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Galfond Challenge: Phil Galfond Takes Biggest Loss Yet

Phil Galfond has had a tough run of it in the second week of his match with Venividi1993.

Updated: Feb. 10

The second full week of the Galfond Challenge is underway and things haven't improved much for the venerable Run It Once founder.

Down a whopping €380,000 after the first seven sessions against "Venividi1993", Phil Galfond has sunk to a further low of -€569,164.31. With a bit more than 7,500 hands played as of Tuesday afternoon — a session is in progress at the time of writing — the challenge is roughly 30% finished, meaning Galfond is on pace to lose almost exactly €2 million.

Considering he was not far below even money on PokerShares prior to the start of the match, it's fair to call the result thus far a shocker.

Throughout the second full week of the challenge, this piece will serve to update observers following each round of the match.

Day 8

Venividi and Galfond weren't making it a habit to play for stacks for the first 90 minutes leading into the break, but Venividi raked in most of the medium to large pots and built up a healthy profit north of €60,000.

After the break, Venividi scooped a double from Galfond when they saw a {j-Clubs}{6-Diamonds}{3-Clubs} flop. Venividi had top two and a backdoor flush draw while Galfond had aces with nut flush draw. Galfond hit a set on the river, but it gave Venividi his diamond flush.

About four hours in, Galfond finally made some headway. He put in a block bet on {5-Hearts}{6-Spades}{a-Hearts}{3-Clubs} and Venividi shoved on him. Galfond thought a bit and called with {q-Clubs}{6-Clubs}{6-Diamonds}{5-Diamonds} to create a pot of €45K. Venividi held {10-Hearts}{8-Hearts}{4-Hearts}{4-Spades} for a combo draw and blockers but he bricked the river.

The final stretch saw Galfond bluff off a stack and Venividi make a sick river call with kings and a club blocker on a board containing three clubs and a pair of nines. However, Galfond got it right back when he got there with {k-Spades}{9-Spades}{10-Diamonds}{4-Diamonds} against bottom set on {j-Spades}{q-Hearts}{3-Diamonds}, running out a diamond flush. He ended the lengthy session stuck three buy-ins.

Hands Played: 940
Results: Venividi1993 +€60,743.37
Full session video

Day 9

One of the shorter sessions played saw Galfond jump out to a lead about 30 minutes in when he coolered Venividi, who flopped bottom set of threes in a three-bet pot against Galfond's set of aces. Galfond induced a raise by betting flop and turn small, and Venividi couldn't find a fold against Galfond's three-bet shove, conceding a €46K pot.

Two hours in, they played a €52K pot. Venividi bet half pot on the flop and then potted turn for €7,200 on {4-Spades}{5-Diamonds}{k-Spades}{q-Diamonds}. Galfond set him in for about €15K more and Venividi quickly called with {k-Hearts}{k-Clubs}{8-Hearts}{6-Clubs}. Galfond was drawing with {q-Clubs}{4-Clubs}{10-Spades}{7-Spades}, and he didn't find a spade on the river, eating heavily into his profits.

Venividi was able to stack Galfond again when Galfond went for three streets of value, shoving river with {a-Spades}{7-Spades}{j-Clubs}{9-Diamonds} on {6-Spades}{7-Diamonds}{a-Hearts}{k-Clubs}{2-Diamonds}. Unfortunately for him, Venividi had turned top two with {a-Clubs}{k-Spades}{8-Spades}{q-Hearts}.

Galfond closed strong, getting a couple of stacks back, but he ended down slightly in a match in which he spent the majority of the time five figures in the green.

Hands Played: 446
Results: Venividi1993 +€12,706.51
Full session video

Day 10

A sign of things to come got Day 10 of the challenge started as Galfond got stacked immediately in a four-bet pot when he flopped top pair with {k-Clubs}{q-Clubs}{j-Diamonds}{5-Diamonds} on {8-Spades}{j-Hearts}{2-Diamonds} but couldn't improve against dry aces. Galfond got two stacks back by cracking aces with a flopped set and flopped bottom two, but he gave a heap back, losing a €54K pot when he called pot on the river but couldn't beat a set of queens on {q-Clubs}{8-Diamonds}{2-Spades}{4-Hearts}{a-Hearts}.

