Articles Tagged with: Doug Polk

Doug Polk Poker Player Story

Doug Polk’s poker player story is the story of how a nerdy college dropout from California took what he learned from playing chess and Warcraft, and became the best online heads up no limit poker player – perhaps of all time.
Making millions of dollars in the process.

The Beginning

Douglas K. Polk was born on December 16 of 1988 in sunny Pasadena, California.
Growing up, Doug was a pretty average. Around the age of five, Doug was introduced to the world of chess by his father. The young boy quickly fell in love with the game, especially the strategic element of it. The two would play for hours and hours, and Doug became very skilled. 

A few years later, the Polk family packed their bags and moved from the West Coast to North Carolina on the East Coast. Doug Polk was enrolled at Wakefield High School and graduated in 2007. During his time in High School, he became a competitive player of the video game Warcraft 3 – a so-called real-time strategy game. Warcraft allowed Doug to dive deep into strategy like the time he played chess with his dad, and he took part in multiple World Cyber Games (WCG) tournaments.
This is actually where Doug Polk’s online poker alias, WCGRider, comes from.

After finishing high school, Polk attended the University of North Carolina (picture). Polk was a bright young man and often found himself bored during classes. He created an account on a digital poker platform, and made a small deposit of $20. For the first couple of months, Polk was stuck at 1 cent/2 cents tables but then realized he had an obvious talent, perhaps due to his long time love affair with real-time strategy games like chess and Warcraft.

Polk decided to test his skills at a bigger table, and after cashing out $10,000 there was no doubt in his mind that he was on to something.

He dropped out of college and began chasing his new dream of poker fame. Something that was waiting just around the corner.

Doug Polk University of North Carolina

Rise to Fame

It wouldn’t take more than a year or two for Doug Polk to make a name for himself among poker players. In 2013 most serious poker players knew who WCGRider was, and he was not playing at 1 cent/2 cents tables anymore. By now, Polk had already won hundreds of thousands of dollars at online poker tables and was now a high-roller. Primarily due to one niche of poker that he truly dominated; online heads up. 

Doug was so great at heads up poker, that he actually had a hard time finding players who wanted to go up against him. But in late 2013 Doug and Ben “Sauce123” Sulsky went toe-to-toe in a highly publicised poker game of 15,000 hands.
Polk won the exhausting game and cashed in a prize of $740,000 plus a bonus of another $100,000. Not a bad pay day, and definitely something that solidified Doug Polk’s place among the best of the best. 

Doug Polk - Poker Player Story

Poker Winnings

When people hear the name ‘Doug Polk’ many think of only HUNL poker. And for good reason. The game against Ben Sulsky certainly got a lot of attention, and Polk has played (and won) a lot at online tables.

But Polk is so much more than ‘just’ and an online HUNL player. He has done really well at the live poker tournaments as well, with a total prize pool estimated at around $10M.
Money is one thing, but Polk has also won a lot of respect at the live poker tournaments, namely by winning three WSOP bracelets:

– $1000Turbo No Limit Hold’em in 2014.
With a prize of $251,969.

– $1000 Tag Team No Limit Hold’em.
When he teamed up with Ryan Fee and collected a prize of $153,358.

– $111,111 High Roller for One Drop No Limit Hold’em in 2017.
Taking home a whopping $3,686,865.

The 2017 bracelet win was of course the biggest of his career, and Polk outlasted no less than 130 other poker players to get it. Very impressive for a guy with a strategic background in video games. 

Upswing Poker

Back in 2015 Doug started a poker training website with his good friend and fellow poker player Ryan Fee. The site is called Upswing Poker and contains a number of strategies and courses that claim to take your poker skills to the next level. The courses are brought to you by professional poker players and range in price and duration with both regular courses and something they call ‘advanced’ poker courses. And in case you’re wondering, yes, there is a course where Doug Polk himself teaches you heads up poker.

Poker retirement

Doug Polk’s rise to poker fame was like a rocket, and the young comet has often claimed to be growing weary of the game and the industry. And in a 2018 YouTube video, Doug formally announced his retirement from professional poker. See the video below.
He talked about how the spark just wasn’t there for him anymore and how all his poker friends had already left the poker scene to pursue personal growth in other fields like starting their own business.

At this point Doug Polk was coming up on his 30th birthday, and already had north of $10M in his bank account from dominating online heads up poker. Certainly not a bad situation to be in, and you could see why it made sense for him to take a step back and spend some time searching for a project thatto add meaning to his life. Polk said his focus would be centered around growing his company Upswing Poker, playing Warcraft and getting into the habit of creating more content for his social media. 

