Galfond Challenge: Two Six-Figure Wins for Phil Galfond

Galfond wrecked 'Venividi1993' after returning from a couple of weeks off.

After spending several weeks mostly having his ass handed to him by "Venividi1993", Phil Galfond took some time away from the tables. He thought things over, mulling the possibility of waving the white flag down almost €1 million after just 40% of their €100/€200 pot-limit Omaha heads-up match.

He decided to keep playing, and he returned in emphatically triumphant fashion. One session in, Galfond recovered about 20% of his losses as he stormed through 574 hands on Run It Once Poker to post his biggest win yet.

Galfond's hot run in the Galfond Challenge continued as, despite one large losing session of -€88K, he recovered about half of his peak losses to be down just south of €500K after 15,864 hands.

With plenty of match left, Galfond can still meet his stated goal of winning from here on out, with an outside shot at still making Venividi sweat when it comes to their side bet on the outcome, Galfond laying €200,000 to €100,000.

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

Check out the latest promo on Run It Once Poker: Splash the winnings, where Phil Galfond redistributes some of the money he wins in his Challenge matches!

Want to know everything about the Galfond Challenge? Check out thePokerNews Galfond Challenge page for more information!

Day 16

The players eased back into the action after the time off, as they contested mostly smaller pots for the first 50 minutes. Finally, a three-bet pot developed with Venividi betting €1,200 on {8-Hearts}{5-Hearts}{9-Clubs} and Galfond making it €3,600. Venividi called and each player checked the {7-Clubs} for a {10-Hearts} river. Venividi checked and Galfond potted for €10,797. Venividi shoved for about €14,000 more and Galfond called with {q-Hearts}{6-Hearts}{7-Spades}{5-Spades}, beating a bare-ace bluff for a pot of about €60,000.

Galfond then dragged back-to-back massive pots a bit later. At one table, Galfond raised preflop and called a three-bet before betting all the streets ending in a river shove for just under pot on {a-Diamonds}{7-Clubs}{6-Spades}{3-Clubs}{3-Diamonds}. Venividi used nearly all of his time then called off €15K with {a-Hearts}{10-Spades}{k-Clubs}{q-Clubs} but was no good against {8-Diamonds}{5-Clubs}{4-Clubs}{4-Diamonds} for the turned nuts. At the other table, Venividi value owned himself potting for €10,797 with second set of queens against Galfond's top set of kings. Galfond went into break up about €100,000.

After Venividi recovered a bit, he sent two more stacks Galfond's way. First, Galfond got it in on the turn with the nut straight and two pair against a wrap plus flush draw and faded the river. Then, a sick cooler developed as Galfond flopped quads while Venividi flopped top full house. Galfond shoved over a pot-sized river bet and got called for a €41K pot and was up €137K into the final break.

The players traded stacks as Venividi got there with aces and a flush draw versus Galfond's two pair and flush blockers, but couldn't hold with bottom set against Galfond's nut wrap. In between the big hands though, Galfond just won too many of the medium-sized pots and bolstered his win to a match-best €183K.

Afterward, Galfond said the win felt good and graded his play as B+.

Hands Played: 574
Results: Phil Galfond +€183,481.38
Full session video

Day 17

Unlike the previous day, the two players got stacks in early as a bit of a cooler developed. Galfond flopped middle set of sixes while Venividi turned jacks and sixes with a ten-high flush draw, check-raising most of his stack in on the turn. Galfond jammed and held on to keep his momentum rolling.

However, he sent it right back moments later in a four-bet pot. The two players saw a {6-Hearts}{q-Spades}{8-Diamonds} flop for €5,400 from Venividi, and Galfond check-raised all in over a pot-sized bet with {9-Clubs}{8-Clubs}{6-Clubs}{7-Diamonds} for bottom two and an open-ender. Venividi had {j-Hearts}{5-Hearts}{10-Spades}{8-Spades} for a pair, gutter and backdoors. Galfond turned the nuts but running spades gave Venividi the €41K pot. Venividi kept it going when they played a €48K pot all in on the turn with {5-Hearts}{8-Hearts}{j-Diamonds}{2-Spades} on board. Galfond had kings and the king-high flush draw but Venividi had jacks up and hit a straight on the river to boot.

Galfond got lucky shoving a bare flush draw into Venividi's aces with top pair, and Venividi even turned trips but couldn't fade the river. Galfond also made a thin bluff catch with aces on the river against Venividi's straight blockers to go into break up about €28,000.

