Phil Galfond, the founder of the young online poker room Run It Once Poker (RIO) and former high stakes poker pro, issued a challenge yesterday to all comers. Posting on the Run It Once blog, Galfond is looking for people to take him on in high stakes heads-up matches.
The challenge outline
Galfond has a couple variations of the idea in mind. The first is the “Open PLO Coach Challenge.” This one is open to anybody who makes coaching videos for a competing site (meaning not RIO). Comparing it to the old Durrrr Challenge, Galfond set the terms at heads-up Pot-Limit Omaha with stakes of at least 100/200, with 50,000 total hands played. He also wants a side bet of 10 buy-ins, on which he is giving challengers 3:1 odds.
For all non-coaches, he wants to play 100/200 through 300/600 Pot-Limit Omaha, but would be willing to go down as low as 25/50 for the right opponent. He is also open to other game types if need be.
He wants to play on Run It Once Poker, but would consider playing on other sites. The poker community, while generally liking the idea of this kind of challenge and knowing Galfond is an upstanding citizen, is mostly averse to the idea of challengers facing off against the owner of a site on his own poker room, so prospective opponents might demand he play on a site of their choosing. Jurisdiction issues might also require alternate venues.
Opponents must accept that Galfond may record the match to make training videos or might stream the match. Those who are themselves willing to stream the proceedings, as long as they are played on RIO, get priority.
Bill Perkins wants to take a swing
One person has already spoken up, willing to give it a go: businessman and avid poker player, Bill Perkins.
Perkins wants to make some adjustments to the terms, though. In addition to the 50,000 hand cap, he wants to install a stop-loss at 10 buy-ins. Perkins also wants to be able to tag-out with any of his buddies in a poker group called “The Thirst Lounge” and prohibit Galfond from watching the streams of his play. Despite Galfond not wanting the side bets for non-coaches, Perkins would like a 10 buy-in side bet at 4:1 odds. He has also requested that Galfond put a banner for his book on his site, along with a purchase link for a period of one year.
Galfond countered, saying he was good with everything except the 10 buy-in cap on losses. If that could be removed and the stakes can be at least 100/200, Galfond is willing to give Perkins 6:1 odds on a side bet and the ability to switch between No-Limit Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha. And if Galfond wins, he will donate 15% of his winnings to a charity of Perkins’ choice and use another 15% to buy copies of his book.
Perkins is still insisting on the stop-loss number. No other public discussion has taken place.
Perkins continued to insist on the stop-loss number and after some back-and-forth, the two men agreed to a 20 buy-in “freezeout” number.
Galfond says he has had 11 challengers so far; Perkins is the only one made public to this point.