One of the poker industry’s most recognizable names, Doug Polk still continues to bet on poker despite his retirement. As expected of somebody who loves card games so much, poker star Polk announced in 2022 that he was now the majority owner of The Lodge. As Austin’s biggest poker house, The Lodge is considered a mecca for poker lovers from all over the Lone Star state. With Polk’s involvement, many are excited to see where Austin’s poker scene will be headed next. That said, since Polk has been absent from professional poker for quite some time, here’s a quick refresher on who he is and the impact he’s made.
Born on December 16, 1988, Doug Polk was born in Pasadena, California. He spent the majority of his childhood, though, in Raleigh, North Carolina. According to Polk, at only five years old, his father introduced him to chess. This would spark his lifelong love for strategy games. At 15, Polk would enter the world of eSports as a semi-professional gamer.
In his youth, Polk attended the University of North Carolina Wilmington although he did not graduate. During his stint in college, Polk was introduced to poker. He quickly grew to love the game and found he had a talent for it. Soon, he decided to drop out of college to pursue poker full-time with a $10,000 bankroll which he grew from $20.
While Doug has stayed pretty mum about his private life, he did recently share pictures of his long-time girlfriend Katilin in late 2021. The couple, who have been seen on Instagram traveling the world, reside together with their pet dogs.
Considered one of the best poker players of his generation, Doug Polk has had an impressive poker career. After first entering the professional poker circuit in 2011, Polk is considered among the best heads-up poker players in the world. In 2013, he even won against fellow poker pro Brian Sulksy in a highly-publicized match that earned him $740,000. A few years later in 2014, Polk nabbed his first World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet in No Limit Hold’em. By 2017, Polk won his third WSOP bracelet in a match that won him almost $3.7 million.
During his active years, Polk also played in online poker matches. Under the handle of WCGRider, Polk won about $1.5 million in heads-up cash games and Sit & Go’s. He was most active on the Full Tilt online poker site until it was derailed by the infamous Black Friday incident. Throughout his career, Polk has also bested several other high-profile players like the Canadian Daniel Negreanu and Birt Luke Schwartz. When he retired from poker in 2018, Polk had recorded nearly $9.5 million worth of live tournament cashes.
Although Polk’s professional poker career was relatively shorter than many other industry stars, he has already been able to amass a significant fortune. As of 2022, Polk’s net worth is estimated to be around $10 million. According to Polk, the majority of this money came from playing poker and investing in cryptocurrencies. However, much like entrepreneur Derrick Grace, who has boosted his income through various business ventures, Polk has also padded his wealth through different businesses. This is aside from the aforementioned poker room he just invested in.
Most notably, Polk reportedly makes millions from his Upswing Poker coaching site. Since he’s also passionate about digital assets, Polk launched CoinCentral. Described as a website with the goal of becoming “the most trusted publication in crypto”, the site is a free online resource. That said, while Polk is likely to earn some revenue from this, they are lower than all his other earnings. Finally, Polk also has another decent revenue stream via his YouTube channel. By sharing poker tips, insider stories, and crypto news, Polk has said his lifetime YouTube revenue is around $250,000.
Polk is also an avid gamer. A hobby that he retained from his pre-poker days, Polk still regularly plays online games, too. In his lifetime, Polk has competed in the World Cyber Games and professional Warcraft 3 circles. During his college days, Polk was known by the handle T-Rider. Today, he is head of a professional CSGO eSports team. Outside of gaming, Doug is also a big fan of the Vegas Golden Knights, a professional ice hockey team from Nevada. In 2021, Polk and his wife moved from Las Vegas to Austin, Texas.
Though he may not be the richest or the most successful poker player, Doug Polk is among the most memorable. As he begins to focus on his new business venture in Austin, the poker industry can bet that Polk will only continue to shape the industry both at and away from the felt.