More than 100 hands would pass before the next huge pot, which also went Galfond's way. He called a three-bet with {j-Spades}{5-Hearts}{6-Hearts}{3-Diamonds} and managed to flop every pair on {j-Diamonds}{5-Spades}{3-Hearts}. Venividi also flopped big with {7-Diamonds}{5-Diamonds}{6-Spades}{4-Clubs} for a pair plus wrap, but he watched Galfond drag a €54K pot when it ran {9-Hearts}, {2-Hearts}.

Venividi would go on a nice run to get ahead €30K mostly through small and medium pots, but Galfond got it back when he got in slightly favored, wrap plus flush draw in against Venividi's top two and hit the nuts on the river. The last 100 hands were all Venividi though, and he finished up a small winner.

Hands Played: 582
Results: Venividi +€21,571.51
Full session video

Day 18

Galfond didn't waste any time getting busy as he took down two four-bet pots immediately, including one in which he got in with top pair and an overpair against aces and banged off trips on the river after the board paired small on the turn. They took a break after 153 hands with Venividi stuck €61K.

A sick €54K pot developed when Galfond bet the turn for half pot then potted €7,198 on {4-Spades}{7-Spades}{2-Diamonds}{2-Hearts}{q-Spades}. Venividi potted for all but his last €2,300 and Galfond found a call with {j-Diamonds}{9-Diamonds}{10-Spades}{5-Spades} for a weak flush. Venividi had {q-Clubs}{9-Spades}{9-Hearts}{4-Clubs} for boat blockers. Midway through the session, Galfond was pumped up six figures, and he built from there until he was up almost €130,000.

Despite speculation from commentators that Venividi might be waving the white flag early after he opted for another break, the match continued past 400 hands. That turned out to be a good decision for the mystery pro as he stormed back over a stretch of only about 50 hands or so. Most crucially, he dragged a €72K pot when Galfond check-raised the turn and potted all in for €19K on the river on {5-Clubs}{k-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds}{4-Hearts}{10-Spades}. Venividi quickly called holding a set of kings and a three, and Galfond had hit a set of tens after semi-bluffing with {10-Clubs}{10-Diamonds}{6-Clubs}{7-Hearts}. Galfond's win was reduced to €27K, where he ended up after another 50 hands or so.

Hands Played: 555
Results: Phil Galfond +€27,198.94
Full session video

Day 19

Nearly 100 hands passed, with Venividi getting the better of the early play, before stacks went in for the first time in a €52K pot. Galfond potted a {3-Clubs}{j-Hearts}{10-Clubs} flop and called a pot-sized raise, then he called off the rest on the {10-Spades} turn with {a-Spades}{a-Hearts}{k-Diamonds}{q-Spades}. Unfortunately for him, he found himself in an early hole of almost €50,000 when Venividi showed up with {a-Clubs}{7-Clubs}{10-Diamonds}{9-Diamonds} for trips and filled up on the river. They'd play a marathon run of almost 250 hands before break, with Galfond stuck €38K.

They played another long run of more than 200 hands before the next break. Galfond managed to get thin value shoving all in with top two pair and being called by worse two pair on the river, but he bluffed back a stack when he four-bet {10-Clubs}{8-Clubs}{7-Diamonds}{5-Diamonds} and Venividi wouldn't fold {k-Hearts}{k-Clubs}{6-Hearts}{7-Spades} on {q-Hearts}{a-Hearts}{9-Spades}{5-Clubs}, finding his flush on the river, though he didn't need it.

Down the stretch, Galfond took over. First, he stacked Venividi in a three-bet pot when middle set held on {a-Spades}{q-Clubs}{2-Spades} against a gutshot and the nut flush draw. Then, Galfond flopped quad sevens and slowplayed, getting lucky when Venividi hit an eight on the river to make eights full and bet-call it off. Galfond made it into the green with about 100 hands left in the session then earned a final stack when he got in {10-Clubs}{9-Clubs}{7-Spades}{5-Spades} on {8-Diamonds}{3-Hearts}{7-Clubs}. Venividi turned top two with {a-Hearts}{8-Spades}{6-Diamonds}{4-Diamonds} but a seven on the river gave Galfond trips for the €41K pot.

Despite spending almost the entire session stuck more than a buy-in, Galfond booked another win.

Hands Played: 638
Results: Phil Galfond +€26,018.41
Full session video

Day 20

After a day off, they got back to it and stacks were in as soon as the video feed went live on {k-Diamonds}{10-Hearts}{8-Spades}. Galfond had top two with {k-Hearts}{j-Diamonds}{10-Clubs}{5-Diamonds} while Venividi had {a-Hearts}{a-Spades}{j-Spades}{7-Spades} for aces and a double gutter. A brick turn and king river meant Galfond was up €20K before anyone had blinked. Galfond got up around €50K but got unlucky and sent a stack back when they got in a raising war on {10-Hearts}{j-Hearts}{k-Spades}{2-Diamonds}. Galfond had slowplayed the nuts on the flop and Venividi turned a set to go with the nut flush draw. He hit quads on the river.

