2021 World Series of Poker 2021 MSPT Venetian

Galfond Challenge: 'Venividi1993' Clinging to Two Buy-In Lead

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 favor 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.

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 broke even over the next two sessions.

With just over 3,600 hands left, the home stretch has arrived, and only two buy-ins separate them in the Galfond Challenge.

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

Day 32

The type of day it would be for Venividi shaped up about 50 hands in. Already stuck almost a full buy-in, he bet half pot in a single-raised pot and Galfond check-called on {5-Diamonds}{a-Hearts}{2-Hearts}. The {5-Clubs} turn prompted a pot bet of €2,421 from Venividi, a small raise to €6,800 from Galfond, and a call. On the {6-Spades} river, Galfond potted all in and Venividi snapped it off with aces full only to be shown quads.

After the break, the stream cut into the middle of a huge pot on {4-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds}{10-Hearts}{3-Spades}. Galfond potted in position for €7,200 and Venividi piled for €29K. Galfond called to create a €65K pot, and his {10-Spades}{6-Spades}{4-Spades}{9-Hearts} was slightly behind {j-Diamonds}{10-Diamonds}{9-Spades}{2-Spades} despite having the current best hand. However, the {5-Spades} didn't help Venividi. Then, Galfond coolered him again in a four-bet pot, making jacks full of aces on {a-Diamonds}{j-Spades}{6-Clubs}{j-Diamonds}{2-Hearts}. Galfond bet €4,000 into €22K on the turn then shoved for €8K effective on the river. Venividi clicked call with the case jack and was stuck €110K at the second break.

Galfond had a chance to get even overall when a pile of money went in on {4-Diamonds}{7-Hearts}{9-Spades}, with Galfond check-raising then calling a three-bet. The rest went in on the {6-Spades} with Galfond holding the nuts, but Venividi's set of nines filled up when another six hit the river.

Despite the setback, Galfond worked his way back to being down about €12K when the moment Galfond fans have been anticipating arrived. Galfond bet half pot for €600 on {8-Spades}{5-Spades}{7-Hearts} and Venividi called. On the {3-Diamonds}, Venividi check-raised pot over Galfond's pot-sized bet. Galfond peeled, leaving €10.3K back. Venividi checked the {6-Hearts} river and called off the rest with the flopped nuts, but Galfond had {10-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds}{9-Hearts}{5-Clubs} for two pair and then the rivered nuts. After about 19,650 hands, he'd finally taken the lead.

The day wasn't done though, as they'd still play another 370 hands. And Venividi would turn things around somewhat over the course of those hands. After Galfond peaked at about +€177,000, he got stuck again at about the 400-hand mark following a series of lost pots. Just €3,000 separated the two at break, and both took turns having the lead until about 560 hands into the session. Venividi dominated the last 100 hands or so to cut his deficit for the day to €113K, for an overall lead of about two buy-ins.

Hands Played: 664
Results: Phil Galfond +€113,680.87
Full session video, part 1

Day 33

Galfond got off to a roaring start as he cracked Venividi's {a-Hearts}{a-Spades}{j-Clubs}{9-Diamonds} right off the bat in a four-bet pot. Galfond had {k-Hearts}{j-Hearts}{j-Spades}{8-Spades} and flopped a combo draw on {2-Hearts}{10-Diamonds}{7-Hearts}. He took the initiative by potting into Venividi and hit a straight on the river to secure the first stack. Venividi erased that deficit immediately though, and by the time they broke at 125 hands or so, he was up about a buy-in.

Venividi furthered his edge when he stacked Galfond despite having the worst of it on a {10-Diamonds}{4-Spades}{8-Hearts} flop. The current best hand of {10-Clubs}{6-Clubs}{9-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds} trailed Galfond's {a-Spades}{10-Spades}{j-Diamonds}{9-Clubs} but all of Galfond's outs eluded him as it came {k-Clubs}, {4-Diamonds}. From there, Venividi picked off several bluffs for medium pots and kept showing up with big hands when Galfond called him on the river. He hit the $100,000 mark for the day about 300 hands in.

After some time hovering slightly above or below six figures down, Galfond started his comeback when Venividi bluffed off holding two blockers into Galfond's turned nut straight. Galfond again turned the nuts on a coordinated board of {8-Diamonds}{4-Spades}{10-Diamonds}{9-Spades}. He bet €4,400 into €7,300 and Venividi called. When the board didn't change on the {k-Hearts} river, Galfond piled for €12K and Venividi looked him up with {10-Spades}{10-Clubs}{9-Clubs}{7-Hearts} and Galfond showed the {q-Diamonds}{6-Diamonds}{j-Hearts}{5-Spades} for a flopped combo draw that got there.