Popular on social media

Whether he’s at the poker table or not, people love Doug Polk. The guy has an outgoing personality and seems to have opinions on pretty much anything. 

At first, his social media of choice was Twitter, and he would tweet about anything from playing poker or Warcraft to US politics and economics.
In more recent years though, Polk seems to have focused more on his YouTube video content. His main channel is still called Doug Polk Poker, but videos are not just about poker but rather full of tips to make money or  his thoughts on current political issues. The channel currently has 494 videos and more than 100M views. 
He also has a channel called Doug Polk Crypto where he talks about – you guessed it – cryptocurrency. 

However, it seems that Doug Polk still hasn’t quite forgotten how to tweet, and so in July of 2020 a series of tweets at poker legend Daniel Negreanu set the online poker community on fire and pulled Polk out of poker retirement.

Doug Polk vs Daniel Negreanu

A Doug Polk poker player story wouldn’t be complete without mentioning his long standing, and very public, feud with Canadian poker legend Daniel Negreanu. It stretches back years and seems to have started on Twitter sometime back in 2014. Since then, Polk has consistently been taking jabs at Negreanu both online and to his face – and some of them have been absolutely legendary. Like the time he bought an entire hotel billboard outside of a tournament just to taunt Negreanu.
It seemed inevitable that the two would one day settle the score in a HUNL poker game, and in July of 2020, Negreanu finally accepted the challenge. 

The two poker legends agreed to play a total of 25.000 hands – with an option to quit after 12.500 hands. Stakes are $200 and $400. First 200 hands are played live, in-person. All remaining hands are played online on two tables at the same time.
It’s really a spectacular story, so we made a separate blog post devoted entirely to this feud – both the backstory and the current status.
You can find it here. 

Doug Polk - Poker Player Story

Are you the next Doug Polk?

Douglas K. Polk took his love of real-time strategy games and, in a matter of years, became the notorious WCGRider with a massive following and millions of dollars in the bank. What’s stopping you from copying the Doug Polk poker player story?

Whether you’re looking to play heads up poker or bigger tables of up to 12 players, the free EasyPoker app has got you covered.
By far the easiest way to play poker with friends – no chips or playing cards needed.

Create a social game og poker with a single tap on your phone and share the 4 digit game code with your friends to have them join in. Perfect for poker with friends – whether live or online.

Doug Polk - Poker Player Story
Doug Polk - Poker Player Story

Doug Polk – Poker Player Story

The Doug Polk poker player story is quite unique, and whether you love him or hate him, the guy is hard to ignore. What do you think, is he one of the greatest of his era? Let us know in the comments below.

We’d also like to hear from you if you have additions to this post, or if you have a specific poker player or topic you’d like us to address next.

Want more poker player stories? 

The world of poker is full of interesting players with fascinating stories. We’ve got a massive archive of the greatest stories, and are constantly adding more.

Like how ‘the Great Dane’, Gus Hansen, built a massive name and fortune playing poker, only to have it all ripped away in a record breaking $20.000.000 string of losses.

Or the story of how Chris Moneymaker, a complete amature, got inspired by the movie Rounders and went on to win the World Series of Poker.

If you have a specific player you’d like us to profile, please let is know in the comments below.

Doug Polk

Daniel Negreanu vs Doug Polk – How the Poker Feud Started

It’s no secret that there has been a public feud between the two professional poker players Doug Polk and Daniel Negreanu. Lately the Daniel Negreanu vs Doug Polk poker feud has reached a high point, as the two players finally agreed to play heads up – something the entire poker community is going crazy over. 

25.000 hands, both live and online, will determine the ultimate winner of one of the biggest feuds in poker history. But how did it all start? Settle in and let me explain it. 

Daniel Negreanu vs Doug Polk – The Beginning

The year is 2014 and Daniel Negreanu a.k.a. KidPoker has cemented his place as one of the biggest stars in the history of poker. With his charismatic person and dominance at the live poker tables, Daniel Negreanu can pretty much walk on water at this point.
In August of that year, Negreanu took part in the “One Drop” event and finished second. Not a bad result, but Negreanu is criticized for a key play. No stranger to online criticism, Kid Poker pretty much ignored the comments.

But one guy, cash game pro Daniel Merrilees, went on twitter and wrote “OK fair enough – I applaud your confidence. Do you think you could jump right in now and play a starts 25/50 6max game and win?”