Galfond was down less than a buy-in after a little under three hours but dropped a €53K four-bet pot. Equities were razor close when stacks went in on {6-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds}{6-Spades} with Galfond's {a-Diamonds}{4-Diamonds}{k-Hearts}{j-Clubs} slightly ahead against {q-Spades}{7-Spades}{10-Diamonds}{9-Diamonds}. Venividi found a ten on the river to make his straight.

Venividi kept the momentum up after that. Galfond bluffed off a stack with a queen-high nut blocker and Venividi called him with a jack-high flush, then Galfond check-raised for €14K on a completed, paired board and folded to a shove. Suddenly, he was down over €130,000 when they returned from break.

It seemed like every pot for the next 45 minutes was pushed to the mystery challenger as he racked up €170,000 in winnings. Finally, Galfond slowed the bleeding when he managed to hit the river with {k-Hearts}{k-Clubs}{q-Diamonds}{8-Clubs} on a board of {2-Hearts}{4-Spades}{4-Clubs}{5-Clubs}{k-Diamonds}. He check-raised all in and a pot-stuck Venividi called off the last few thousand with the nut straight.

Galfond cut into the deficit by one more stack when he got lucky with top and bottom two pair against middle set, but he logged another six-figure loss to clock out down more than €550,000.

Hands Played: 696
Results: Venividi1993 +€100,993.30
Full session video

Day 11

In contrast to the previous day, Galfond netted a stack right away when he flopped a set against an overpair and a gutshot and held up. After giving one back when a pair and the nut flush draw couldn't overcome flopped trip threes, Galfond went into the first break down just slightly.

A bit shy of three hours in, Galfond lost another stack in a four-bet pot. This time, he flopped top pair and a flush draw against the top two of Venividi, and the online star ran out a backdoor flush to boot to rake in €44K.

Galfond fought back and actually got back to even before another slide. Down nearly €50,000 again, he recovered a stack when he potted {9-Hearts}{a-Clubs}{2-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds} with aces and sevens, and Venividi shoved with {a-Diamonds}{6-Diamonds}{4-Clubs}{2-Clubs}. A brick river sent the pot to Galfond.

After the break, Galfond took a beat when he had a chance to even it up again. In a four-bet pot, he potted for most of his chips on {4-Diamonds}{5-Hearts}{8-Hearts} with {j-Hearts}{j-Clubs}{4-Hearts}{3-Clubs}. Venividi rolled with his {10-Clubs}{9-Clubs}{6-Spades}{4-Spades} and found an offsuit seven on the river, much to the fans' dismay.

A little after that, it was time for a gamble as Galfond four-bet {j-Spades}{7-Spades}{8-Hearts}{6-Hearts} and called a five-bet then put the rest in on a jack-high flop. Venividi had aces and the board paired on the turn, so Venividi stacked Galfond once more.

Galfond would rally over the final 30 minutes and close out down less than a buy-in. Afterward, he admitted the results have him not having as much fun as he hoped, but he

Hands Played: 741
Results: Venividi1993 +€15,647.36
Full session video

Day 12

An inauspicious start kicked off the 12th day for Galfond as he got coolered right off the bat. On a flop of {j-Spades}{3-Spades}{q-Diamonds} after Venividi three-bet in the big blind, Galfond raised over his half-pot bet and called it off with top two and a flush draw. Unfortunately for him, Venividi had the top set and turned him dead.

However, Galfond got it right back when his middle set held against two pair and the nut flush draw, and he was off to the races. The two players took a lengthy break with Galfond ahead about €40,000.

After the break, the two players each won a stack off the other, then they played one of the biggest pots of the challenge. Galfond had just lost a stack on a cooler with the king-high flush against the nuts, and then they saw a {q-Clubs}{4-Diamonds}{9-Clubs} flop for a single raise. Galfond check-called a bet then checked the {8-Spades}. Venividi potted for €2,800 and Galfond made it €11,200. Venividi called to create a €25K pot. The river was an {a-Clubs} and Galfond tanked a bit then jammed for just a hair under the pot. Venividi tanked himself then called. Both players had the nuts on the turn with redraws, but Galfond's {j-Spades}{3-Hearts}{10-Clubs}{7-Clubs} got there against {q-Hearts}{10-Hearts}{4-Spades}{j-Clubs} to earn a pot just over €75K.

