The Polk/Negreanu dustup is done, an unregulated online tournament pays the winner more than a million bucks, live tournament poker is back in Vegas at the Venetian, and Michigan becomes the latest state to go fully legal. It’s a wild-wild mix of dramatic action, live and online, among amateurs and pros around the world (with Brazilians making a notable showing). Here’s who booked big victories in the game for the week ending Saturday, Feb. 6, 2021:
Heads-up NLH vs. Daniel Negreanu
It was a dominating way to beat one of the best poker players in the world. After giving Daniel Negreanu not quite a glimmer of hope last week, Polk won all three sessions this week, for an additional $499,858 as he finished off the 25,000-hand heads-up no-limit hold’em challenge against his nemesis with a resounding $1.2 million profit. Polk left little doubt as to who is the superior heads-up player (not that we didn’t already know it before their match began in November). He followed up his win by delivering a Masterclass on how he dismantled Negreanu.
In the fourth installment of its Venom Poker Series, venerable offshore site ACR attracted 3,774 entries into its $2,650 NLH main event, generating a $9.4 million prize pool. (Not quite a record, but enough to surpass the $8 million guarantee.) When the dust settled at the final table, PORKNOMAR finished on top after leading from start to finish. The Brazilian online grinder and member of the Midas Team capped off a dominant display with J♦ J♣ versus A♣ J♠ of fellow Brazilian ‘SmashedAvocado’ (aka Yuri Martins). A dry board sent the pot, the title, and more than $1.1 million to Kropmanns.
Rolle proved you don’t have to start a final table with a chip lead to finish on top. The online crusher and head coach at Raise Your Edge went from eighth place to champion in GGPoker’s latest $10,300 weekly — all while streaming his comeback live on Twitch. Weaving through a final table full of online pros, Rolle was still a short stack (4:1 chip disadvantage) by the time he got heads-up. After clawing his way to the lead, he closed out the victory over a field of 210 by limping with A♣ 6♣ to induce a shove from the aggressive Brazilian Michael Zhang (“mczhang”), who obliged with Q♦ 10♥. An ace on the flop was enough to give Rolle the thrilling win.
Sung Joo Hyun
WPT Deepstacks Venetian
$205,335 (+ $3k Championship entry)
This $1,600 buyin WPT Deepstacks at the Venetian, on the 25% occupancy Las Vegas Strip, drew 812 entries (across two Day 1s) this past week. Sung Joo Hyun outlasted them all for his first live poker tournament win. The victory comes on the back of a 2020 online WSOP bracelet (for $162k) in the $500 Deepstack NLH event. Check out Sung’s winner’s vid for a glimpse at what live multitable tournaments look like these days, while also providing the V a commercial for the antiseptic safety of their indoor, eight-handed festivals.
Online Poker Players in Michigan
A decade after Black Friday, poker players in Michigan are finally able to play fully legal online poker. PokerStars MI launched on Monday, making the Wolverine state the fifth in the nation (following Nevada, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania) to offer online poker (along with online casino and sports betting). And with a bill recently issued to allow liquidity sharing, Michiganders could be playing across state lines by the end of 2021. PokerStars is first in Michigan, but it won’t be the last — BetMGM, Partypoker and more will come online in the months and years ahead.