In his usual style of likeable cockiness, Negreanu answered ‘@danielmerrilees haven’t played in ages so would say NO. However I believe it would take two weeks of work and I would be a winner.” And so it began. 

Daniel Negreanu vs Doug Polk

A lot of people jumped on this – including Doug Polk, perhaps the biggest star of online cash games at the time, who wrote “I respect what you have done in your career, but it’s naive to think that you can log onto PokerStarts and beat $25/$50.”

This led to a long twitter fight between the two poker giants, and the seed for feud was planted.

More Rake is Better

Negreanu’s over the top confidence and character has often landed him in discussions, but Doug Polk’s massive following on social media made this feud a perfect storm. The two went back and forth at numerous occasions after the twitter incident, but the next big episode happened in early 2016. 

For a long time, Negreanu has been sponsored by PokerStarts as the poster child of their brand – always promising to represent player interests. But when the massive poker site got in trouble for rolling back benefits from some of its most loyal players, Negreanu surprised everyone by siding with PokerStars. He went on twitter and argued that the new setup of higher rake would be an overall benefit to the game since it kept pros away.

And he had a point. The world of online poker had certainly become very top-heavy and something needed to be done about it. But even though PokerStars had acted within their legal rights, the entire thing let to a massive shitstorm and Negreanu was caught in the middle, siding against the poker community. And even though he never actually said it, Negreanu’s views were condensed by the poker community to the catchy slogan of ‘More Rake is Better’.

Who is Doug Polk?

Doug Polk was born December 16, 1988 (31 years old). Polk mostly play under the alias WCGRider and specializes in Heads-up No Limit Hold’em.

Doug Polk officially retired from professional poker in September 2018 but kept running his popular YouTube channel with a poker focus.

Tap to read Doug Polk’s full poker story

Daniel Negreanu vs Doug Polk

Two years later, at the time of a big poker tournament in Las Vegas, the long lasting feud between Negreanu and Polk took another turn, when Doug Pol bought a huge billboard outside the event that stated ‘’. An obvious attack on Negreanu, which caught the attention of the poker community.
Polk also showed up to numerous tournaments wearing t-shirts that said ‘More Rake is Better’ – something that clearly provoked Negreanu and didn’t help their relationship. 

Head to head – Daniel Negreanu vs Doug Polk

No doubt 2020 is a crazy year – and this is also true for Daniek Negreanu. During a live stream, an online troll attacked Negreanu and made some very rude comments about his wife. Negreanu was quick and harsh in this answer, and his stream was swiftly suspended by Twitch. While one certainly understands Negreanu’s reaction, this was probably not a smart move by a guy representing numerous sponsors and the game as a whole. 

Amidst all this controversy, Doug Polk saw his opportunity to once again poke the bear.
As he’d done many times before, he went on Twitter and challenged Negreanu to a heads-up. But this time, Kid Poker surprised everyone by accepting.
And so finally, the long lasting feud between two absolute giants of poker seem to be coming to a climax.

Daniel Negreanu vs Doug Polk

The Setup for the Heads-up Poker Game

Negreanu and Polk have agreed to play a total of 25.000 hands – with an option to quit after 12.500 hands. Stakes are $200 and $400. First 200 hands are played live, in-person. All remaining hands are played online on two tables at the same time. 

All hands are streamed live either from the PokerGO studio in Las Vegas or on the GGPoker YouTube channel.

Daniel Negreanu vs Doug Polk live game

The first heads up game was played live in Las Vegas in the PokerGo studio. Here Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk were face to face against each other. Doug Polk is registered for $9,4 million in total live earnings – placing him as the 101st highest earning player at official live games. 

Doug Polk is known as the ultimate heads-up wizard in online poker games – so how will he perform against Daniel Negreanu who is notoriously known for his live games? See how it all went down in the video below.

SPOILER WARNING: The result of round 1 was a pretty significant win for Daniel Negreanu. He came out on top with +$116,500 after the forst 200 hands.  

Who is Daniel Negreanu?

Negreanu is one of the most well known and successful poker players in modern time. The Canadian was born July 26, 1974 (46 years old) and is known as KidPoker. Daniel is most known for his live games performance where he has won six World Series of Poker Bracelets and two World Poker Tour titles.

Tap to read Daniel Negreanu’s poker story.

Best Friends?

