Another type of poker
We present to you a poker player that is a little bit different: he is specialized in heads-up Texas Hold’em, has won over USD 9.4 million from poker, he is only 30 years old, has an extremely popular Youtube channel, is passioned by strategy games, he partially owns a cryptocurrency – Coin Central, and recently, he told his fans that he is giving up poker…
Born in Pasadena, California, Doug loved strategy games ever since he was little, when his father taught him chess at the age of 5. His family moved from California to Raleigh, North Carolina, during his childhood. In 2007, he graduated Wakefield High School. He went to the University of North Carolina Wilmington, but he quit before he could graduate. He wished to dedicate all his time to his new passion: poker.
His alias on from eSports was “WCGRider” and it came to be at the same time he started participating as a competitor in strategy video games such as WarCraft3, where he competed for the national qualifications for World Cyber Games. His parents allowed him to decide his future, but Doug decided that it was best for him to channel his energy into achieving excellence in poker.
In the beginning, Doug played poker for small amounts $0.01/$0.02, transforming a $20 deposit into $10,000 over night! However, things didn’t go all that smoothly… in 2011 he was nearly broke.
His career took a favorable turn when he met one of his partners from Upswing, Ryan Fee. By means of their friendship and their great minds, they succeeded in exchanging ideas about sports and to encourage each other in order to visibly improve their poker game.
As things started to get better, Polk started to play SB/BB on $5/$10 and $10/$20, gravitating more and more toward the 6 handed poker game. It was a wondrous thing that he started from the brink of giving up and he reached a six figure bankroll. That was then… now, he added one more zero to his bankroll.
The king of heads-up
What is interesting about Doug is the fact that he made a six figure bankroll in only 31 entries in money. Some players reach $10 million in their entire career, of maybe 20-30 years, playing hundreds of tournaments to get close to that amount, while Doug got that amount very young and playing very few live tournaments. After having played 6-max for a while, he completely settled on heads-up. After having focused on this for several years, defeating many opponents, at a certain point, nobody wanted to play heads-up with him anymore. He became too good…
As a last fight for supremacy and the unofficial title of the best heads-up player, Polk played a memorable and well-publicized game in 2013 with Ben Sulky, aka “Sauce123”. The game was playing 15,000 hands of heads-up poker between the two of them. Doug, considered, at that time, one of the best online poker players in the world, won $740,000 and an additional bonus $100,000.
Moving on to live tournaments
Although he had tried live poker tournaments in previous years also, participating to a few, in 2014 he finally decided to play in the live poker tournaments more often. In the spring of 2014, he played at the Aussie Millions Poker Championship in Melbourne and finishes 4th in the $100,000 No Limit Hold’em tournament.
Encouraged by this success, he returned to Las Vegas and participated in 2 high roller tournaments at the Bellagio, where he finished on 2nd and 3rd place, respectively, winning a total of over $230,000. In June of the same year, he played in the 45th edition of the World Series of Poker (WSOP) tournament, $1,000 No Limit Hold’em – Turbo (Event #23), winning the first bracelet of his career and $251,969. In July 2014, he played Super High Roller with an $100,000 entry, which he won by defeating Alberto Hernandez at heads-up. His accounts filled-up with another $1,648,350. In 2015, we note another remarkable result, 2nd place at the $10,000 No Limit Hold’em Six Handed Championship tournament (#37). Byron Kaverman was the one that stopped him from getting a new WSOP champion bracelet. In 2016, he played with his partner and his friend Ryan Fee in the interesting Event 61 tournament, in which teams of 2-4 people played in the $1,000 buy-in, with a total number of 863 players fighting to win this unique title. Ryan and Doug won the tournament, the bracelets and $76,679.
The summer of 2017 brought him the greatest success of his career. He participated at the 2017 WSOP at the $111,111 No Limit Hold’em – High Roller for One Drop (Event #6) tournament and he had a spectacular evolution defeating a field of 130 famous players, among which Bertrand Grospellier, Rainer Kempe, Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Helmuth Jr, Igor Kurganov or Scott Seiver. The prize he won here was the greatest of his career: $3,686,865.
Polk vs. Claudico, or how man defeats the machine
In 2015, Polk was selected to play heads-up poker against the robot/artificial intelligence – Claudico. Together with other professional poker players such as Dong Kim, Jason Les and Bjorn Li, they had a number of hands established, that is 20,000 hands each, against Claudico. 80,000 in total, for the entire team. The people beat the machine with a score of 732,713 at 213,000 chips. The team received $100,000 for its victory.
Upswing Poker is a “poker training” site founded by Doug with his friend Ryan Fee, where you can find information about strategy, various lessons, articles, about how you should play poker at a professional level. Other important players joined this project: Matt Colletta, Nick Petrangelo or Jake Abdalla.
In the fall of last year, he announced that he wished to give up on his poker player career. He will be spending more time on his cryptocurrency business and on video. That does not mean he will never play poker again, but that he’ll simply be focusing on other activities from now on.
- $9,454,990 won from poker throughout his career
- He has 3 WSOP titles
- He has 4 WSOP final tables
- $3,686,865 is the biggest win of his career