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Galfond Challenge: Galfond Briefly Pulls Ahead, Now Down €40K

Phil Galfond booked another solid win as he creeps closer to even against Venividi1993.

After Phil Galfond delivered a series of six-figure beatings to "Venividi1993" in their heads-up €100/€200 pot-limit Omaha match on Run It Once Poker, the mystery grinder decided he needed a break.

Just like when Galfond was stuck nearly €1 million, the €600,000 swing in Galfond's favour evidently weighed on Venividi enough to have him request a break and be willing to pay the €3,000 per day penalty. Galfond then booked two more sizable wins out of three sessions — losing small in the other one — and has closed to within €155,000 of even.

On April 2, at long last for thousands of fans, Galfond broke into the overall lead mid-way through what was looking like a monster session. Venividi would ultimately rally and get back into the lead but still took a six-figure loss. They've just passed the 20,000-hand mark, so it's truly anyone's match to win.

Venividi again opted to pay a couple of days worth of penalties. With about 5,700 hands remaining, the stage is set for the challenge to resume on April 2.

SEE ALSO: PLO Poker: A Beginner's Guide to Pot-Limit Omaha

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Day 29

Galfond got off to a good start as he stacked Venividi right off the bat in a hand that wasn't captured on the archived video. He also won several other pots and was ahead around €35,000 moments in.

A huge upward swing started for Galfond about 160 hands in when he called a three-bet with a trashy {j-Spades}{9-Hearts}{7-Hearts}{2-Clubs} and flopped all three pairs on a rainbow board. Venividi opted to check-raise pot with nut wrap and two backdoors but bricked out as wheel cards hit the turn and river. Venividi then bluffed all in drawing almost dead on {10-Diamonds}{9-Spades}{9-Diamonds}{10-Spades}. Galfond had flopped a full house with {q-Hearts}{10-Hearts}{j-Diamonds}{9-Clubs} while Venividi needed the {6-Diamonds} holding {a-Diamonds}{q-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds}. A six hit but it was the {6-Spades} and Galfond was suddenly north of €90,000 in profit.

About 75 hands later, Galfond slowplayed the flop with {j-Hearts}{j-Clubs}{9-Spades}{4-Spades} on {5-Spades}{4-Clubs}{j-Spades} and was rewarded when Venividi potted most of his stack on the {k-Diamonds} turn. He had improved with {a-Spades}{q-Spades}{7-Spades}{8-Hearts} for a double gutter and a flush draw, but the river was a {7-Diamonds}. Just a few hands later, Galfond potted for €7,200 on {q-Diamonds}{4-Spades}{k-Spades}{3-Hearts} and Venividi crammed for €16,400 with {q-Spades}{8-Spades}{10-Clubs}{3-Diamonds} for two pair and a spade draw. Galfond had better two pair with {a-Spades}{k-Hearts}{q-Hearts}{10-Hearts} and held on the river.

It looked like another six-figure Galfond feasting was in the offing, but Venividi started to turn things at about the 350-hand mark. He got extremely lucky after check-called pot for €3,600 on {7-Spades}{j-Diamonds}{6-Clubs}{7-Clubs}, seeing an {a-Diamonds} river. He checked and shoved for €15,400 over Galfond's half-pot bet. Galfond called with sixes full of sevens but Venividi had hit a two-outer with {a-Hearts}{a-Clubs}{k-Diamonds}{q-Hearts}.

Galfond crept back up to +€160,000 but the final 150 hands or so were almost all Venividi. Galfond bluffed off a stack check-raising all in on the river with a flush blocker, only to have Venividi make a nice call with a small flush. Galfond tried his own hero call with a nine-high flush as Venividi bet small on {4-Diamonds}{j-Hearts}{8-Hearts}{3-Hearts} then shoved three-quarters pot on the {5-Spades} river. Much to the fans' chagrin, Venividi had it with {a-Hearts}{7-Hearts}{7-Clubs}{6-Spades}.

Having cut his deficit to five figures, Venividi wasn't done. He cut Galfond's win to €60,000 before Galfond recovered during the closing stretch to book a medium-sized win.

Hands Played: 642
Results: Phil Galfond +€85,271.31
Full session video

Day 30

In what would set the stage for a lengthy day of fighting over small and medium pots, Galfond and Venividi returned to the felt battled for the first 183 hands with Galfond only opening up a small edge of about less than a single buy-in.

