I hope Phil Galfond is attracting a lot of traffic to his online poker room, Run It Once, as the result of the Galfond Challenge, because he needs to generate a lot of rake for the beating he is taking so far. There is still a long way to go against VeniVidi1993 and several more challenges lined up, so Galfond has plenty of time to make a comeback, but hoo boy, it’s not going well right now.
Galfond and VeniVidi1993 began their competition on January 22nd. They have battled heads-up for eleven days in total. Out of those eleven days, Galfond has come out on top just once. All told, he has lost €569,164.31 against his first challenger across 7,583 hands.
The terms of this initial challenge are 25,000 hands of €100/€200 Pot-Limit Omaha. There is also a sidebet of Galfond’s €200,000 versus VeniVidi1993’s €100,000. The player who ends up in the black after all 25,000 hands are played wins the sidebet, so Galfond is staring down the barrel of an additional €200,000 loss. Either player can quit at any time, too, but if they do, they lose the sidebet. If things keep spiraling for Galfond, he might have to consider giving up, but it would be a difficult choice to make.
The challenge is being contested on Run It Once and streamed on Twitch. The main goal, aside from entertainment, is to bring attention to Run It Once and hopefully get people to sign up and play there for real money.
Galfond is keeping a positive attitude, no matter how bad it gets. On January 30th, after the seventh day of the current challenge, he tweeted that people should not be worried about him.
He said that his goal has changed after being down by so much money (at the time, it was about €400,000, or 20 €20,000 buy-ins).
“Chasing your losses sets you up for failure,” he tweeted. “There’s no way for me to earn 20 buy-ins over the next week or two through good play alone. Attempting to get even means attempting to be lucky.”
He added that he can’t think about trying to make a massive comeback or else it will “take up space” in his head and not let him make proper poker decisions. At this point, he wants to set an example for people following his game, to keep his cool, to handle disappointment well.
Galfond wants to at least turn a profit going forward. No, it hasn’t happened yet. In fact, it has gotten worse. He has lost almost €200,000 since then. But again, there is still a long way to go, and while it is highly unlikely he will dig himself out of this hole, he can at least try to lessen the pain.