If you’ve never seen Dara O’Kearney and David Lappin hosting The Lock-In before, then you’ve already missed out on some of the best poker content that has been out there during your country’s version of lockdown.  

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If that’s the case, then head here for a more general look at The Lock-In and enjoy the whole canon. If you’re already a confirmed fan, however (guilty as charged), then this week’s detailed look at the action between Doug Polk and Daniel Negreanu by the challenge’s winner – Polk if you’ve been living under a soundproofed rock at least a continent away from Las Vegas – is just for you.  

In it, Doug Polk answers a range of questions from the Irish poker legends as he goes deep in terms of analysing his win and talking the boys and viewers through how he did it. Crib notes – it was a lot of hard work. 

In this episode of the Lock-In, it would be easy for Lappin and O’Kearney to simply gloat at Negreanu, especially as the Canadian six-time WSOP bracelet winner was both ignorant and disparaging in equal measure to their award-winning podcast when The Chip Race (presented by the Irish duo) was given due credit by their peers at The Global Poker Awards of 2019.   

That they don’t is to their credit and the very reason why both The Chip Race and The Lock-In have become essential viewing over the last few years, with the questions both detailed and knowledgeable and the pace of the interview perfect for their subject, the eponymous Polk – to eulogise on exactly what went right and wrong.  

There’s not a sausage in sight and Polk is refreshingly honest and open about how he structured his attack on Negreanu and in breaking down the closing half of the challenge, we learn a lot about how even the best heads-up online players stay at the level they’re at – hours and hours (and more hours) of work.  

Polk’s success, of course, came to the tune of $1.2 million eventually, but that took a huge winning session in the last yards to mean a seven-figure win was confirmed and was done so with a modicum of humility by Polk. He was the player many saw as the aggressor early on, but opinions have rightly changed on that. Negreanu frequently believed that he played ‘perfect poker’, but Polk laughs at the very idea, admitting to making hundreds of errors as anyone would do in a massive heads-up challenge, even the best in the world.  

Polk is honest enough to admit that should the heads-up game have been live, then he may have been a marginal dog in the fight, but between the three men, they go into some great detail around exactly why this kind of game would not have been totally to Negreanu’s advantage had it gone ahead. Of course, had the pair arranged to play 25,000 live hands of heads-up poker, it’s likely we would be covering it by the time Donald Trump runs for U.S. President again in 2024. 

Don’t shake your head; it could happen.  

Polk is called ‘hyper aware of his weaknesses’ by David Lappin and in a complimentary fashion, which Polk responds to very well, taking the time to talk about ‘knowing what he doesn’t know’, and as he describes, he has always been perfectly prepared to look at solvers, analyse his play and be open enough to look at where he has been wrong. The more you watch of the episode, you more that you realise Polk’s strength in the challenge was actually to appreciate that every session is full of mistakes by both players and being ‘hyper-aware’ of that was the edge.  

If you haven’t seen the hour-long special, then it’s essential viewing and can be viewed right here:  

Doug Polk is pure gold throughout, but he’s helped more than adequately by two of the best presenters in poker. If only they weren’t so successful at the felt, we might be treated to O’Kearney and Lappin presenting the game on a more regular basis whenever live poker returns, because apart from high-beef content sausage proprietors, who wouldn’t watch them?  


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