Galfond had an opportunity to surge into a nice lead after a little over 200 hands. He three-bet preflop and checked the flop then got a check-raise in on a board of {8-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds}{6-Clubs}{2-Hearts}. Venividi called, and a {q-Spades} completed the board. Galfond piled for his €11,400, about two-third of the pot, and Venividi called but was shown the nuts. Venividi had the five-high straight with a missed flush. However, Venividi got it back, preventing Galfond from going into a lead of €60K, when he got in {q-Hearts}{7-Hearts}{9-Spades}{5-Spades} on {2-Spades}{q-Spades}{3-Hearts} and hit a flush on the river against Galfond's bottom set.

A few more won pots later, Venividi found himself ahead for the session. He'd also be unable to build a meaningful lead, though, in part due to a beat. Galfond three-bet preflop and bet tiny with €600 on {8-Spades}{6-Hearts}{8-Hearts}. Venividi raised to €3,047 and Galfond called. Both players checked the {7-Hearts}, bringing a {10-Diamonds}. Galfond potted and quickly called all in with {q-Hearts}{10-Hearts}{10-Spades}{7-Spades}, having binked against {q-Spades}{q-Clubs}{8-Clubs}{7-Clubs}.

They were almost dead even 300 hands in, and not many highlights would ensue from there. One did crop up at about the 330-hand mark when Galfond bet small for a third of the pot on a board of {9-Spades}{10-Clubs}{5-Spades}{3-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds} and Venividi check-potted to €11,888. Galfond found a call with {a-Diamonds}{5-Diamonds}{k-Spades}{3-Clubs} for just two weak pair. Venividi could only muster {j-Clubs}{4-Clubs}{4-Hearts}{5-Hearts} for blockers though.

Galfond swung it back in front, but Venividi caught him bluffing with fives full on {k-Spades}{5-Clubs}{9-Diamonds}{k-Hearts}{j-Clubs} as Galfond piled for €12K on the river with {10-Diamonds}{8-Spades}{7-Hearts}{7-Spades}. Venividi stayed mostly ahead from there but the final 400 hands would contain few highlights. The marathon session ended with Venividi ahead just over a buy-in.

Hands Played: 777
Results: Venividi +€26,992.32
Full session video, part 1

Day 31

Galfond dug himself an early hole as he bluffed off a stack with no blockers when he three-bet preflop and barreled off with {a-Diamonds}{5-Diamonds}{10-Spades}{8-Spades} on a board of {3-Clubs}{j-Hearts}{7-Clubs}{2-Clubs}{8-Hearts}. Venividi just called him down with the turned nut flush.

About 180 hands in, Galfond lost an even bigger pot as they were about €27K deep when they saw a {3-Clubs}{q-Diamonds}{4-Hearts} flop. A raising war saw the money go in with Galfond holding {7-Hearts}{6-Diamonds}{5-Hearts}{2-Clubs} for a massive wrap and backdoor hearts. However, many of his outs were no good, out of the deck or chopping as Venividi had {a-Spades}{a-Hearts}{2-Hearts}{5-Diamonds}. The board bricked out for Galfond and he was stuck more than €50K at break.

Galfond's comeback began with a PLO classic as he flopped top set of kings on {k-Spades}{6-Clubs}{5-Spades} while Venividi had {9-Spades}{8-Spades}{7-Diamonds}{4-Hearts} for a monster wrap plus flush draw. Venividi filled his flush on the {3-Spades} turn but a {3-Clubs} river was one more three than he wanted to see.

Galfond then cracked aces twice. The first time, by flopped trip twos in a three-bet pot to surge about half a buy-in into the green. Then, he called a four-bet and {5-Hearts}{5-Clubs}{10-Hearts} flopped. Venividi bet small on the flop then piled the {j-Spades} turn only to have Galfond turn over flopped tens full. He also got there with top pair and a flush draw against Venividi's kings all in on the flop after a four-bet, and Venividi was suddenly down €80K and needing a break.

Venividi worked his way back to only down €50K but two huge pots went Galfond's way. First, Venividi three-bet preflop with {a-Hearts}{4-Hearts}{q-Diamonds}{j-Clubs} and bet-three-bet all in on {2-Hearts}{3-Diamonds}{8-Hearts} only to run into Galfond's set of threes and brick out. After that €53K pot, a €65K one developed. Galfond three-bet preflop and check-called half pot then full pot on the turn. With €21,809 in the middle, Galfond checked the {9-Hearts}{8-Spades}{5-Spades}{k-Diamonds}{2-Hearts} board. Venividi potted and Galfond went deep into the tank. He finally clicked call with {9-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds}{6-Clubs}{3-Clubs} for two pair, and Venividi could only show {10-Clubs}{8-Clubs}{7-Spades}{4-Hearts} for a pair and a straight blocker.

Venividi abruptly ended the session, stuck €106K.

Hands Played: 393
Results: Phil Galfond +€106,328.51
Full session video, part 1

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