Phil Galfond has dug himself a deep hole during the first week of his €100/€200 PLO challenge against “VeniVidi1993,” falling behind by more than €327,000 ($360,000) after nearly 4,000 hands of the 25,000-hand heads-up contest.
Galfond put together a nearly break-even session on Tuesday, playing 703 hands and losing just €13.31 ($14.46) over that time.
Galfond Sees Plenty of Time for Luck to Turn
But VeniVidi1993 has built an imposing lead, and Galford can’t afford to tread water. Monday’s session led to much of the damage, as VeniVidi picked up more than €155,000 ($170,000) in winnings to nearly double his advantage.
Galfond stands to lose even more than the current margin suggests. He offered VeniVidi a large side bet at 2:1 odds, and would owe an additional €200,000 ($220,000) should he go on to lose the match. According to a PocketFives.com report, Galfond says that either side has the right to forfeit the match early if they are willing to also pay out the side bet.
The nice thing about being down €327k in 3.2k hands is that you can be absolutely certain that you’re running bad!
Yesterday was the worst day yet but my focus was good, even when getting smashed, so I’m happy with how I handled what I could control. Back at it in 90 minutes! pic.twitter.com/wNcxQmrjY6
— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) January 28, 2020
Galfond doesn’t sound like a man ready to give in, though. The founder of Run It Once Poker suggested that no matter how much he might be getting out-classed in the match so far, he was also running bad to start the match.
The nice thing about being down €327k in 3.2k hands is that you can be absolutely certain that you’re running bad,” Galfond wrote on Twitter after Monday’s session. “Yesterday was the worst day yet but my focus was good, even when getting smashed, so I’m happy with how I handled what I could control.”
On Wednesday, Galfond shared a graph of the first six days of the match, showing that while he might be down big, results this bad were highly unlikely, even if he were playing horrible poker.
As requested, graph of the #GalfondChallenge to date with red & blue lines added.
To call it an ugly start would be an understatement. Even if I were a 15bb/100 loser, a run this bad or worse (in AIEV) is ~5% likely.
It’s the perfect setup for an amazing comeback story! ?? pic.twitter.com/d7Fww0bCgg
— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) January 29, 2020
“It’s the perfect setup for an amazing comeback story,” he wrote.
Challengers Lining Up for Heads-Up Battles
Galfond announced his challenge – similar to the infamous Durrrr Challenge, which was never actually completed – in November. He offered to play anyone outside of the Run It Once team in a heads-up match in no-limit hold ’em, pot-limit Omaha, or limit Omaha, preferably at stakes of $100/$200 or higher. He suggested that the matches would be 50,000 hands long, though the VeniVidi1993 challenge is scheduled for only half as many.
Challengers emerged quickly to take that offer. Bill Perkins, Daniel “Jungleman” Cates, and Luke Schwartz are among the names that have publicly said they would play Galfond in high-stakes, heads-up matches.
Galfond owns three World Series of Poker bracelets, two of which came from PLO tournaments. The Hendon Mob credits him with nearly $3 million in lifetime tournament winnings. He is best know for his cash game play, particularly online, where he has dominated high-stakes tables for years under the name “OMGClayAiken.”