After two lengthy sessions this weekend, the challenge between Doug “WCGRider” Polk and Ben “Sauce1234” Sulsky is drawing to a close with little to no fanfare because of how large the lead has become for Polk. The two have a little less than 1.5k hands to complete to close out the 15k hands in the challenge and the lead is nearly impossible for Polk to lose at this point at over $590k in winnings. Furthermore, Polk has managed to win 5 of the 6 total rounds between the two, with his only loss being a small amount compared to the totals he has managed to put up in his winning sessions.
These latest two rounds were especially disappointing for Sulsky as he managed to get a lead and couldn’t maintain the advantage. The round completed on Friday saw Polk get out to a huge lead at the beginning but then managed to give most of it back at the midway point of the round. After a short break, it was all Polk again and he ended up winning the round pretty decisively, adding $150k to his overall lead heading into Sunday.
In the session completed on Sunday night, Sulsky had won as much as $180k from Polk, meaning that he was down only $400k for the challenge. While that number is still a pretty significant sum, it was limiting the damage from the challenge in a pretty large way and would have allowed for a miracle to at least be setup for a comeback win. Polk continued to battle and actually won the session by the smallest of margins.
During Sulsky’s huge comeback, he won the two largest pots of the entire round at $81k and $71k. These numbers might seem small in comparison to some of the really large numbers that were seen when “Isildur1” came on the scene three years ago, but they are a significant amount considering that this challenge has tables broken when things get deep. These numbers are also significant because they represent well more than 10% of the total amount separating the two combatants. The wins, however, were not enough to propel “Sauce1234” into victory as “WCGRider” managed to fight back over the second half of the match and win 5 of the 6 largest pots the rest of the night.
That last statistic basically encapsulates the entire match up to this point. Polk has destroyed Sulsky in the largest pots during this matchup on a consistent basis. That’s why you see Polk leading despite losing the two largest pots of the challenge. Another stat that people are pointing to is that Polk actually ran $80k below EV over the course of the night. While this is an important factor to keep in mind, it is a little bit misleading.
Expected Value is an important figure when seeing how you are running when all the money enters the pot, but it doesn’t account for when you miss draws or when your opponent coolers you. These are many times very important things that EV can actually completely leave out when describing a match. Some think that Polk has been running much better in card distribution and has managed to pick up a bigger hand than Sulsky when Sulsky also holds a powerful hand.
The reality of the match most likely lies somewhere between the EV and the card distribution theories, though. The reality is also that Polk now leads by $590k with less than 1.5k hands to play, meaning that the best Sulsky can hope for is to limit the monetary damage. It’s also important to remember that there is a $100k side bet riding on this, so the actual amount that Sulsky is down is $690k, which is a pretty significant sum for any player. PokerUpdate will bring you the final result when this match concludes and will also provide some post-match analysis about how this changes the landscape of heads-up high-stakes no-limit hold’em and where each player goes from here.