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Sep 07, 2018

Doug Polk Completes $10k Bankroll Challenge – Wins $6.7k on Final Day

By RTR Dennis

665x200 aug18 doug polk

Doug Polk began a bankroll challenge over two years ago, where the goal was to turn $100 into $10,000. This task doesn't seem so difficult for a highly skilled poker player like him. However, it becomes far more challenging than considering that he started out in the micro stakes and worked his way up.

After taking some lengthy breaks, Polk has now completed the challenge by running his $100 bankroll up to $10k. Keep reading to find out why this challenge began and how he was able to complete it — including a final day where he won nearly $6,700!

Origins of Doug Polk's Bankroll Challenge

Doug Polk's bankroll challenge hearkens back to the mid-2000s, when Chris "Jesus" Ferguson went from $0 to $10,000. Ferguson won $2 in a freeroll tournament to start his climb and eventually hit the $10k mark in September 2007 — around 18 months after he started.

Of course, online poker was much different over a decade ago. The game has become far tougher today, causing many to wonder if it's even possible to accomplish what Ferguson pulled off.

Polk wanted to show that it's indeed within the realm of possibility. And he chose to undertake the challenge by only playing micro stakes/low stakes cash games, sit n' gos, and multi-table tournaments on WSOP.com Nevada.

"What I am hoping to prove with this challenge is simple," he said. "I want people to know that even in the tough ecosystem of today’s online poker games, you can still run up a bankroll."

He mostly stuck to SNGs and MTTs and explained his rationale with the following: “Generally speaking when you have a small bankroll, it’s better to play MTTs/SNGs. Because rake is only taken once, it ends up being a much lower percentage of the total play amount.”

Polk also utilized a sensible approach and only moved up in limits when he had the necessary bankroll to do so. The famed poker pro live-streamed all of his sessions over the course of the challenge on his Upswing Poker Twitch channel.

Timeline of Doug Polk's Efforts to Build a $10,000 Bankroll

Doug Polk got off to a slow start when the challenge started in 2016. He had a rocky up-and-down year that saw him end with $894 over 27 sessions. Of course, the toughest part of a challenge like this is getting over the hump in the beginning.

Polk didn't fare much better in 2017, increasing his bankroll to just $1,364 over 14 sessions. Although he's one of the world's top players, Polk was clearly losing his passion for poker and struggling to put in the hours.

Nevertheless, he rededicated himself in August 2018 — two years after the challenge originally began. This time around, Polk had some huge sessions that catapulted his bankroll to new heights.

He had a big day on August 12 that pushed his funds to $2,303. On August 21, he boosted his bankroll to $3,318.

Re-energized on August 22, Polk took shots at 200NL and 500NL during a huge session that ultimately increased his funds to over $10,100.

Doug's Bankroll Rockets towards $10k on Final Day

August 22 is definitely the most-interesting day of Polk's challenge. After all, this is when he won two-thirds of the money needed to finish the job.

The day began like a normal session, with Polk playing a mixture of 50NL, 100NL, and 200NL cash games. It didn't seem like things were going his way early on after his trips stumbled into a rivered full house.

However, he began accumulating a steady stream of profits while multi-tabling 200NL. His bankroll reached $4000 after four hours.

Polk’s funds dipped at this point, but he quickly recovered and eventually reached $6000 within the next three hours. It's at this time that Polk took a shot at 500NL, noting that he might suffer some "bruises" along the way.

The bruises never came, though, as he continued experiencing success at NL500. Thanks to a mix of great play and a good run, Polk increased his bankroll to over $9,600. He then dropped back down to 200NL as a safe point to earn the final $400.

Waiting on NL200 opponents, he switched to PLO200 for a while. Polk got impatient, though, and started playing 500NL again. After over an hour, he burst past the $10,000 mark and completed a challenge that had lasted for over two years and 58 sessions.

Doug and his girlfriend, Katie, celebrated by opening a bottle of champagne after the marathon 11-hour session.

Players Speak on Polk Finishing the Challenge

Several players commented on Polk's Bankroll Challenge page at Upswing Poker. Most of the commenters were congratulatory, thanking him for streaming the sessions and providing analysis.

However, one naysayer thought that Polk was taking risks on the final day that a normal low stakes player wouldn't have. Here are some of the choice comments:

  • Bald F. Guy: "Well done Doug, turn the graph upside down and thats my typical bankroll."
  • Gary Randall: "What an awesome job. Can't thank you enough for doing the challenge."
  • Sionist Jewels: "very nice job thank you so much for giving value to poker communes."
  • Arnold Bustarde: "The guy won the challenge but didn't even follow through with his strict bankroll rules. Very misleading. He took very risky shots when he struggled at the micros throughout the challenge."
  • Gary Randall: "What does that matter? Rules? Rules shmooles, he did it. And BTW, him just doing it is NOT the nugget here. Getting the inside look and watching him play in an environment that 95% of active online players play in was the real value."
  • Mike Brady: "He got from 1k -> 3k by beating micro stakes cash games, and then took an aggressive 10 buy-in shot at 500NL and he would have moved down if he lost."

Is Doug Polk Retiring from Poker After This?

Following his victory celebration, Polk told his Twitch followers that he won’t be playing poker too much in the near future. While he’ll continue making content for his poker YouTube channel and Upswing Lab, he’s not going to spend much time on the live or online felt.

It's hard to say whether this officially constitutes a retirement from poker. Perhaps it'll be more like Fedor Holz, who retired from the game but continues to play off and on. In any case, Polk can now rest easy that he completed his $10k bankroll challenge.

In addition to having a successful poker channel, he's also one of the most-popular cryptocurrency YouTubers. Doug Polk Crypto has amassed over 200,000 followers and continues growing.

That said, I see his future involving more YouTube videos for the growing crypto industry. Polk also heavily invests into cryptocurrencies.