“Somebody’s probably going to go broke,” said Phil Ivey. “That’s a lot of money, and a lot of time.”
When Phil Ivey says something is “a lot of money,” most people take notice.
In what will surely become one of the most anticipated heads-up poker matches of all time, should it actually occur, Phil Ivey has accepted Tom “durrrr” Dwan’s open heads-up challenge to the world.
Dwan told Card Player about his challenge last month, and it is described in full detail in the magazine’s upcoming cover story about him, set to hit casinos this week.
Basically, Dwan has challenged anyone in the world — with the sole exception being his good friend and professional poker player Phil Galfond — to play 50,000 hands with him heads up, in either no-limit Texas hold'em or pot-limit Omaha at $200-$400 stakes at a minimum of four online tables.
"I don't get enough people to play me heads up. Even though there is more money to be made in other games, rather than playing heads up at one or two tables, it's so interesting and you learn a lot," said Dwan. "I think I might have an edge here, but it's more to have fun and gamble a bit. That's why I'm making this challenge."
If, at the end of the 50,000 hands, his opponent is up, Dwan will fork over an additional $1.5 million to pad his opponent's winnings. If Dwan is up, he keeps the profits, as well as another $500,000 from the competitor.
It hasn’t taken very long for his 3:1 odds offer to be seized upon by the other vultures of the poker community.
Ivey told fellow pro Barry Greenstein today at PokerRoad.com that he has called Dwan to accept the challenge. Ivey said in the interview that he thought French pro David Benyamine had first dibs on Dwan, but Benyamine told Card Player today that he has not accepted Dwan's bet, although he is still considering it.
Greenstein pointed out just how long 50,000 hands will take, saying on the podcast, “That’s like playing four games for about a month, four- or five-hour sessions.”
He told Ivey, “I don’t know if you really have the patience to play a guy for a month,” but tipped his hat earlier in the show who he thought was better when he said that that he “would’ve expected [Dwan] to challenge everyone except for maybe Phil Ivey, who’s looking to me like the best heads-up player.”
Ivey conceded that Dwan might have an edge early on in the battle, since he is not as used to multi-tabling as the online pro is.
“The funny thing is, he probably does have an edge,” said Ivey. “There’s something tempting about that million and a half to $500,000.”
Ivey also said that Patrik Antonius, as well as a number of other pros, have indicated that they are interested in taking up the 22-year-old phenom.
“A lot of people are confident in their game, but no one I’m aware of has ever backed it up like this,” Galfond said, of Dwan's challenge. “As far as the challenge being open to anyone but me, I take that as one of the highest compliments I’ve received as a poker player.”
To learn more about Tom Dwan and his historic challenge, pick up the next issue of Card Player magazine.