June 5, 2017 (Las Vegas, NV) - Doug Polk added yet another accomplishment to his already impressive poker resume on Monday night. After having spent the majority of his adult life grinding out a living at the tables, he's recently been splitting his time between poker and his new projects.
Polk has spent the past two years running Upswing Poker, a training site run by Ryan Fee, Matt Colletta and Polk, while also building a following on his popular YouTube channel, where he will break down famous poker hands played by other top professionals.
He's been spending more time away from the table, but proved that he is one of the greatest poker players on the planet on Monday night by winning the $111,111 One Drop High Roller. He bested a field of 130 players to win $3,686,865 and his third career World Series of Poker bracelet.
"Instead of grinding poker and studying and grinding, my focus is now more on the training, the marketing, the promotion and that side of poker," said Polk. "I still play the higher stakes stuff because I know in the events I'm a winning player. So, I get a unique opportunity to take videos or stream it online or vlog stuff because I'm still winning in these events, while also doing that."
He's been spending less time at the table, but has a passion for his new projects and just works to balance playing poker with his new ventures.
"The balance is tough, though," said Polk. "But everyday though, I wake up and I love what I do. I love getting to work and I love getting to achieve something. I work really hard to one day getting to achieve goals. I guess it just keeps me busy."
It's Polk's second bracelet in as many summers and his third in the last four years. Last year, he teamed up with Fee to take down the $1,000 Tag Team No-Limit Hold'em event and in 2014, he won the $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em Turbo.
This bracelet meant something more than his first two.
"In those events, the money was really not a very big deal," said Polk. "Whereas this is huge for me. This is a lot of money. Just the fact that it's... I'm sorry, I'm struggling for words right now. It's surreal. To win that much more money against tough people in a real, world-class event. It's way different."
Polk defeated Bertrand "Elky" Grospellier heads-up for the title. Aside from the more than $1.4 million difference between first and second place, there was more at stake for the two players. They made a side bet before the start of heads-up play that resulted in a temporary hairstyle change for Grospellier.
"The bet was that the loser of the match had to something with their hair," said Polk. "So, if I lost the match, I had to dye my hair blonde. So, the stakes were high. And if Elky lost, he has to have a faux hawk for a week. So, I guess we are going to get to see Elky with a faux hawk."
Grospellier and Polk were the final two players standing, but they took drastically different paths to get to heads-up.
Coming into the final day of the event, Grospellier who had the chip lead. Polk was battling in the middle of the pack at the start of the day, and was up and down throughout the course of the final table. With nine players, he was the short stack and all in with and was in trouble against 2014 WSOP Main Event Champion Martin Jacobson's .
Polk flopped a 10 and held on to double up. He worked his way back into the middle of the pack and seemingly stayed there until four-handed play. He knocked out Haralabos Voulgaris in fourth and Dario Sammartino in third place to take the chip lead into heads-up play against Grospellier.
Unlike Polk, Grospellier stayed at or near the top of the chip counts for the entire day. Polk extended his lead on Grospellier early on in the heads-up battle, which only lasted seven hands, and finished Grospellier off shortly after when his outflopped Grospellier's .
"Things really turn around quickly in tournaments," said Polk about his roller coaster day. "There was a point at this table where I was down to about three million and there was a point at this table when I had all the chips. So, when I was all in with ten-nine against ace-queen, you realize that most of the time I'm leaving this tournament right now. I'm going home. But I have a chance and the cards fell the right way."
Before making himself more prevalent in the live arena, Polk honed his skills online. Playing under the name 'WCGRider', he was one of the best no-limit hold'em players on the web, in both six-max and heads-up settings.
Having made it to the top of the online cash game ecosystem and having become a winning player in the live tournament scene, there isn't much left for Polk to accomplish on the felt.
"I think most of my goals in poker right now are more on trying to build my name in the game and less so on individual events," said Polk. "This is amazing for this to happen, but you can't count on this. This is very fortunate. I'm not going to set goals like that. I'm going to continue to play good events and take it from there."
The One Drop High Roller event was the first of 16 events that are scheduled to be streamed by Poker Central's PokerGo. All four days of action were live streamed on a 30-minute delay. In Polk's opinion, the bright lights and the cameras create a different environment that Polk can somewhat take advantage of.
"I think, in general, people play more conservative under the spotlight," said Polk. "I also think, in general, that people don't want to look bad on stream and stuff. So, there is definitely a dynamic there that is different then if they play somewhere else without cameras.
"If they fold something, everybody knows. If they make a bad play, everybody knows. If they bluff at the wrong time and get stacked, everybody knows. So, that dynamic makes people a little bit more conservative. I also think that the money gets to people. I think they stop playing their 'A' game and they just start trying to climb that payjump ladder. But when I play a tournament, I'm there to try and take it down."
The final table was full of top players, leaving no soft spots for Polk to pick on. Los Angeles cash game legend Chris Moore finished in fifth, Jacobson, who took the bad beat from Polk with nine players left, finished in sixth, high-roller regular Rainer Kempe hit the rail in seventh and Andrew Robl fell in eighth.
Bracelet winners Phil Hellmuth, Antonio Esfandiari, Byron Kaverman, Scott Seiver, Dan Colman, Igor Kurganov and Nick Petrnagelo also cashed this event, but fell short of making the final day. Kurganov cashed his second consecutive event after winning his first bracelet with his girlfriend and poker pro Liv Boeree in the $10,000 Tag Team No-Limit Hold'em just a few days earlier.
Relive the action with the live updates
Final Table Results:
1st: Doug Polk - $3,686,865
2nd: Bertrand Grospellier - $2,278,657
3rd: Dario Sammartino - $1,608,295
4th: Haralabos Voulgaris - $1,158,883
5th: Chris Moore - $852,885
6th: Martin Jacobson - $641,382
7th: Rainer Kempe - $493,089
8th: Andrew Robl - $387,732
9th: Mike Kamran - $312,006