08:53
26 Nov

Doug Polk is a household name in the poker community. From crushing players in high-stakes heads-up cash games to dissecting poker drama and news on his YouTube channel, he has been a staple for the better part of a decade.

In 2018, Polk decided to officially retire from the game of poker, but came out of retirement just long enough to play a much anticipated heads-up match before stepping away from the game again. So, is Doug Polk truly retired from the game?


Chess, Warcraft, and Poker

Polk’s love for strategy games began when his father introduced him to chess at the age of five. He invoked the tutelage of a grandmaster and began playing in tournaments and crushing the man who taught him the game.

As Polk grew older, he became fond of Warcraft, a real-time strategy video game and began competing in numerous World Cyber Games (WCG) tournaments, which is actually where he got his nickname WCGRider.”

He attended University of North Carolina Wilmington, but decided to drop-out and move to Las Vegas after amassing a healthy bankroll. It wasn’t until 2009 that Polk began playing what would become his specialty, Heads-up No Limit Hold’em.

Polk would go on to climb the ranks of the online Heads-up world and claim his spot in the upper echelon. He also has an impressive live tournament history, winning over $9 million, with $4,539,609 of that coming in the World Series of Poker. Polk has also won three bracelets.


Retirement?

Despite the young grinder’s success, Polk decided to call it quits in September of 2018 after completing the $100-$10,000 Bankroll Challenge, an endeavor which took him a little over two years to complete.

“The bottom line here is, I don’t think I see myself playing poker anymore,” Polk said in his bankroll challenge video. “I do see myself being part of the community, in terms of social media or creating content, but I don’t see myself playing.”

True to his word, Polk did step away from playing the game for the better part of two years, but in March 2020, he posted a video titled “This Is My Final Poker Video,” where he explained that he was leaving the poker industry as a whole.

“I want to make videos in a more mainstream environment,” Polk said. “I want to be able to talk about different topics I find interesting. I don’t want to have to wake up and make videos about pocket jacks.”

Polk did stop making poker content, but for a short time. He briefly came out of retirement to take on Daniel Negreanu in a much-anticipated heads-up match.

The match started in July and ended in February of this year with loads of coverage on his channel. He won $1.2 million over 25,000 hands along with additional side bets.

Polk made it clear that he was not going to play a rematch or take on any additional challenges after winning his match with Negreanu, and virtually retired from the game again. However, he began making poker content on his YouTube channel again despite his claims last March.

But is he actually retired from the game? In April, Bill Perkins tweeted that he had played Polk Heads-up for about 1,500 hands.

Despite his claims of retirement, it’s clear that Polk will be present in the poker scene for the foreseeable future whether he plays random Heads-up matches, discusses the later poker drama on his channel, or continues coaching on his training site Upswing Poker.

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