Polk and Matusow Go to War – A Heads Up Feud In the Making

matusow polk heads up challenge

5 minutes

Last Updated: October 4, 2023

Doug Polk and Mike “The Mouth” Matusow are easily two of the most outspoken and polarizing characters in the poker world. So, it comes as no surprise that every once in a while they clash with each other and cause a bit of a stir on the social networks.

This time, the heat between the two popular players went up higher than usual, escalating into a challenge to a high stakes mixed games duel at The Lodge.

Currently, the ball is in Mike’s court, with Polk offering to play $1k/2k heads up Omaha 8/Stud 8 match on a live stream at his poker club in Austin, Texas.

As we wait to see what transpires and whether The Mouth actually takes Polk up on his challenge, let’s take a look at what happened to spark the controversy in the first place.

Polk Fires First Shots

Just a few days ago, Mike Matusow took to the social platform X (formerly Twitter) and asked his followers if he should get into the poker coaching streets.

Mike was asking his fans what they thought specifically about him starting a coaching program for Omaha 8 and Stud 8, his specialty games, but found a lot of resistance from the community.

In fact, when the poll was over and done with, 62.1% of the 1,639 people who voted said that Mike “sucks” and should not start coaching.

Polk, never one to keep quiet, responded to the Tweet briefly but quite provocatively, knowing almost certainly that he would get a raise out of the LA-born pro.

This Tweet was enough to make Matusow lose his cool and write back to Polk, sparking a major feud that we may just see move to the green felt quite soon.

Matusow Fights Back

Only briefly after Polk responded to Mike’s initial Tweet, echoing the opinions of a big part of the poker community, Mike wrote back and offered to put his money where his mouth was.

Probably to his surprise, Doug did not wait too long before coming back with a very honest and inviting response, offering to play Mike heads up for $1k/2k on a live stream at The Lodge.

Considering that Doug Polk is a NLH heads-up specialist and has very little experience playing mixed games at all, it would seem like this was a no-brainer for Matusow, who has spent a lifetime boasting about his O8/Stud 8 skills.

And yet, no sooner than the challenge was made did Mike come back with a caveat, saying he would not play with his hole cards showing and would only play on stream if only the board cards were revealed.

Doug once again replied in a bit of a zesty way, explaining how there would be no better opportunity for Mike to advertise his incredible skills to the students he is looking to take on in the future.

It was at this point that the feud got a bit out of hand, with Matusow using some harsh language and even brining up Polk’s supposed coaching of Nik Airball for his match against Matt Berkey.

Mike stated he believes he has an edge, said he wanted to play poker and not collect clicks and views, and would beat Polk for a million dollars.

And that was it! Doug accepted all of Mike’s terms, agreed to play with no hole cards shown, and told Matusow to wire $500k to The Lodge to get the match set up.

Not only that, but Polk announced he would be crushing Mike regardless of his lack of experience in the games and that he looks forward to the match.

Who Wins the Matusow vs. Polk Heads up Match?

With the tables now seemingly set, and all that remains is for Mike to wire the money and the date to be set, the real question is, who would win if the match were to transpire?

Of course, there are many in the poker community who believe Matusow will back out of the challenge and find reasons not to play, but supposing it did happen, who would be the favorite?

On the one hand, it is undeniable that Matusow has a lot more experience playing mixed games, as he has been playing them for decades, and these games have been his bread and butter.

And yet, it’s been a while since he recorded any significant success in any format of poker, with many younger mixed game players like Shaun Deeb and Benny Glaser dominating the fields at the WSOP and beyond.

Mike’s game may have been enough to beat everyone back in the 90s and early 2000s, but a lot has changed since then, primarily in the way poker is studied by modern-day pros.

Polk, on the other hand, is the image of a modern-era poker pro who thrives on learning the games with the help of computers, and who has spent countless hours studying poker simulations that have made him a beast on the felt.

Doug is one of the all-time greats when it comes to heads up poker, and his skills in tournament poker are not too shabby either, making him a formidable opponent for anyone.

His apparent lack of experience in mixed games is certainly a problem, but a few weeks should be plenty of time for Doug to brush up on skills needed to win in a limit poker format that would be played in this match.

Doug’s incredible poker talents and heads up skills would definitely come into light, and the fact he has been playing poker for hundreds of thousands on the regular lately would also come into play.

While the match would likely not be as big of a pushover as Polk seems to believe, it is likely that even with just a couple of weeks to train, Polk could become a favorite against the 65 year-old pro.

All that remains now is to wait and see what Mike does next and whether or not he accepts the heads up challenge that could be the biggest one in his entire career.

Stay tuned for more updates on the challenge and the drama away from the felt, as well as regular updates if the match actually does go down in the foreseeable future.

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