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Poker Pro Phil Galfond Suspends First Match Of "Galfond Challenge" After Nearly Seven-Figure Downswing

Match Against "Venividi1993" Is On Hold Until At Least March 1

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The first of what is scheduled to be seven high-stakes heads-up battles in the “Galfond Challenge” has been put on hold until the start of March after online poker legend Phil Galfond is down nearly seven-figures.

After playing 15 days of €100-€200 pot-limit Omaha against online superstar “Venividi1993,” Galfond is down a little more than €900,000 to the unknown pro. The downswing caused Galfond to suspend the match for the rest of the month. Over those 15 matches and 9,927 hands played, Galfond sported a win-loss record of 1-12-2.

The duo was scheduled to play the 16th session on Tuesday but was canceled prior to Galfond announcing the suspension. He posted a long explanation on his Twitter account, citing some difficulty mentally handling the downswing. By his own account, he was no longer playing his best.

“I lost that hope, and it was replaced by depression,” said Galfond in his social media post. “I’m proud of the way I kept it together for so long, but I found my mind’s limit… I don’t really know whether it was the gained and lost hope, fatigue from day after day of intense poker and study, or something else, but I know that I’ve become unable to play my A or B game.”

At the end of his post, Galfond mentions that he will start the matches again on March 1 and will be paying the predetermined $3,000/day penalties for not playing the scheduled days.

He alluded to the possibility of “moving on to another challenge” after play resumes, which leaves Galfond the possibility of quitting the match entirely, paying the €200,000 side bet and moving on to the next match.

If Galfond resumes play as normal once the calendar flips to March, he will still have plenty of time to make back the losses. The two agreed to play 25,000 hands and are barely a third of the way through the predetermined number.

High-stakes online mixed games specialist Luke Schwartz headed to social media to mock Galfond’s post and needle the Run It Once Poker founder. The goading on social media was the same way that Schwartz worked his way into a match as the final challenger. The two are scheduled to play €1,000-€2,000 heads-up 8-game online later this year.

He posted a screenshot of his own thoughts about Galfond’s situation.

“Truth is you’re a washed up nice guy everyone has their time,” said Schwartz in his post. “You certainly can’t beat the top guys in Plo anymore, it’s clearly time to wave the white flag.”

Galfond responded to Schwartz’s social media post by confirming that they will play their match, probably after the 2020 World Series of Poker.

All of the matches are taking place on Galfond’s own site, Run It Once Poker. According to a Pokerfuse report from last December, the site averages 50 concurrent players at one time and is not open to players in the American market.

Here are the details for all seven of Galfond’s challenges:

Opponent Stakes Game Sidebet Hands
Bill Perkins & Thirst Lounge Streamers €100-€200 PLO $800K:$200K 50,000
Brandon Adams €100-€200 PLO €150K:€100K 40 Hours Of live Poker
Chance Kornuth €100-€200 PLO €1M:€250K 35,000
Dan Cates €100-€200 PLO TBD 7,500
“ActionFreak” €150-€300 PLO €150K:€150K 15,000
“VeniVidi1993” €100-€200 PLO €200K:€100K 25,000
Luke Schwartz €1,000-€2,000 8-Game TBD TBD