to this day, they continue to be an influential figure. We will have to wait for Phil Hellmuth to confirm if he is willing to take on Negreanu in a heads up game.

Tight Poker Staff

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For nearly two decades, we’ve provided the best in class for poker site reviews, top online poker bonuses, strategy tips, poker news, and exclusive free poker content.  Consisting of a team of poker and gambling experts, we deliver the best online poker brand experience for players of all levels, from the fish to the sharks.
For nearly two decades, we’ve provided the best in class for poker site reviews, top online poker bonuses, strategy tips, poker news, and exclusive free poker content.  Consisting of a team of poker and gambling experts, we deliver the best online poker brand experience for players of all levels, from the fish to the sharks.