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Gossip Column: Galfond Challenge is Back; Dan Cates to Take on Phil Galfond Starting February 2

Gossip Column: Galfond Challenge is Back
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  • Attreyee Khasnabis February 1, 2023
  • 3 Minutes Read

The Galfond Challenge is back with a PLO heads-up challenge that has been in the making for almost four years! We are talking about the Phil Galfond vs. Dan ‘Jungleman’ Cates match that has been brewing since December 2019 but never saw the day of light for various logistical issues. It seems like the time has finally come for the two WSOP bracelet winners to get down to business to settle the discussion on who among them is the better PLO player.

The online PLO heads-up match will see the duo playing 7,500 hands at $100/$200 stakes across two tables on starting from February 2 (8 AM PT).

Each session, and every hand, will likely be live-streamed on Galfond’s YouTube channel, but the PLO pro said there won’t be standard commentary, although Galfond will be talking to his audience while streaming.

Since the Galfond Challenge was first launched in 2019, the challenge’s namesake has remained undefeated in his matches against a litany of poker giants. Beginning with online poker pro “Venividi1993,” the poker coach has bested the likes of Ioannis “ActionFreak” Kontonatsios, Chip Leader Coaching founder Chance Kornuth and Brandon Adams. It remains to be seen if Cates can pull a Tom Dwan and end Galfond’s winning streak like Dwan halted Phil Hellmuth‘s winning spree in High Stakes Duel.


A Heads-Up Challenge Four Years in the Making

The upcoming match was first proposed in December 2019 when Galfond challenged Cates during a cash game session at Bellagio and recorded it on his mobile phone. Now, not only did Cates accept the challenge, but he was more than confident of wiping out his challenger: “I’m here to teach you a lesson. I’m going to break your spirit. That’s what I’m trying to do. I’m not even trying to break your bankroll, I’m just trying to break your spirit,” Cates can be heard telling Galfond in the video.

The duo agreed to play 7,500 hands of high-stakes PLO on 1-to-1 odds, making it one of the shortest heads-up matches in the Galfond Challenge series. However, a date for the match was left undecided.

Five months later, while battling ‘ActionFreak’ aka Ioannis Kontonatsios, Galfond took a break to play a ‘mini challenge’ against Cates. The ‘mini challenge’ saw Galfond and Cates play 750 hands of €100/€200 PLO on the former’s Run it Once Poker.

The Run It Once Poker founder was on a winning streak back then and, expectedly, decimated Jungleman, ending the challenge €86,870 richer.

In August 2021, just as Galfond won the heads-up challenge against Brandon Adams, his fourth challenger, Cates tweeted a special message for Galfond.

A month later, Cates joined the elite line-up of coaches at Galfond’s poker training site, Run it Once.

Despite all the hype, the match between the duo has been stuck in limbo for a long time. Well, the wait is now over.

Galfond told PokerNews that the challenge would take place on In previous Galfond Challenges, there’s been a side bet attached to the cash game, but the former Full Tilt Poker crusher said he is still determining if a side bet will be added to this one.

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