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Gossip Column: Tony Miles-Shaun Deeb American Ninja Warrior Prop Bet Ends in Twitter Spat & More

Gossip Column: Tony Miles-Shaun Deeb American Ninja Warrior Prop Bet Ends in Twitter Spat & More
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  • Attreyee Khasnabis June 25, 2021
  • 5 Minutes Read

Poker players should really be writing down their prop bets on paper and getting them notarized to avoid confusion over the terms and conditions. Well, that’s something that neither Tony Miles nor Shaun Deeb thought of doing, and now the duo is disputing the terms of their American Ninja Warrior prop bet.

Where Miles and Deeb were seen hashing things out on Twitter, poker legend Phil Galfond used the micro-blogging site to shed some light on his mental health struggles. A brave step to take in a world that is becoming increasingly condescending towards mental health issues.

We wrap up this edition with a quick update from the ongoing Landon Tice vs. Bill Perkins heads-up challenge. While the young pro is still leading the challenge by $144K after 10 sessions, this lead could have been significantly more had Perkins not caught a big bluff on the final hand of Day 10.


Tony Miles & Shaun Deeb Disagree on American Ninja Warrior Prop Bet Terms

Three days ago, we had reported that the 2018 WSOP Main Event runner-up finisher Tony Miles was one step closer to winning his long-standing prop bet against the four-time bracelet winner Shaun Deeb. Now, there seems to be some dispute about the bet between the duo.

Shaun Deeb
Shaun Deeb


Let us quickly recap what the prop bet was about. The two poker players entered into a prop bet in 2018 over a reality show that Miles loved – America Ninja Warrior.

Tony Miles


The prop bet was for Miles to get on the show and get past one round, which is difficult to do as it comprises some relatively tough physical challenges. Deeb gave Miles odds of 25/1, 20/1, and 15/1 over a three-year period in which he had time to complete the bet. Miles put down $5,000, which he would have to hand over to Deeb if he did not complete the challenge in three years.

Miles got a call to the show in 2019 but failed. He tried out again in 2020 and got on the show once more. During this time, he suffered a serious road accident that resulted in a bad shoulder injury. However, he worked hard to get back into shape for a possible re-entry on the show. He finally made it in this year.

You progress to the next round in the show when you hit the buzzer. Miles ended up participating in the show but did not hit the buzzer and thought he failed.

So, here is where the controversy started. America Ninja Warrior has rules that allow players to go to the next round without hitting the buzzer. So, they informed Miles that he had made it to the semi-finals even though he did not hit the buzzer. Miles was surprised as he did not know this was possible, and apparently, even Deeb did not know this.

Miles took to Twitter to clarify his view on the prop bet.


He referenced Deeb’s original tweet from September 4, 2018, in which Deeb wrote about the bet and did say “advance a round.” Miles admitted that at the time, he was under the impression to advance, he would need to “hit the buzzer,” seemingly unaware of the actual ANW rules.

He then revealed that Deeb disagreed “that advancing a round triggers a win for me” and that he had blocked Miles on social media while refusing to discuss the matter.

“In the spirit of sportsmanship and in an attempt to remain positive through this amazing experience, I’ve decided to pay him the $5k,” Miles conceded.

Deep, of course, had his side of the story to share as well.


Deeb released two videos on Twitter addressing the bet, followed by a thread of more information and most of it was very damning towards Miles.


The poker Twitterati for a change seems to be split on the issue. While some have shown support to Miles, others are in agreement with Deeb.


Phil Galfond Talks About Mental Health Issues, Fear of Failure & Returning to Poker

Phil Galfond is a household name for anyone who loves poker. The three-time WSOP bracelet winner created a lot of buzz when he launched his Run It Once (RIO) poker website in 2019. The Maryland poker pro told the poker world before the launch of RIO that he would take it slow at the poker tables and focus on his business interests.

Phil Galfond
Phil Galfond


What not many knew at the time was that Galfond was going through a tough phase in his life as he was finding it difficult to cope with the mental challenges that were confronting him. In a Twitter thread posted on June 24, Galfond opened up about his mental health struggles.