Galfond continued to roll after that and broke through back into a profit at about 520 hands in. It was short-lived, though, as Venividi stacked Galfond in a sick pot when both players had huge hands on {2-Hearts}{10-Clubs}{6-Spades}{a-Spades}. A raising war saw stacks go in for a €42K pot with Galfond holding {a-Diamonds}{10-Spades}{7-Spades}{4-Spades} for aces up and a flush draw. Venividi had a very similar but even stronger hand with {a-Hearts}{10-Hearts}{q-Spades}{8-Spades} and his redraw came in on the {5-Spades} river.

Down €60K again, Galfond finished strong with a big call. In a limped pot, Venividi raised a flop bet on {9-Diamonds}{10-Diamonds}{7-Spades} and barreled off on the {2-Clubs} turn and {a-Spades} river. Galfond check-called almost all his money off for a pot of almost €45K and was rewarded when Venividi could only show {j-Spades}{j-Diamonds}{7-Clubs}{2-Spades} for blockers, while Galfond had {9-Spades}{9-Hearts}{4-Spades}{8-Diamonds} for a flopped set with his own blocker. He got the deficit to €28K at close.

Hands Played: 632
Results: Venividi1993 +€28,538.21
Full session video, part 1

Day 34

Venividi grabbed the lead early on when Galfond bet tiny with one-sixth pot on {7-Diamonds}{3-Diamonds}{7-Spades} after three-betting preflop, and Venividi fired in a raise to €3,600. Galfond called and they saw a {4-Hearts} turn. Galfond check-called €5,000 for a {5-Spades} river. He check-called the last €11.9K with {8-Diamonds}{8-Spades}{6-Diamonds}{6-Clubs} only to be shown {a-Diamonds}{4-Diamonds}{4-Spades}{q-Spades} for a boat.

Galfond struck back as he won a couple of stacks, first making full house over full house and then stuffing it in light on a board of {4-Diamonds}{10-Diamonds}{2-Hearts}{a-Clubs}. Venividi potted the turn for €10.8K and called off the last few thousand with {k-Diamonds}{j-Diamonds}{6-Spades}{5-Hearts} for a combo draw. Galfond had just one pair with {a-Spades}{5-Spades}{j-Clubs}{j-Hearts} but it held on the {4-Spades} river. Still, Venividi had an edge on the scoreboard of €25K heading into break after 229 hands.

Venividi caught fire after the break. He put in a four-bet with {q-Spades}{8-Spades}{9-Diamonds}{5-Spades} and Galfond called with an almost identical {q-Clubs}{6-Clubs}{9-Hearts}{8-Hearts}. Unfortunately for him, he found himself essentially hoping to salvage a chop after piling the {3-Spades}{9-Clubs}{2-Spades} flop. It wasn't to be as a spade turn left him dead. Venividi then three-bet and bet €2,200 on an {a-Diamonds}{7-Clubs}{9-Spades} flop. Galfond put in a surprising raise to €5,600 and Venividi stuck around for the {6-Spades}. They both checked, bringing an {8-Spades}. Venividi shoved and Galfond called with {j-Spades}{j-Clubs}{10-Hearts}{8-Clubs}, having turned the nuts. But, Venividi got there with {a-Spades}{k-Spades}{q-Hearts}{5-Hearts}.

After being down about €95K, Galfond got a stack back when he cracked aces in a four-bet pot, flopping top pair and a flush draw and turning his flush. Venividi then sent over a stack on {8-Spades}{10-Hearts}{3-Hearts}{4-Clubs} as he bet €2,200 on the flop then bet-called it off on the turn. Galfond had {10-Diamonds}{4-Diamonds}{9-Hearts}{6-Spades} for two pair and a gutter, and Venividi missed his wrap with {a-Diamonds}{j-Clubs}{9-Clubs}{q-Hearts}. At about 440 hands, Galfond broke into the green for the day.

Both players flopped huge when {5-Hearts}{9-Diamonds}{7-Spades} arrived and they raised each other until stacks were in. Each player had the nuts with Galfond's {8-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds}{6-Hearts}{5-Spades} looking for the board to pair small and Venividi's {10-Spades}{8-Spades}{6-Clubs}{3-Clubs} seeking spades or a bigger straight. He got his wish as it ran {3-Spades} and {j-Hearts} for a €44K pot.

Venividi was up about €50K going into the final stretch of 130 hands or so, and Galfond took over. Venividi three-bet preflop and bet €2,200 on {j-Clubs}{6-Spades}{k-Hearts}, then potted for €8K on the {8-Diamonds} turn. Unfortunately for him, he'd run into top set, and his jacks up had no equity when he called off his remaining money. Equities were much closer the next time they played for stacks, but Galfond's two pair held against a gutter plus nut flush draw to put him up about €15K.

He'd add a bit more to that tally and close out with a win almost identical to his previous day's loss.

Hands Played: 680
Results: Phil Galfond +€28,722.88
Full session video

Follow along with all the latest on the Galfond Challenge.

  • He lost almost €100,000 from his peak, but it was still a good return to the tables for Phil Galfond.

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