Monday April 13, 2020 at 4:31 pm

After 2.5 months and 39 sessions, the first Galfond Challenge with 25,000 hands of €100/€200 PLO has come to a conclusion. Phil Galfond completed his epic comeback by rallying from down €900K to secure a modest +€9,843 victory and win a €100K side bet against VeniVidi. But even Galfond admitted he didn't think they'd finish it off on Sunday, but they played 699 hands to cap it off.


Sick comeback, bruh. I mean, it's a silly, sensational, sick comeback any way you cut it for Phil Galfond. Okay, a few high-stakes ballas would scoff at my half-baked, lazy assessment, but none of them read this site anyway. For the rest of us stuck in the back end of the Snowpiercer post-apocalyptic gambling train, here's no other way to really look at what happened other than to acknowledge the obvious (ho hum... PLO is swingy and variance is a bitch of a beast), but let's also almost marvel at the feat.

A man stood at the edge of the abyss and €900K in the hole.

It's one thing to get run over by an opponent for several weeks straight, but it's a true testament of mental toughness to rally back and secure a win.

"When a man looks in the abyss, there's nothing staring back at him... at that moment, the man finds his character and that's what keeps the man out of the abyss."

That's a quote from Oliver Stone's "Wall Street", but I always felt it was appropriate to keep it as a mantra for gamblers during dire times.

We always knew Galfond was the GOAT during the peak OMGClayAiken phase of the halcyon glory days of the online poker boom in the 00s. No one slayed more PLO-denizens and ninjas during the boom.

But that was then... a decade later, Galfond might have lost a half-step, but he's mentally tougher than ever before. He put on his deft PLO skills for the world to watch through social media prisms and Twitch streams. Kudos for him to sticking to his guns and believing in himself, especially during a pandemic, when the first 15 days of the Galfond Challenge went sideways.

Last week, Galfond stormed back to pull even. But with a few days remaining, would he lose his focus? You see that happen to teams all the time when they're down 20 points in the fourth quarter, or down two goals late in a game to rally and tie it up... only to run out of gas and fail to fend off a counterattack.

Galfond and VeniVidi went back and forth in the final days of their heads-up bout. But neither could really surge ahead.

With less than 700 hands to go, the entire poker world got all greased up and geared up for a conclusion on Sunday during Day 39.

However, both players expected the action to slow down a bit and perhaps they'd get in 500 or so hands and then hold off the last 200 or so on Monday.

But with both players deviating from their game plans, a significant amount of pre-flop folding or fop-folds occurred as they race through the first 500 hands.

"Until 300 hands left, my goal was to play the best poker that I could and not necessarily do anything too crazy to the adjustment of the situation, than adjust to what he's doing," said Galfond. "I was trying to figure out what kind of strategy he was doing, and then counter."

The last 100 hands saw both player switch up their strategy.

"I did not think we would get under 200 hands," Galfond admitted. "Did my best to think about all the scenarios. But I didn't spend too much time thinking about under 150 hands. I never thought we'd get that far (on Day 39)."

Many moments in which Galfond could have lost the match in any given hand if he lost a monsterpotten. He had put up 200K against VeniVidi's 100K. Then again, VeniVidi was playing a little too conservative too early on Day 39, when many of the GTO-experts felt should have been pushing it and playing a tad more aggressive.

"In the last 80 hands, I got some of the best hands I had the entire Challenge," said Galfond. "I had to fold them. It's scary to build pots. After it gets a certain size, I'm not allowed to fold anymore."

Coming into Day 39... Galfond had a +23,581 winning session for Day 38. VeniVidi led by 8,171 going into the final day.

On Day 39, Galfond posted another double-green day with a +9,843 score. He finished +1,671 overall after 25,001 hands to secure the victory in the first Galfond Challenge against VeniVidi.

When asked about his level of play on Day 39 and if he brought his "A game", Galfond responded with "B+. There were a lot of weird adjustments. I doubt either of us played it perfectly. This is definitely the weirdest I've ever played. Very strange for a cash game."

Poker is a zero-sum game... for every winner, there's a loser and vice versa. While the poker world celebrates Galfond's achievement, many pros tipped their hats to VeniVidi.

"They say heroes come and go, but legends never die," tweeted Nick Schulman. "To our King, we say salud, thank you for the memories. Heartfelt congrats and condolences to the kid. You'll bounce back."

Pro Ryan Daut summed it up best, "Let's pour one out Veni the legend. Poor guy lost 7 figures in a month of quarantine where he would normally be absolutely printing money against inferior players blasting out of boredom. One of the best PLO players of all time."

Watch the final day of action here...

Latest news
Monday November 13, 2023 at 11:20 pm
Sami Bechahed wins 2023 NAPT Las Vegas Main Event

The PokerStars-branded North American Poker Tour made its triumphant return, and Sami Bechahed shipped the NAPT Las Vegas Main Event at Resorts World. The $1,650 buy-in NAPT Main Event attracted 1,095 runners and a prize pool worth $1.6 million. Bechahed -- a poker dealer -- banked $268,945 for first place when he outlasted a final table that included Jonathan Borenstein, David Coleman, Ping Liu, Sergio Aido, and Nick Schulman.

Saturday October 21, 2023 at 8:46 pm
Jared Bleznick ships $1.3 million at Super High Roller Bowl PLO

Jared Bleznick was the last player standing at the first-ever Super High Roller Bowl PLO $100,000 buy-in event at the Aria Casino in Las Vegas. Bleznick outlasted 38 runners and won $1,292,000 in the record-setting high roller PLO affair. Meanwhile, Isaac Haxton finished in second place but he moved into first place on the PokerGo Tour Leaderboard after his deep run.

