The break worked, eh? What a difference a short break made. Whether Phil Galfond needed a simple breather, or time to study up on his opponent (knowing Galfond, he probably did both), Galfond returned to the virtual poker tables to resume the Phil Galfond Challenge, which is a 25,000 hand heads-up battle at €100-200 PLO. Taking a couple of weeks off from the grind apparently helped Galfond after he was stuck €900K against VeniVidi.
In mid-February it looked like Galfond was ready to throw in the towel. After the first 15 sessions, he was getting utterly destroyed. It's not easy getting stuck €100-200 PLO 900K in 10,000 hands. He made the wise decision to step away for a bit and to re-evaluate everything after getting knocked down and kicked around for two weeks straight. During the time off, he paid VeniVidi €3K penalty for not playing on scheduled days.
Everyone told Galfond to quit, but Galfond didn't want to quit outright because after all he's an ultra-competitive player that wanted a shot to reduce the huge hole (more like a ginormous crater) he dug himself into. It's not easy to experience a downswing, and it's even more difficult to have all this happen on a huge stage with the entire world can see in real time on Twitch! He did the wise thing by paying the daily penalty to buy himself more time.
Obviously, Galfond decided to resume, which in my eyes earned even more respect for one of the all-time PLO GOATS.
The break worked and Galfond returned with a vengeance. He booked four wins in the five sessions since his break. The tides have turned for Galfond, while VeniVidi finds himself bogged down in a slump with four losing sessions in the last week.
On the first session back, aka Day 16, Galfond booked his biggest win to date with a whopping €183,481 score spanning 574 hands. Galfond and VeniVidi reached 10,501 hands. He trimmed the overall deficit to €716,758.
On Day 17, Galfond lost €21,571 as the two reached 11,083 hands. It was just a minor setback, because Galfond had not lost since then.
On Day 18, they played almost 600 hands and Galfond booked a win €27,198 as they reached 11,638 hands.
On Day 19, Galfond won €26,018 as the two inched closer to the midway mark. They finished session #19 with 12,276 total hands.
On Day 20, Galfond and VeniVidi played 566 hands. Galfond had another huge session. He won €92,803 as the two PLO combatants officially passed the halfway mark (12,500 hands). At the end of the 20th session, they reached 12,842 hands. Galfond chipped away at his deficit with another huge score. He was still stuck €592K, but finally dipped under the €600K mark.
What a difference a break makes, eh? They played 2,915 hands in the last five sessions and Galfond stormed back to win nearly €308K while winning four out of five since his triumphant return. Galfond won three sessions in a row.
- Session 15: 9927 Hands, Galfond - €900,240
- Session 20: 12842 Hands, Galfond - €592,309
The Galfond Challenge resumes today for Day 21 action. You can follow along via Twitch.