2021 Heralds The Return Of Grudge Poker

By Ben Hamill - March 21 2021

2021 Heralds The Return Of Grudge Poker

A Poker world literally starving for news and entertainment resulting from the big hiatus on every form of live action that was 2020 has resulted in the rise of a strange and peculiar set of circumstances. And among those at the very top of the list ranks something of a Poker pantomime: the heads-up grudge match.

It isn't as if all of that has been in any way devoid of entertainment value, either. Who will forget Andy Beal taking on The Corporation? Or Doug Polk bashing out keyboard threats about having to back up his truck to Daniel Negreanu's backdoor to load up the Canadian's fortune?

The message soon became clear: heads-up grudging was back in vogue.

Read More...Polk Celebrates Grudge Match Win

The Appetiser

Much of what's been happening on the heads-up grudge scene originated from a different kind of Poker era – one not yet embraced out of need. One such grudge match was Beal taking on The Corporation back in 2001.

The billionaire banker had agreed to play against not only one or two Poker champions of the day, but against an entire collective of Poker masters of the day. The money was in the kitty, the entertainment value lacked absolutely nothing, and it soon became clear that that it was a winning combination and all that was really needed to grab the world's attention.

It would be difficult to beat or even recreate that type of showdown. It was Beal against the likes of Phil Ivey, Howard Lederer, Chip Reese, Doyle Brunson, Tod Brunson, Jennifer Harmon, and Lyle Berman. And even though Beal would eventually be forced to throw in a $16 million towel, kudos to him for having stuck it out for as long as he did.

More Year, More Grudge

Cut to 2020, and it would be Phil Helmuth strutting his stuff in very much the same way as what Beal did way back. Granted, he'd be up against a single contender only, but then again, that contender was Antonio Esfandiari, one of the biggest names in modern Poker.

Plus, it would effectively set the spread for what would have to be the grudge match of all time: Doug Polk vs Daniel Negreanu. 25,000 hands of grudge-style action, live streaming of the proceedings via Twitch and YouTube, and the ultimate finish few would have seen coming, Polk taking the beloved Kid Poker for a rough-and-tumble $1.2 million.

And best of all, especially since we've now all developed an appetite for ultimate grudge Poker, is that Negreanu and Phil Helmuth will be going at it next.

March 31 is D-Day.

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