That proved a mere bump in the road for Galfond. He continued to win pots until he was back up €40K, then Venividi bluffed off a stack into Galfond's turned full house drawing dead. Galfond also made a full house on the river when he had only half pot left, and Venividi check-called with the turned nut straight. They played more than 300 hands before breaking with Galfond a six-figure winner.

After break, a €60K pot developed on a board of {3-Diamonds}{5-Diamonds}{2-Spades}{7-Clubs}. Galfond three-bet it preflop and check-called the flop then check-raised pot on the turn. Venividi had only a little behind that and stuck it in with {10-Clubs}{7-Hearts}{7-Diamonds}{2-Clubs} for top set. Galfond had the best of it with {a-Diamonds}{10-Diamonds}{7-Spades}{4-Spades} and held on the river. Venividi inched back to "only" down €100K when he got there all in on the turn with top two and a flush draw versus Galfond's set.

Though he dropped about €30K after the final break, Galfond found a dream spot to get it in when Venividi shoved over his pot bet on {6-Spades}{8-Spades}{7-Clubs}{j-Clubs} with {k-Hearts}{9-Hearts}{9-Clubs}{8-Clubs}. Galfond held {a-Clubs}{4-Clubs}{10-Diamonds}{9-Diamonds} for both the nuts and a redraw, and he easily raked in a €40K pot when the river didn't counterfeit him. He stacked Venividi once more with trip tens against trip twos on a double-paired board to wind up a €92K winner.

Hands Played: 566
Results: Phil Galfond +€92,803.89
Full session video

Day 21

Galfond again had the better of things early, but rather than big pots, this time he just outmaneuvered Venividi for a bunch of medium pots as the players took more than 200 hands to play a pot more than €40K. Finally, Galfond three-bet preflop and check-raised a {2-Diamonds}{4-Hearts}{j-Hearts} board. Venividi called and then called pot for €14K on the {8-Diamonds} turn. Both players checked the {5-Clubs} river and Galfond's {a-Clubs}{a-Hearts}{10-Hearts}{5-Hearts} was good after a tank-check from Venividi.

Following the break, Galfond bluffed off with a gutter plus flush draw into Venividi's made nut straight. Then, Venividi got into the green when Galfond paid off a river shove after Venividi hit a gutshot to Broadway when he also had a wheel draw and a flush draw.

Galfond swung it back his way with a €52K pot when he got in {8-Diamonds}{6-Diamonds}{5-Spades}{2-Clubs} on {7-Diamonds}{2-Hearts}{5-Hearts}{10-Spades}, well ahead of {a-Diamonds}{q-Diamonds}{a-Hearts}{3-Clubs}. The four on the river gave both players a straight but Galfond's was best. Venividi got that stack back when his set held against aces and the nut flush draw, and he'd hit a high mark of about +€38K.

A cooler went in Galfond's favor, though, as he turned top set of aces against Venividi's set of kings and both players filled up on the river. Galfond potted for €16K and called off the last few thousand to win a pot of €56K, ending the back-and-forth affair fittingly up a fraction of a buy-in.

Hands Played: 576
Results: Phil Galfond +€3,766.94
Full session video

Day 22

Galfond found himself in an early hole on Day 22 but seemed to find a good spot to get a chunk of it back when stacks went in on {7-Hearts}{10-Clubs}{4-Clubs}{q-Hearts} about 175 hands in. Galfond had flopped top set against bottom set, but Venividi picked up the nut flush draw on the turn and stuck his stack in on a check-raise. Galfond watched his opponent hit quads on the river to put him down about €50K. That went to €70K before break when Galfond potted river with the nut straight on a paired board, only to call off and be shown an identical nut straight with a full house to boot.

That's where Galfond sat after the second break as well, but he instantly neared a six-figure loss when he lost a stack in a hand that wasn't shown on stream. Venividi dragged a €53K pot when Galfond check-raised him for pot and they got stacks in on {4-Diamonds}{7-Spades}{9-Hearts}. Galfond had {j-Hearts}{7-Hearts}{j-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds} for an overpair, gutter and backdoors, while Venividi had top set. The board ran {5-Spades}, {2-Diamonds}, missing Galfond.

Galfond fans everywhere despaired as Venividi peaked up €160K when he faded Galfond's open-ender with a flush draw in a four-bet pot, holding with aces. But, Galfond managed to recover and close strong in the final 60 hands. He got a double flush draw in against the nut straight and got there, held with his own turned straight against a combo draw, then won a four-bet pot against aces to salvage an €88K loss.

