Everyone says high-stakes PLO is swingy, but this is redonkulous. Holy OMGCLAYCIKEN! Phil Galfond pulled off one of the sickest comebacks in sports during his €100K/€200K PLO heads-up battle against VeniVidi. How many people do you know could be down $1 million after one of the worst three-week stretch of poker in your life, and then bounce back with a million dollar heater to get unstuck?
Sometimes the greatest cash game sessions you have are the ones in which you fell into a deep hole, but somehow stopped the bleeding, and then fought back to get unstuck. We always knew Galfond was the GOAT, but he just reminded the world why he's the best of the best.
Run It One Poker hosted the inaugural Galfond Challenge (playing 2-tables of heads-up PLO) at the start of the year. VeniVidi was the first challenger in a long list of PLO savants and billionaire ballas like Bill Perkins. So much has happened within the Challenge itself since cards went in the air in late January. Since then, Galfond lost and won a million bucks and the coronavirus pandemic ravished the world shutting down global economies and locking down more than half the planet.
With all of the major sporting leagues and events halted or postponed, online gambling and online poker has been one of the few salvation for bored souls and hardcore poker junkies. The Galfond Challenge is MUST SEE TV, or MUST SEE TWITCH. You can stream the Galfond Challenge via Run It Once's Twitch feed whenever its running, which is awesome for both amateurs and pros. If you've been wanting to learn PLO, or looking to sharpen your skills, then check out the Galfond Challenge. It's fun to see how the sharks play the game for nosebleed stakes.
So... the comeback. The sick, sensation, unbelievable, and miraculous comeback. It's one of the craziest and most impressive comebacks in recent poker lore. Galfond went for busto to robusto. From zero to down €900K to back to zero in 32 sessions. Hollywood could not have scripted a better ending. It's almost too crazy to be true. Is this real life? Are we living in a simulation? Is Galfond really married to a soap opera star?
Okay, maybe we shouldn't go too crazy amount this because it's PLO after all and VeniVidi could go on a heater and win back a half-mil in a few days.
But kudos to Galfond and his mental toughness. He didn't freak out when he was down €900K (or $1 million USD) as the entire high stakes poker community watched on the virtual rail and thousands of poker enthusiasts sweated the action via Twitch. It's one thing to play terrible poker in the corner of a darkened poker room, but it's a whole other beast to play like crap for the entire universe to see.
Galfond almost quit after the first 15 sessions, but he didn't. I woulda lost my shit if I dropped a million bucks in front of a global audience and would numbered my senses with downers for a month straight before moving to Antarctica or somewhere remote and as far away from poker as possible.
Galfond had enough sense to take a break (Insert Dick Vitale "Get a T-O baby!" shriek here ____) in order to catch his breath and stop the bleeding. During the pause, he figured out his leaks and pinpointed VeniVidi's weaknesses. With a tweaked game plan in place, he came out swinging. And just like that...17 sessions later, he's unstuck.
Of course, Galfond's bad luck and sub-optimal play could have continued and he would have dug himself a deeper grave after the initial 15-day onslaught and bloodbath.
There was also a good chance that Galfond was really out of his element. He was the PLO GOAT for many years, but what if the game had finally passed him by while he took time off to devote to building a poker website and start a family? It takes a significant amount of self-awareness and insane amount of self-confidence to realize your lost $1 million yet come to the conclusion that you're fine and just need to hunker down a bit before launching a counterattack. Galfond was gambling on himself, or more so, doubling down on himself.
Sometimes you get crushed. Sometimes, you're the crusher.
What a difference a month makes, eh? Since the restart, Galfond won over €860K. In their last 11 sessions, Galfond won 8 of them and VeniVidi only booked wins in three.
In the last 8 sessions, Galfond booked 5 six-figure scores to almost pull even. He's been on a super-heater, while VeniVidi's slide has also been one for the record books as he continues to hemorrhage cash.
In mid-February, the poker world was clamoring about the disastrous start to the Galfond Challenge. By the start of April, it's all even. Less than 5,000 hands to go in the 25K-hand Galfond Challenge and 80% of the match is in the books, but Galfond still has momentum.
It's a whole new ballgame. Don't miss Day 33 on Friday.