Galfond was up about €100K heading into the next break and worked his way up to a peak of about €115K. After the next break, Venividi went on a run. He put a beat on Galfond when aces and the nut heart draw got there all in on the turn against two pair and a diamond draw. It was all Galfond after that though, as he continuously won the ensuing medium-sized pots without many big showdowns until he was in the books with a win just south of €90,000.

A modest Galfond called it one of his weaker sessions but said it was enjoyable to book a win nonetheless.

Hands Played: 622
Results: Phil Galfond +€87,940.91
Full session video

Day 13

Coming off his biggest win, Galfond looked to build some momentum. Unfortunately for him, the complete opposite unfolded on Day 13 of the battle.

The match got off to a normal start as the two players traded pots without anyone going up big until Galfond bluffed off a stack with {k-Clubs}{5-Clubs}{4-Clubs}{2-Spades} on {5-Diamonds}{j-Spades}{4-Spades}{j-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds} as Venividi looked him up with a bare jack. On that table, Venividi continued to drag every decent-size pot until he built a stack of about €135K.

Meanwhile, he stacked Galfond on the other table on a nasty beat. They got stacks in for a €47K pot on {8-Hearts}{4-Diamonds}{q-Clubs} with Galfond holding top set. Venividi was smashed with {q-Spades}{7-Spades}{5-Hearts}{4-Hearts} but found a {6-Hearts} turn and faded all of Galfond's redraws on the river. About 300 hands in, they hadn't taken a break and Galfond was staring at a €170K loss.

They took a break and reset stacks, and things didn't go any better for Galfond. He got stacked on a {2-Diamonds}{8-Hearts}{6-Clubs} flop after three-betting preflop and potting with aces. Venividi had top pair and a gutter and rivered two pair. Galfond took another mild beat when his {k-Clubs}{9-Clubs}{10-Hearts}{8-Diamonds} didn't hold against {k-Diamonds}{j-Diamonds}{j-Spades}{3-Spades} on {9-Hearts}{10-Diamonds}{2-Hearts} as a queen hit on the river. Galfond then got it in ahead once again with top two on {q-Spades}{10-Clubs}{2-Hearts}, but Venividi turned Broadway with {a-Hearts}{k-Hearts}{q-Clubs}{4-Spades}.

Stuck €267K, Galfond opted to call it an early session.

Hands Played: 470
Results: Venividi1993 +€267,949.70
Full session video

Day 14

Galfond strapped on his boots and got back to it on Saturday and picked up a stack right away. Venividi four-bet him with {a-Clubs}{10-Clubs}{a-Spades}{k-Diamonds}, but Galfond got lucky with {a-Hearts}{k-Hearts}{5-Clubs}{2-Clubs}, flopping a combo draw on {6-Spades}{3-Hearts}{7-Hearts} and hitting a flush on the turn. Venividi bluffed off a stack with two nut blockers on the other table and Galfond was up €33K in a hurry.

Venividi struck back in a big way on a board of {6-Hearts}{2-Hearts}{6-Clubs}{q-Spades}{7-Clubs}. He checked and then shoved for about €18K after Galfond potted for €16K. Galfond tank-called with sixes full of twos but couldn't beat rivered sixes full of sevens. Then, they played a huge single-raised pot when Venividi check-called flop and check-raised pot on the turn on {7-Clubs}{a-Spades}{10-Spades}{5-Clubs}. Galfond called for a pot of €50K and a {q-Hearts} river. Venividi checked and called a pot-sized bet for nearly all of his money and Galfond could only muster {9-Hearts}{6-Hearts}{2-Hearts}{8-Clubs} for a missed straight. Venividi raked in the monster pot with {a-Clubs}{q-Clubs}{10-Hearts}{3-Spades}.

They were about even after break when Galfond retook the lead. First, he got lucky with top pair and the nut flush draw against a set. Then, he got max value out the second nuts with a pot-sized river bet for €10,800.

The final hour went to Venividi. He coolered Galfond for a stack with top boat on {k-Diamonds}{5-Hearts}{4-Hearts}{k-Hearts}{6-Clubs}. Both players had kings full of fives on the turn but Venividi hit a six on the river and got his check-raise paid off. After peaking just over a €50,000 winner, Galfond booked a mild loss of about 2.5 buy-ins.

Hands Played: 593
Results: Venividi1993 +€48,473.73
Full session video

Follow along with all the latest on the Galfond Challenge.

  • 'Venividi1993' is at it again, pummeling Phil Galfond through four more sessions.

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