Hands Played: 556
Results: Venividi +€88,465.60
Full session video

Day 23

The first stack to change hands went to Galfond, though he had to crack top set with a gutter plus nut flush draw to do it. He then cracked aces in a four-bet pot, flopping bottom two and a flush draw to gain a large edge and holding on the turn and river to get +€50K. At about the 200-hand mark, Venividi barreled off three streets on a board of {3-Clubs}{10-Spades}{a-Hearts}{k-Spades}{9-Diamonds}, shoving for close to pot. Galfond quickly called with a set of three and Venividi could only muster {j-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds}{10-Clubs}{2-Clubs}.

Venividi slowly worked his way back, though, and he got a big chunk back when kings up and a flush draw held against Galfond's wrap. He then put a nasty beat on Galfond in a four-bet pot, coming out potting with {a-Diamonds}{4-Diamonds}{7-Clubs}{4-Clubs} against Galfond's {a-Spades}{a-Clubs}{4-Spades}{j-Hearts} on a {3-Hearts}{10-Diamonds}{5-Clubs} flop. The turn brought a {6-Diamonds} for a Venividi straight.

A €54K pot soothed Galfond's wounds as he bet-three-bet all in with bottom set on {7-Spades}{6-Hearts}{3-Clubs} with bottom set. Venividi had aces with an open-ender and he turned a straight only for Galfond to fill up on the river. Up about €45K, Galfond lost back about half of that before they called it a session.

Hands Played: 598
Results: Phil Galfond +€23,821.05
Full session video

Day 24

Eighty hands into Day 24, Galfond got to the river and checked a board of {4-Hearts}{j-Clubs}{a-Spades}{7-Spades}{2-Diamonds} after calling a pot-sized turn bet. Venividi potted for €8,500 and Galfond shoved about double that. Venividi tank-called with jacks but Galfond raked it in with {9-Clubs}{9-Diamonds}{5-Diamonds}{3-Spades} for the nuts. Two more all-in pots went Galfond's way as he cracked aces plus a straight draw with two pair then got in a set plus flush versus the nut straight on the board. A board-pairing river meant Galfond was ahead about €77K.

Venividi recaptured some of his lost money after break, winning a €53K pot when he shoved river for pot on a board of {q-Hearts}{5-Clubs}{3-Hearts}{5-Hearts}{6-Clubs} with {q-Diamonds}{6-Hearts}{6-Spades}{5-Spades}. Galfond tried to bluff catch with {q-Clubs}{8-Clubs}{8-Hearts}{7-Hearts}.

The final few hundred hands proved a roughly breakeven affair. Galfond swung up about €50,000 and he had a chance to book a big win when he coolered Venividi with {k-Clubs}{10-Spades}{7-Spades}{7-Diamonds} against {a-Clubs}{8-Clubs}{k-Spades}{5-Hearts} on {7-Clubs}{3-Clubs}{k-Hearts}{8-Diamonds}. However, Venividi found a club on the river for the €46K pot. That enabled him to book a more palatable loss of €19K.

Hands Played: 628
Results: Phil Galfond +€19,099.65
Full session video

Day 25

Once again, Galfond came out firing on all cylinders. On one table, he raked in a slew of medium and small pots, while on the other, he got there with top pair and an open-ender against aces despite Venividi turning the nut flush draw. Before anyone could get settled, Galfond was up another €40K. That number swelled when they got stacks in on {8-Diamonds}{3-Hearts}{4-Clubs} with Galfond holding {a-Clubs}{5-Clubs}{6-Hearts}{4-Hearts} for a pair plus open-ender and backdoors against {a-Spades}{5-Hearts}{6-Diamonds}{7-Hearts} for the nut wrap. Broadways hit the turn and river and Galfond scooped €67K with a piddling pair of fours.

After the players broke with Galfond ahead a little under €60K, Galfond went on one of the most dominant sustained runs of the match, perhaps the most dominant. Galfond climbed from that number to just shy of €150K ahead, but the crushing performance wasn't due to winning all-in pots. Galfond simply dragged pot after pot without showdown, adding four figures and five figures to his bottom line.

Venividi mitigated some of the damage before the final break when his turned nut straight held against two pair and a flush draw, but Galfond got it right back when his own nut straight held against a nut wrap plus a flush draw. When the dust settled, Galfond had locked up his second six-figure win since his hiatus, putting real drama into the match.

Hands Played: 664
Results: Phil Galfond +€139,485.78
Full session video

Follow along with all the latest on the Galfond Challenge.

  • It was a triumphant return for Phil Galfond as he resumed his much-hyped match with "Venividi1993".

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