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Gossip Column: Landon Tice Concedes Heads-Up Challenge to Bill Perkins; Doug Polk Weighs In

Gossip Column: Landon Tice Concedes Heads-Up Challenge to Bill Perkins; Doug Polk Weighs In
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  • Attreyee Khasnabis July 6, 2021
  • 5 Minutes Read

The Landon Tice vs. Bill Perkins heads-up challenge met a premature end as Tice conceded defeat after only about 25% of the challenge had been played. On July 4, Tice tweeted that he had decided to surrender the heads-up challenge to Perkins after much deliberation.


Before we get to the details of what brought about the surrender from Tice, let’s do a quick recap of how the heads-up challenge came to be.


How It All Started

In February, the duo agreed to play 20,000 hands of $200-$400 No-Limit Hold’em on Americas Cardroom. A side bet was added to the challenge in May.

The challenge, eventually, got underway several months later, in early June.

Tice agreed to grant the recreational high stakes player Perkins a handicap of 9 big blinds for every 100 hands played, unlike other challenges between two pros. It essentially meant Tice would need to win $720,000 over the course of 20,000 hands before he could earn a profit.

At the time the handicap was agreed upon, Tice and many others believed that given the 22-year-old’s skill advantage over Perkins, the handicap wouldn’t be insurmountable for an upcoming full-time poker pro like Tice. However, as the challenge start date approached, Tice started doubting his decision. On May 24, Tice posted a blog sharing his thoughts on his forthcoming heads-up challenge and acknowledged that he did not realize what he was signing himself up for at the time of agreeing to the challenge.

Tice had admitted that he had been caught up in the Polk vs. Negreanu match while commentating on it alongside Joey Ingram. And even though he was not a heads-up specialist, he wanted to tackle a heads-up challenge of his own, and Perkins seemed like the perfect opponent.

Tice had not considered perhaps that though Perkins is not a poker pro, he still has a lot of experience playing high-stakes poker. Moreover, he is a top-notch entrepreneur who used his bargaining prowess well to negotiate favorable terms for himself in the challenge.


Tice vs. Perkins Heads-Up Challenge: A Quick Recap

The challenge kicked off on June 1, and right off the bat, Tice was off to a winning start. However, soon enough, he realized Perkins wasn’t as weak an opponent as Tice had initially thought him to be. If he was hoping Perkins would slip in form as the challenge progressed, he didn’t.

Landon Tice
Landon Tice


Tice won most of the sessions played between the duo, but he never could complete control of the situation as his win-rate was always lagging the 9 BBs/100 hands handicap. In fact, the last two sessions were both won by Perkins.

Bill Perkins
Bill Perkins


When Tice called it quits, the duo had played 12 sessions and a total of 4,907 hands. He was winning $63,720 at the time, but that only equated to a win rate of 3.25 big blinds per 100 hands. Tice ended up losing $112,680 thanks to the handicap.


Waving the White Flag

After the June 29 session, Tice gave serious thought to whether he should continue on or call it quits, and for someone who has been very vocal on being staked for the challenge, his backers likely had a lot of say in the decision as well. On Sunday, he made the decision, which he tweeted.

In a tweet where he posted the graph of his results for the challenge, Tice said the $200,000 side bet was also forfeited. Tice, who won the Mid-States Poker Tour Venetian Main Event last November for $201,529 at just 21 years old, had admitted from the outset of this match that he had sold a lot of action and wouldn’t be taking the brunt of the variance on his own.


Between the side bet and the big blinds he spotted Perkins, Tice had to pay the difference proportionally to how many hands they played and not the entire $720,000. Tice and his backers ended up losing $312,680 to Perkins.

Tice also posted a video acknowledging the mistakes he made said that losing to Perkins was an important life lesson.


Perkins Rejoices

Expectedly Perkins was over the moon after winning the challenge. Perkins is coached by high-stakes cash game pro MJ Gonzales. Gonzales is one of the founders of Hybrid Poker and is in the midst of his own heads-up challenge against Dan Smith. He has coached six-time WSOP bracelet winner Daniel Negreanu as well.

MJ Gonzales


Not surprisingly, Perkins had all of his own action and went on to credit Gonzales and his other coaches for turning him into a “strong player” in just three months of training.


Despite winning the side bet and the match, Perkins said that Tice was likely a big favorite before the match began.


Doug Polk Weighs In

No heads-up challenge is complete without Doug Polk adding his two cents to the matter. The three-time WSOP bracelet winner’s initial reaction to Tice’s surrender was one of surprise.

Doug Polk



Polk has been trying to put together a podcast where Tice and Perkins would talk about the sudden conclusion of their challenge.


It seems like Perkins’s part of the podcast has already been recorded. Next up will be Tice’s coach, Kevin Rabichow.


In the meantime, Polk shared a 2+2 thread where cryptocurrency enthusiast and poker pro Jason Mo had shared his views on the Tice vs. Perkins challenge. He had gone on to call Tice “arrogant” and had said that Tice had “literally accomplished nothing in poker.”


Mo, too, will be a part of Polk’s podcast.


Sharing his own opinion on the matter, Polk said that though Tice is just 22 years of age, he was still fully aware of what he was getting into.


Well, this heads-up challenge has undoubtedly come to an anti-climactic end. Nevertheless, Polk’s upcoming podcast may still end up ruffling some feathers and stir some more controversy. For now, all we can do is wait for the reveal.

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