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Gossip Column: Phil Galfond Off to a Rocky Start in His Heads-up Challenge, Doug Polk Reacts After Snub From Global Poker Awards

Phil Galfond & Doug Polk
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  • Namita Ghosh January 26, 2020
  • 3 Minutes Read

The Phil Galfond challenge has been the talk of poker town for some time now! The action finally began on January 22 when he went up against his first challenger, the online beast’ VeniVidi1993,’ with the latter pulling ahead to a comfortable lead in the first three days of their heads-up match. While it’s still early days in the heads-up contest, there is more to follow with Brandon Adams, Chance Kornuth, Luke Schwartz, and ‘ActionFreak,’ all lined up next.

Not all good runs go the same way though, as Doug Polk, in spite of bringing in the best numbers among poker content creators, was notably missing from the nomination list of the Global Poker Awards. Polk did not hesitate and posted a series of Tweets expressing his disappointment at the snub.


Phil Galfond Down After 3 Days in Clash Against ‘VeniVidi1993’

Last November, Run It Once (RIO) Poker founder Phil Galfond turned quite a few heads when he issued his own ‘Durrrr Challenge’ to the poker community, challenging pretty much everyone who had the bankroll to play him heads-up. The high-stakes PLO specialist has been working overtime to get traffic to his online poker site, and the challenge was just one of the ways to get the poker player’s attention.

Phil Galfond
Phil Galfond

And it was only a matter of time before he got challengers. Within weeks, Galfond saw his bankroll challenged by the likes of Bill Perkins, Dan’ Jungleman’ Cates, and Fernando Habegger, aka Jnandez.

While Galfond has also set up heads-up duels with Brandon Adams, Chance Kornuth, Luke Schwartz, and ‘ActionFreak,’ the first of these exciting contests began against online phenom’ VeniVidi1993’ on January 22.

There was a lot of anticipation around these high stakes matches, and the first three days of the contest has pretty much delivered on expectations. Both have already played around 1,927 hands of their 25,000-hand challenge across €100-€200 heads-up PLO on RIO Poker.

Galfond who’s been busy with RIO Poker these past few years and has been off the felts took to Twitter to share his feelings before the match.

Day 1 took four hours of battle and by the time it got over for the day, ‘VeniVidi1993’ had taken an early lead to win €72,527.

Galfond may have been on the losing side of things but he seemed to have enjoyed the clash. “It was fun. Obviously I didn’t win Day 1, but it felt great to be back in the action. I enjoyed it,” Galfond said on the livestream after the match.

Talking about his opponent, Galfond said, “I think he played kind of similarly to what I expected, but I didn’t have very clear expectations. He played very well. What I was looking forward to today, honestly, coming back from not doing this for awhile, I was looking to not feel lost, essentially. That was kind of the scary outcome. That I get in there and it’s too fast and furious and I just feel like I’m lost. I didn’t feel lost, so I’m optimistic. Going forward, I think that the way that I play I can get stronger as we go.”

Well, the way things went on the first day certainly got the poker world interested. Galfond and ‘VeniVidi1993′ played another 715 hands on January 23, and this time Galfond came out on top and won €2,615.

“Yesterday, the result was worse, but I felt better than I did today. Today kind of felt like I couldn’t get anything going or what I was trying to do wasn’t working. [VeniVidi1993] played very tough today, for sure,” Galfond shared.

He also updated his Twitter followers on the news.

Watch the action from Day 1 and Day 2 below.


However, Galfond’s comeback was short-lived as ‘VeniVidi1993’ walloped his hard on Day 3, where they played 557 hands of €100-€200 heads-up PLO. The player pocketed €84,437 for his day’s efforts. Overall in three days, VeniVidi1993 is up €84,437 against Galfond.

Watch the action from Day 3 below.

The RIO Poker founder later speaking about the ongoing heads-up challenge on the RIO Poker Twitch channel, told Joe Stapleton, “At the beginning, I would’ve said that I started off running bad, but I think I definitely was on my C game today and I think he was on his A game,” Galfond said of Friday’s play against ‘VeniVidi1993.’ “So I feel like, actually, I expected myself to get a little stronger each day but so far the opposite has happened. That happens, we all have off days, but I definitely felt like he was getting the better of me today.”

So over the last three days, Galfond and ‘VeniVidi1993’ have already played 1,927 hands. Apart from the money on stake, Galfond has a side bet of €200,000 to the €100,000 of ‘VeniVidi1993’. Whoever wins the challenge will win the side bet along with the winnings from the heads-up contest.


Doug Polk Upset Over Snub From Global Poker Awards

Popular YouTuber and three-time WSOP bracelet winner Doug Polk took to Twitter to voice his disappointment when he saw that his name was absent in the nomination list for the Global Poker Awards (GPA) this year. The nomination list was announced on Friday with fellow YouTuber Joey Ingram getting an incredible four nominations.

Doug Polk
Doug Polk

The GPA ceremony will be hosted at the PokerGO Studio in Las Vegas on March 6, where it will hand out awards in 19 categories.

Polk posted a series of Tweets sharing his honest feelings on not being nominated in the Vlogger of the Year and Media Content of the Year category.

Polk listed all the nominated names and even pointed out that one of them, Jonathan Little, did not even post vlogs.

He then posted viewership numbers to prove that he has the most viewed poker channel. Polk had accumulated 35 Million views from his 74 videos last year, which surpass most of the other poker YouTuber’s view count by a considerable margin.

Polk even ranted that he did not make it in the list for the media moment of the year.





Polk received support from several poker players. Mike McDonald and Norman Chad replied to the thread and tweeted,


GPI President Eric Danis jumped in to clarify things, and said, “The list we see today is the result of a long process that involved a significant number of prominent figures from the poker industry. We have asked for submissions in the media content categories since the second year of the Global Poker Awards.”

“It’s simply impossible to put it on four members of GPI/THM to find all media content out there to add to preliminary lists,” he added.

Addressing the matter at hand, Danis said, “I will personally reach out to Mr Polk at the end of this year to make sure that his amazing talents are recognized next year. We would love to have Doug be part of several voting panels in the future.”

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