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Thread: *** OFFICIAL *** 2020 Galfond Challenge Thread

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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    *** OFFICIAL *** 2020 Galfond Challenge Thread

    For those of you who care, Phil Galfond issued a challenge to anyone who wishes to play him heads up for a pre-agreed-upon number of hands at high stakes PLO.

    Galfond was once among the game's best in PLO, but he has played little in recent years, and some suspect the elite of the game have passed him by.

    He also agreed to sidebets on all six matches, most of which allowed his opponents to get underdog odds.

    A good (and frequently updated) writeup is here: https://www.pocketfives.com/galfond-challenge/

    The six challengers are: Online player VeniVidi1993, Online player ActionFreak, Bill Perkins, Brandon Adams, Chance Kornuth, and Dan 'Jungleman' Cates.

    All of the matches except for Adams' are taking place on Galfond's RunItOnce site. Adams is playing Galfond 40 hours live. (Side note: Adams used to post on NWP as wins_pot. I also used to be friendly with him, but we lost touch many years ago.)

    VeniVidi1993 is going first, and they have played 6 days.

    They are playing €100-€200 PLO, with Galfond having to pay a sidebet of €200,000 if he loses, and Veni having to pay €100,000 if he loses.

    Phil is getting shellacked so far.

    After 3937 hands over 6 days, Galfond is down a staggering €327,016 ($360,549). They still have 21,063 hands to go! Ouch!

    I should have sidebet on this. I had a feeling that an anonymous online guy willing to put up that kind of money against Galfond would likely be better than him (and perhaps is cheating with solvers on his end!)

    I might sidebet on ActionFreak if I can. ActionFreak is not even getting odds in the sidebet, so even Galfond thinks he's really good.

    Anyway, I think this is going to be a brutal result in the first match overall. After getting destroyed on Day 5 of the challenge, Phil mostly broke even today, but people pointed out that Phil "mostly won coolers and flips", and didn't really win anything else.

    Phil will likely win some back against the inferior Bill Perkins (who's just rich and wants to gamble), but I bet he's gets crushed by ActionFreak, and I'm not sure about how he'll do against Adams, Kornuth, and Jungleman. (He's putting up 1 million euros on a sidebet against Kornuth's 250k, so this will be really painful if he loses).

    Some are theorizing that perhaps Galfond sold action to the same investors who bought into the RunItOnce Poker site, which is losing money every month. Will these same investors lose even more? And if so, can that software be trusted to run these high stakes matches, if the investors (and by extension the programmers) have a vested interest in Phil winning?

    That would be the one reason I might NOT buy ActionFreak. I don't think Phil would cheat, but those unknown investors and programmers... who knows?

    Anyway, we will be keeping track of the matches in this thread.

  2. #2
    still early and anything can happen in the 20K hands that are left, but phil is getting brutalized...

    thought that after he got his ass kicked in the first few days, he'd have pounded away with sauce123 over the weekend to plug some things up...pretty sure sauce is still one of the top PLO guys out there...either he hasn't done that or it's still working it's way through...

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    Platinum duped_samaritan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    Some are theorizing that perhaps Galfond sold action to the same investors who bought into the RunItOnce Poker site, which is losing money every month. Will these same investors lose even more? And if so, can that software be trusted to run these high stakes matches, if the investors (and by extension the programmers) have a vested interest in Phil winning?
    You're taking that time he turned you down for a job way too personally.

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    Quote Originally Posted by duped_samaritan View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    Some are theorizing that perhaps Galfond sold action to the same investors who bought into the RunItOnce Poker site, which is losing money every month. Will these same investors lose even more? And if so, can that software be trusted to run these high stakes matches, if the investors (and by extension the programmers) have a vested interest in Phil winning?
    You're taking that time he turned you down for a job way too personally.
    Do you not agree with this statement?

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    Platinum duped_samaritan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by duped_samaritan View Post

    You're taking that time he turned you down for a job way too personally.
    Do you not agree with this statement?
    No. I'm sure people are theorizing that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by duped_samaritan View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post

    Do you not agree with this statement?
    No. I'm sure people are theorizing that.
    Theorizing what?

    You don't think it's important to know who owns a site where high stakes matches are taking place, if the site CEO is playing high stakes heads up there, and might be backed by those same investors?

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by duped_samaritan View Post

    No. I'm sure people are theorizing that.
    Theorizing what?

    You don't think it's important to know who owns a site where high stakes matches are taking place, if the site CEO is playing high stakes heads up there, and might be backed by those same investors?
    He’s just incapable of admitting he was wrong.

  8. #8
    What job did Druff get denied by galfond?

  9. #9
    What are they buying in for?

    $300k loss doesn't seem that huge at 100/200 to me.

    Take a couple zero's off. Losing $3k at 1/2 isn't great, but it's not like you are getting decimated. Obviously in one session you would have to be drunk/stupid to lose that much but over the course of 4000 hands it's a possible down swing.


    My fear for any sort of online poker at super high stakes is the other person is using sophisticated software that has poker almost solved.

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    Platinum duped_samaritan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by duped_samaritan View Post

    No. I'm sure people are theorizing that.
    Theorizing what?
    Theorizing the things you said some people were theorizing:


    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    Some are theorizing that perhaps Galfond sold action to the same investors who bought into the RunItOnce Poker site, which is losing money every month. Will these same investors lose even more? And if so, can that software be trusted to run these high stakes matches, if the investors (and by extension the programmers) have a vested interest in Phil winning?
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    You don't think it's important to know who owns a site where high stakes matches are taking place, if the site CEO is playing high stakes heads up there, and might be backed by those same investors?
    No, It's definitely important for people to know that Phil owns RIO. Especially the guys who decide to play him HU on it.

