Three more poker pros have taken up Phil Galfond on his ultra-high stakes heads-up challenge. Prepared to win or lose a lot of money are “Venividi1993,” whose real name is unknown (to us, at least), Dan “Jungleman” Cates, and Brandon Adams.
Though two challengers were previously announced, the three named above only brings the total to four, as Fernando “JNandez87” Habegger has pulled out of the contest.
In November, Galfond, the founder of the young online poker room Run It Once, issued two separate heads-up challenges. The first was extended to coaches on competing sites. Galfond wanted to play Pot-Limit Omaha for 50,000 hands at a minimum of 100/200 stakes. He also wanted a sidebet of 10 buy-ins, giving his opponent 3:1 odds.
For non-coaches, it’s largely the same, but Galfond left open the possibility to drop the stakes as low as 25/50. Opponents who stream the contest on Run It Once would get priority.
As with the two previously announced matches, the challenges were up for negotiation. The Venividi1993 contest will go for 25,000 hands rather than 50,000. The two will compete in €100/€200 Pot-Limit Omaha on Run It Once. Galfond is putting up €200,000 versus Veni’s €100,000 for the side bet. With the side bet, whoever finishes the heads-up challenge with a profit wins the additional money. Thus, if, say, Galfond is up a single Euro after 25,000 hands, he wins that Euro plus €100,000 from Veni.
Galfond’s match with Cates is a bit smaller, only 7,500 hands. The stakes and game are the same, but the sidebet has yet to be negotiated. The side bet, though, will be for even money.
The heads-up challenge against Brandon Adams is different. That one will be played live, though the venue has not been announced. Rather than playing for a set number of hands, they will play for 40 hours. The sidebet is Galfond’s $150,000 against Adams’ $100,000. The plan is to start next summer and stream the competition, if possible.
As for Fernando Habegger, he initially agreed to €100/€200 Pot-Limit Omaha for 50,000 hands. The sidebet was massive: Galfond’s €1,000,000 against Habegger’s €200,000.
This week, though, Habegger announced that he had to withdraw from the match. He said his main goal was to have a “fun and educational match,” but he came to realize that playing for that long, on a live stream, and at those stakes would take more focus and time than he was willing to give.
“In short,” he said, “I am not willing to accept my backers’ money knowing I won’t be fully committed to their EV or sacrifice my existing commitments to my members.”
The first player to accept Galfond’s challenge was Bill Perkins, who will be playing with his “poker lifestyle” crew, the Thirst Lounge. The match will be €100/€200 Pot-Limit Omaha for 50,000 hands or a €400,000 stop-loss. The sidebet is Galfond’s €800,000 versus Perkins’ €200,000.