Three-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Galfond has founded his own poker site with the goal of keeping the online poker dream alive. Over the years, a big part of that dream has been epic high stakes battles for everyone to see.
With the Galfond Challenge, a series of high stakes heads up matches between Phil and his various challengers, Phil is bringing back the glory days of railing high stakes games.
Phil Galfond vs Venividi1993
This was the very first Galfond Challenge for 2020, and things were a mess for Galfond at the start as he racked up a loss of over €900,000 in his €100/€200 PLO match versus Venividi1993. However, on Monday, after a whopping 22,000 hands, Galfond has finally managed to end the day with the overall lead for the first time.
A swingy session enabled Galfond to lead as much as €150,000 on the day only for his opponent to take it all back once again. Ultimately in the end, Galfond managed to finish for his 6th win of at least €100,000 in the past 11 sessions. Venividi won some of it back the following day but remained behind by around two buy-ins.
With over 2,000 hands left on the challenge, only a few sessions remain.
Just minutes after starting, Venividi bluffed off a stack as he called a three-bet and then raised Galfond's small continuation bet on 53K. Galfond called and then called a turn bet and river shove as it ran 7A. Even though he just has KK55, he was good against a zero-equity bluff: Q1034.
On a board of 4[that]79J, Galfond found himself a nice spot. Both players held the nuts but Venividi could only get a Queen hit while Galfond had Q1089 for a massive redraw. The 8 was just what he need as he retook the overall lead. Another stack went to Galfond as both players hit trip 9s but Venividi's Queen kicker didn't play against Galfond's King.
Both were 150 big blinds deep when Venividi check-raised the turn to get stacks in on 6J59. Galfond shoved to get the last €10K in and create a €62K pot, having J1062 for two pair and a heart draw. Venividi wasn't doing great with 10885 for an inferior pair and his own combo draw and found no help on the river. He got stuck €93K at break.
Galfond furthered his lead after the break in two set-ups as he held with top set against a wrap plus flush draw, then he got bottom set in against top two and a straight draw and held there too. Another top set for Galfond on 723 and this time Venividi stuck it in with A543 only to be turned dead. Galfond was up €145K and six figures overall.
What seemed like a €200K+ massacre turned around at about the 375-hand mark. The biggest blow came when Venividi saw his flop bet check-raised on K79. He called, bringing a 10 turn. Galfond potted for €5,611 and Venividi called. On the 5 river, Galfond potted and Venividi shoved about €6K more. Galfond made the call with a king-high flush but lost to AJK4 as Venividi dragged a €63K pot. He continued to crush, and at the next break just under 500 hands, he had reduced the day's deficit to €46K and was almost even overall.
Galfond won consecutive pots on both tables to right the ship. One one, Venividi barreled off with the nut flush blocker and got snapped off by a king-high flush for €42K. On the other, Venividi check-raised a J4K flop and checked the Q turn. He called a pot-sized bet of €6,733 and then called an €18K shove on the Q river. He'd improved to jacks full with AJJ2, but but Galfond had turned the nuts and rivered a sneaky higher boat with A4Q10.
Stacks were reset with Galfond up just below €100K. They battled through 200 more relatively tamed hands until Venividi fired in the "good game."
Afterwards, Galfond looked surprised he'd built a four buy-in lead overall. However, he said it's far too early to celebrate and the best thing to do is stay focused, "It's exciting to be up for the first time, but, no celebrating."
Hands Played: 758
Results: Phil Galfond +€121,486.95
Full Session video: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/584826202
Around 70 hands in, Galfond bet €400 in a raised pot on 88Q and Venividi called with €1,390. Galfond returned with €3,381 and Venividi called. Venividi check-called half pot on the J turn, bringing a 7. He snap-called when Galfond shoved just under pot, only to see his flopped eights full had been one-outed as Galfond held 10943 for the straight flush.
After that intense early showdown, neither of them could really gain the upper hand. They took turns being up around four figures until Venividi won a few pots just before the 300-hand mark which saw him go up about one buy-in.
At around 450 hands in, Galfond gained some when Venividi bluffed off a stack. He barreled off after three-betting as the board ran J39Q8 with Galfond calling down as he held Q5102 for a rivered straight. Venividi turned top pair on the flop into a bluff with K7J5.
Going into the final stretch Galfond was up around €7,000 but Venividi played wildly to close it out. He stacked Galfond on an 829 flop when Galfond flopped 9s and 2s and Venividi had KQQJ. A 10 on the turn sent the pot to Venividi. Venividi was well behind the next time stacks went in as he check-raised a committing amount on 3926 with 10598 for a gutter, top pair and a flush draw. Galfond had the nuts but a 7 gave Venividi the flush he needed to win €42K.
They finally then got stacks in on 2387 with Venividi holding K8Q7 for top two and Galfond 9964 for an overpair plus combo draw. Unlike Venividi, just a few hands before, he bricked the river and found himself stuck almost €60,000. He got some back in the last few hands and wound up down €34K.
Hands Played: 592
Results: Venividi1993 +€34,580.19
Full Session video: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/585639748
The Galfond Challenge with Venividi continues Thursday, with session No. 37.
Every session of The Galfond Challenge presented by Run It Once Poker will be live-streamed on Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/RunItOncePoker