Tuesday October 10, 2023 at 3:09 am
RIP Anthony Holden, ‘Big Deal' poker author passes away at 76

The poker world lost one of its finest authors when Anthony Holden passed away at age 76. Holden penned, translated, and edited nearly 40 books during his illustrious career as a journalist and writer. “Big Deal: A Year as a Professional Poker Player” is considered one of the best books ever written about poker, and it chronicled Holden's journey into the gambling underworld in Las Vegas in the late 1980s.

Tuesday September 19, 2023 at 12:27 am
2023 Poker Masters: Darren Elias, Vladas Tamasauskas early winners

The 2023 Poker Masters is underway at the Aria Casino in Las Vegas and two events are in the books. Lithuania's Vladas Tamasauskas outlasted a record-setting field of 114 entries to win Event #1 $10K NL for a score worth $239,400. American pro Darren Elias was the last player standing in Event #2 $10K NL and he banked $223,100 and his second PGT title.

Wednesday September 6, 2023 at 1:52 am
Simon Wiciak wins 2023 EPT Barcelona Main Event for €1.1 million

France's Simon Wiciak was the last player standing at the 2023 EPT Barcelona €5,300 buy-in Main Event, and he outlasted 2,120 runners to win €1,134,375 at a rowdy final table that included a pair of Brazilians. The final three players cut a money deal with Wiciak besting Brazil's Joao Sydenstricker and British pro Carl Shaw. The final table in Barcelona also included Canada's Santiago Plante, Brazil's Andre Akkari, and Argentina's Ezequiel Waigel.

Thursday August 24, 2023 at 7:19 pm
Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk meet in High Stakes Duel 4

The next big matchup in PokerGo's High Stakes Duel will feature Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk. The two pros will meet once again in the latest installment of HSD 4 Round 2. Polk defeated Negreanu in their own High Stakes Feud than ended in early 2021 with Negreanu losing $1.2 million after logging 25,000 hands of heads-up NL.

Friday August 18, 2023 at 5:35 pm
PokerStars releases 2023 WCOOP schedule

PokerStars released the schedule for the upcoming 2023 World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP). This year's epic and popular online series features 110 tournaments with three different tiered buy-ins and $80 million in guaranteed prize pools starting on Sunday, September 10 and running for 25 days through October 4. There are 12 championship events on the docket at the 2023 WCOOP.

Wednesday August 16, 2023 at 8:16 pm
Billy Kopp and Tobias Schwecht win WSOP Circuit Main Events

The World Series of Poker Circuit handed out gold rings to a pair of Main Event champions. German pro Tobias Schwecht was the last player standing at the World Series of Poker International Super Circuit London in the UK, and he banked £480K or approximately $610K USD for winning the Main Event. American pro and WSOP bracelet winner Billy Kopp locked up a third-career ring when he shipped 2023 WSOP Circuit Harrah's Cherokee Main Event in North Carolina for $376,154.

Tuesday August 15, 2023 at 12:13 am
2023 WSOP Paradise releases schedule

The WSOP released an official schedule of events for the inaugural WSOP Paradise at the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas. The WSOP Paradise kicks off on December 3 and final event begins on December 14 with 15 bracelets events up for grabs. There's two online events and cards go in the air for the Main Event on December 9. The $25K GGMillion$ High Rollers Championship is slated for December 5.

Tuesday July 18, 2023 at 1:46 am
Breaking News
Dan Weinman wins 2023 WSOP Main Event for $12.1 million

The 2023 World Series of Poker Main Event finally played down from 10,043 entrants to the last player standing in Las Vegas. Atlanta-based pro Daniel Weinman is the 2023 WSOP Main Event champion and he earned a first-place payday worth $12.1 million. He also snagged a second-career bracelet. Americans finished 1-2-3 in this year's Main Event. Steven Jones was the runner up and he won $6.5 million for second place. Adam Walton won $4 million for a third-place finish.

Saturday July 15, 2023 at 10:46 pm
2023 WSOP: Adam Walton leads Main Event Final Table

The 2023 World Series of Poker Main Event in Las Vegas reached a final table with nine players remaining in the hunt for $12.1 million and the coveted special bracelet. Adam Walton from Los Angeles leads the final table with 143.8M in chips. Also still alive are Americans Steven Jones and Dan Weinman, Toby Lewis and Dean Hutchison from the UK, Germany's Jan-Peter Jachtmann, Ukraine's Ruslan Prydryk, Juan Maceiras from Spain, and Daniel Holzner from Italy. The final table resumes on Sunday.

Tuesday July 11, 2023 at 2:35 pm
2023 WSOP Day 4 Update: Ryan Tosoc leads final 441

Day 4 of the 2023 WSOP Main Event saw the money bubble burst early on Monday and when they concluded the action, only 441 players survived and were left in the hunt. American pro Ryan Tosoc bagged the chip lead with 5.12M and two other players had stacks over 5M including Mitch Halverson and India's Aditya Systla. Also, John Racener is currently in the Top 10 in chips with 3.7M.

Free tournaments and added prizes

The Club Poker organizes freerolls and special tournaments with added prizes.
To qualify for free, register on our poker partners websites:

Tournaments Club Poker
Big Poker League
today at 8:04 pm
$125 added