Mental health struggles are something that many people go through, given how stressful life has become at present, but it’s not something people are comfortable opening up about. The top poker pros rarely open up about their mental struggles, and hence a lot of times, the rest of the poker-playing community thinks that the top players have a very strong mental game, and it’s one of the reasons why they are successful.

With a player like Galfond opening up on these issues on social media to admit that he struggled mentally and even sharing details on some of those struggles, it inspires the poker community as mental volatility is something that we all have to deal with.

In his Twitter thread, Galfond explained why he stepped away from the game. He said that the fame of winning WSOP bracelets and playing on popular poker shows like High Stakes Poker only imposed more pressure on him as he subconsciously developed the fear of losing.

“I was well-respected as a player and coach, and I was working on a project I was passionate about. I thought I was making a conscious decision to move on to “bigger & more important things” and was expecting to semi-retire (AKA to stop playing tough online nosebleed games).”

Galfond wrote that he did not think he could do well in the post solver era of poker as he felt that he would not do well in transferring his strengths to the emerging trend. He backed this on his childhood memories of not doing well in school and not being able to do his homework.

“I knew that part of this decision was due to the fact that I’d never studied solvers & that I worried that my strengths as a player wouldn’t translate well in the post-solver era, especially given how little time I had available to dedicate to poker compared to my competition.”

“In school, I never studied, never did my homework. I got by doing well on tests. I couldn’t get myself to work hard, & I didn’t have a good memory. In any school subject that relied on studying and memorizing, I did poorly. I thought that in the post-solver era of poker, the best players would be the ones who studied hardest & memorized solver outputs, & I knew that wouldn’t be me. I was aware that I felt this way, but decided it was a happy coincidence – me moving on to bigger projects at the time poker was changing – & I was content with that.”

Galfond felt that he would not be able to give enough time and attention to study the strategies of the poker solver era and would not be good enough to compete against the modern generation of poker players, and hence he subconsciously decided to semi-retire and launch RIO.

Galfond said that he started to face his fears and see things turn around in his life when he started working with Elliot Roe – a performance coach. Roe worked with Galfond and helped him realize that he had to face his fears instead of run from them. This was one reason why Galfond came out with the Galfond Challenge in 2019, as he wanted to go public and show the poker community that he was willing to play some of the toughest poker players on the circuit and had no problem with winning or losing.

Galfond said that he had subconsciously used distractions in his life to prevent him from facing his real fears. He admitted that things had been tough mentally through the COVID-19 situation, especially in 2021 when his dad passed away. However, he thanked Roe for helping him and said that he was in a good space mentally.

“I realized that I was afraid of studying solvers & not being able to learn as much as my peers from them. Elliot’s course helped me get through that fear, but I didn’t actually start studying because, between running businesses & fatherhood, I didn’t have much time for poker. It wasn’t until months later, through group conversations with Elliot & others, that I realized I wasn’t content moving on from high-level poker to “bigger & more important things” – that was an excuse I made up because I was afraid to try. I absolutely loved playing poker.”

Kudos to Galfond for being so brave and talking about his mental health struggles.


Bill Perkins Catches Huge Bluff on Final Hand of Day 10; Trails Landon Tice by $144K!

Ten sessions have now been completed in the Landon TiceBill Perkins heads-up challenge. After 4,222 hands have been played, the rising star holds an overall lead of $144,255.38 over the hedge fund manager-cum-poker enthusiast. With 15,778 hands left to play out, Tice has increased his overall profit to 8.54 big blinds per 100 hands played, just barely off the pace (9 BBs per 100 hands) he needs to win the challenge.

Landon Tice
Landon Tice


The latest session on June 24 was a winning one for Tice. Although he walked away with a profit of $31,986.60, it could have been much better had Perkins not caught his bluff on the final hand of the session to win the almost $100K pot.

Bill Perkins
Bill Perkins


Day 10 Recap

The 10th session lasted for over three hours, and a total of 494 hands were played. However, even though Tice kept raking up pots through the session, what really stood out was the final hand of the session. With the board open 9-2-8-K-9, Tice bet with 10-7 for about 36,500 into a pot of $20,500. Perkins tanked for a bit before calling with pocket tens and shipped the $94,000 pot. The session ended with Tice booking a $31,986.60 profit.


Day 11 is scheduled to start at 12 PST tomorrow.


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