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PLO legend Phil Galfond (cover image) is putting up quite the show in his ongoing heads-up challenge against mystery online phenom ‘VeniVidi1993’, providing some much-needed reprieve in these trying times of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was in February when Galfond got his much-anticipated Galfond Challenge off the ground. The first of many challengers he has lined up is the anonymous high-stakes crusher ‘VeniVidi1993’. Set to play a total of 25,000 hands of €100/€200 heads-up PLO on Run It Once (RIO) Poker, Galfond managed to dig himself a hole after being stuck almost €900,240 in the 9,927 hands they played in the first 15 sessions of the challenge.
While all the time tweeting his progress in the ongoing challenge, by the 15th session, it looked like Galfond was ready to throw in the towel and cut his losses. Deciding to take a few weeks off, Galfond surprised many when he announced on March 4 that he was ready to continue the challenge. And guess what?! Looking at his current form, he might just have a shot at coming out of this as the winner!
The duo has played another 7,624 hands across 13 sessions since the break, and Galfond has been crushing his opponent for the most part. Booking a profit in 10 of the last 13 sessions, Galfond has managed to recover over 60% of his losses and is presently €318,895 in the red against ‘VeniVidi1993.’ With just another 7,449 hands to go, if Galfond maintains his current win rate, he stands to not only win the challenge but to also take down the side bet for an additional €100,000.
Galfond’s recent winning streak seems to have sent ‘VeniVidi1993’ scuttling for some respite. The player has asked for a break, and the duo is set to next resume their match on Thursday.
Galfond shared the news on Twitter, remembering how he had to ask for time off after his massive losing spree. True to the spirit of sportsmanship, Galfond came out in praise of his opponent and acknowledged that he deserved respect for how he had fought the challenge so far.
VeniVidi1993 has decided to take a couple of days off to mentally reset.
We’ll resume the match on Thursday.
— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) March 22, 2020
Reminder: I took time off after a rough stretch & had your support & respect for it.
Veni seems to be taking this run at least as well & he’s like a decade younger than me.
Feel free to root for me 🙂 but win or lose, I hope Veni comes away from this w/ the respect he deserves. https://t.co/fe8fQXeml3
— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) March 22, 2020
Phil Galfond resumed his Heads-Up Challenge against ‘VeniVidi1993’ on March 4, which was Day 16 of the duel. The duo played 574 hands during this session, and it turned out to be a smashing comeback for Galfond, who booked his most productive day in the challenge so far, raking in a profit of €183,481.38. With this, Galfond made up for nearly 20% of the €900,240 he was down to the latter!
They played another 12 more sessions after that. Even though Galfond lost €21,571 in the next session, the PLO specialist caught up soon after and came out ahead in the majority of the sessions barring two other losing days. One of his standout days was on March 15 (Day 25) that saw Galfond taking off €139,485 from ‘VeniVedi1993’.
Galfond even tweeted his views after the match.
It has been a little while and circumstances have changed. Here are some more of my thoughts on the first #GalfondChallenge match.
Back to the tables on Thursday! pic.twitter.com/FhIrzCdV19
— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) March 17, 2020
While I'm trying not to get caught up in the narrative & the dream of a massive comeback, I can still see that win or lose, a cool story is unfolding with the #GalfondChallenge: Ex top player challenges world, loses $1m promptly, clearly washed up & beaten down… etc 🙂(1/3) https://t.co/oEP80cWZaC
— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) March 18, 2020
Galfond’s blistering run caught a lot of attention from the poker community, and Joe Ingram was among those who commented.
Lost in the midst of the worldwide panic is @PhilGalfond is attempting one of the greatest comebacks in the history of challenges – down $900k before the restart took place and after today is ONLY down $383k with 9,000 more hands left.
— Exotic Joey Ingram (@Joeingram1) March 19, 2020
Continuing his winning form, Galfond booked a profit of €110,752 on Day 26 and continued to apply pressure on ‘VeniVidi1993’ over the next two sessions. On Day 28, even before the session could end, and just after 503 hands, ‘VeniVedi1993’ decided to call it a day. By then, Galfond was already up €140,979 for the day.
VeniVidi1993 has asked for a few days off, and the Galfond Challenge will next resume on Thursday.
|Day||Hands Played||Day's Winner||Amount Won|
|Day 16 (Mar 5)||574||Phil Galfond||€183,481|
|Day 17 (Mar 6)||582||‘VeniVidi1993’||€21,571|
|Day 18 (Mar 7)||555||Phil Galfond||€27,198|
|Day 19 (Mar 8)||638||Phil Galfond||€26,018|
|Day 20 (Mar 10)||566||Phil Galfond||€92,803|
|Day 21 (Mar 11)||576||Phil Galfond||€3,766|
|Day 22 (Mar 12)||556||‘VeniVidi1993’||€88,465|
|Day 23 (Mar 13)||598||Phil Galfond||€23,821|
|Day 24 (Mar 14)||628||Phil Galfond||€19,099|
|Day 25 (Mar 15)||664||Phil Galfond||€139,485|
|Day 26 (Mar 20)||539||Phil Galfond||€110,752|
|Day 27 (Mar 21)||645||‘VeniVidi1993’||€76,026|
|Day 28 (Mar 22)||503||Phil Galfond||€140,979|
As things stand presently, Galfond is still €318,895 in the red. But with 7,449 hands remaining, it could always go either which way. Will Galfond be able to overcome the odds? Looks like we will have to wait to find out!