After the first live heads-up event in Las Vegas most viewers and experts were shocked – and not about the tension. The big time feud just all seemed to disappear as the players were face to face. It actually seemed like they really enjoyed each other’s company like two best friends having a good time around the poker table. 


Some viewers have called this an embarrassment as they had expected an aggressive feud – just as we have seen online. But as Daniel Negreanu said about Doug Polk: “He (Polk) has been very tough online like, I’m gonna kill this guy and calling me names – but when you see him in person he is much softer. That’s very typical for most online trolls“. It really seems like it played out exactly as Negreanu had predicted.

Online heads-up – Who will bring home the gold?

The majority of the heads-up game will be played online. Here Doug Polk has the advantage over Daniel, as this is his speciality. First online game was played on 6th of November 2020. Here Negreanu started out great but ended with short stack as Doug Polk made a strong come-back and played well all through the game. See how it all went down following all rounds.

Round 2

Round 2 was pretty rough on Daniel Negreanu. Luckely for him he did have a big win from round 1. Watch the whole game below.

Hands played: 424
Overall hands: 624
Result: Polk +$218,292

Doug Polk +$101,792

Round 3

Round 3 played out well for the online heads-up expert Doug Polk. He continued to win and gain an even bigger lead. 

Hands played: 382
Overall hands: 1006
Result: Doug +$166,239

Doug Polk +$268,031

Round 4

Negreanu had his first online win after an intense game with some big hands.

Hands played: 366
Overall hands: 1372
Result: Daniel Negreanu +$87,166

Doug Polk +$180,865

Round 5

Another big win for Daniel Negreanu. Daniel now takes the overall lead.

Hands played: 365
Overall hands: 1737
Result: Daniel Negreanu +$206,994

Negreanu +$25,916

Round 6

Doug Polk fired back and got back his overall lead again.

Hands played: 637
Overall hands: 2374
Result: Polk +$93,542

Doug Polk +$67,625

Round 7

Negreanu is back in the lead with biggest win of the feud yet.

Hands played: 591
Overall hands: 2965
Result: Daniel Negreanu +$222,832

Daniel Negreanu +$155,206

Round 8

Another session that ends up with Mr. Negreanu in the lead. A lot of big pots in this game.

Hands played: 457
Overall hands: 3422
Result: Daniel Negreanu +$24,156

Daniel Negreanu +$179,363

Round 9

Doug Polk gets back in the lead. But just barely by less than one 40k buy-in. 

Hands played: 377
Overall hands: 3799
Result: Doug Polk +$205,521

Doug Polk +$26,158

Round 10

The longest Daniel Negreanu vs Doug Polk settion yet with over 4 hours of poker logged. 

Hands played: 852
Overall hands: 4651
Result: Doug Polk +$117,624

Doug Polk +$143,996

Round 11

Pre-Thanksgiving session that again goes in the favor of Doug Polk. 

Hands played: 386
Overall hands: 5067
Result: Doug Polk +$120,023

Doug Polk +$264,019

Round 12

This was a big round for Doug Polk that more than double his lead. The game had a lot of bad beats for Negreanu.  

Hands played: 684
Overall hands: 5751
Result: Doug Polk +$332,178

Doug Polk +$596,197

Round 13

Daniel Negreanu is fighting back and ends up in plus for the day. Still a long way to go for the come back.   

Hands played: 476
Overall hands: 6227
Result: Negreanu +$17,780

Doug Polk +$578,417

Round 14

Biggest pot yet. 180.000 dollars ending in a flush vs. Flush. Negreanu took it home.  

Hands played: 600
Overall hands: 6800
Result: Daniel Negreanu +$10,000

Doug Polk +$568,417

Round 15

Negreanu takes another step closer to Polk by winning with a single buy in.  

Hands played: 450
Overall hands: 7250
Result: Daniel Negreanu +$40,000

Doug Polk +$518,417

Final Results

Check back here to see the final results and who will be the final winner of the Daniel Negreanu vs Doug Polk feud.

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Poker with friends

Want more poker player stories? 

The world of poker has many legends with interesting stories. We’ve gathered some of the best, and are constantly adding more. You should check them out.

Like the story of poker’s biggest playboy, the nutorious Dan Bilzerian.
This modern day Hugh Hefner claims to have won more than 50M dollars playing poker – although critics doubt this story. And now he and his company Ignite risk bankruptcy.

Or maybe the story of ‘the Great Dane’, Gus Hansen, who built a fortune playing poker but ended up losing more than 20M dollars. Read the crazy story here.  

Daniel Negreanu vs Doug Polk