    Not trying to be sly here. I just think you've been jaded and rooting for him to fail ever since he turned you down for a job, and that's why youre now planting the 'maybe it's rigged' seed.
    Last edited by duped_samaritan; 01-29-2020 at 05:42 PM.

  11. #11
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    I am not rooting for him to fail.

    I do laugh at some of the site's issues, given that much of it wouldn't have occurred had they hired either me or someone like me, but I have no issue with Phil personally. By the time I e-mailed him offering to work there, he already had a team in place, and I figured that was probably the case before I even contacted him. Was just a longshot to see if he was interested. He wrote a long, very polite letter back, and I appreciated it. I have nothing personally against the guy. Seriously.

    I do think he's made a lot of really, really bad decisions regarding how he managed the business, but that's on him and his investors. None of that hurts or affects me any.

    I also don't think Phil would rig any matches. He doesn't seem like that type of person.

    I'm not concerned about him. I'm much more concerned with other people who have skin in the game, who may not be as honest as Phil. If you're an investor, and you have a relationship in some way with one or more programmers, you might want Phil to win these matches, especially if you also invested in the matches themselves. These people could have it rigged without Phil even knowing.

    This is why the question of, "Phil, does anyone own a piece of your action here who also owns a piece of (or works at) Run It Once Poker, besides yourself?" is a very important one -- and I haven't seen that addressed yet.

    For example, it would be highly unethical for one of the programmers to have a piece of Phil's action here, for obvious reasons..

    Of course, if Phil ends up losing overall, we will already have our answer as to whether or not it was rigged in any way. But we've only seen a fraction of one match played so far, so it's still very early.

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    Gold MrTickle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    I am not rooting for him to fail.

    I do laugh at some of the site's issues, given that much of it wouldn't have occurred had they hired either me or someone like me, but I have no issue with Phil personally. By the time I e-mailed him offering to work there, he already had a team in place, and I figured that was probably the case before I even contacted him. Was just a longshot to see if he was interested. He wrote a long, very polite letter back, and I appreciated it. I have nothing personally against the guy. Seriously.

    I do think he's made a lot of really, really bad decisions regarding how he managed the business, but that's on him and his investors. None of that hurts or affects me any.

    I also don't think Phil would rig any matches. He doesn't seem like that type of person.

    I'm not concerned about him. I'm much more concerned with other people who have skin in the game, who may not be as honest as Phil. If you're an investor, and you have a relationship in some way with one or more programmers, you might want Phil to win these matches, especially if you also invested in the matches themselves. These people could have it rigged without Phil even knowing.

    This is why the question of, "Phil, does anyone own a piece of your action here who also owns a piece of (or works at) Run It Once Poker, besides yourself?" is a very important one -- and I haven't seen that addressed yet.

    For example, it would be highly unethical for one of the programmers to have a piece of Phil's action here, for obvious reasons..

    Of course, if Phil ends up losing overall, we will already have our answer as to whether or not it was rigged in any way. But we've only seen a fraction of one match played so far, so it's still very early.
    He spoke about selling some pieces on Joeyís podcast

  13. #13
    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    VenVidi won another 52k euro.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    VenVidi won another 52k euro.
    I tried to watch some of this today. Commentators were insufferable. I legit have no idea why they stream it without hole cards. Or why they have commentators. Just stream it without. The dudes just tell stories about shit they did with Phil back in 2010 or other boring shit. I basically would just click and look at his red total out of curiosity after listening to them for a bit

    If he drops $2 million in this thing, I would have to guess that not only is Phil not one of the 10 best HU PLO guys, but he probably isn’t even in the top 200 of these kids who have been running sims on solvers for the last 5 years for hours a day. The nerds it hat thread say he isn’t even running bad

    I have to think his close friends who I’m sure are studying with him aren’t even as good as these kids. There has to be a point him and his backers throw in the towel because he isn’t going to make enough off Perkins or Adams to cover his other losses. They say that other player is better than this one. This will be the largest marketing expenditure ever for a site that is supposedly failing. I can’t figure out the angle. Galfond always seemed level headed and I’d think he would have realized he was way behind these kids. Laying odds to dudes like it’s 2011. Doesn’t make sense to me that he could be that wrong. Makes me question the whole thing. I’m cheering for him, but he looks totally outclassed.

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    Owner Dan Druff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCR View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Druff View Post
    VenVidi won another 52k euro.
    I tried to watch some of this today. Commentators were insufferable. I legit have no idea why they stream it without hole cards. Or why they have commentators. Just stream it without. The dudes just tell stories about shit they did with Phil back in 2010 or other boring shit. I basically would just click and look at his red total out of curiosity after listening to them for a bit

    If he drops $2 million in this thing, I would have to guess that not only is Phil not one of the 10 best HU PLO guys, but he probably isnít even in the top 200 of these kids who have been running sims on solvers for the last 5 years for hours a day. The nerds it hat thread say he isnít even running bad

    I have to think his close friends who Iím sure are studying with him arenít even as good as these kids. There has to be a point him and his backers throw in the towel because he isnít going to make enough off Perkins or Adams to cover his other losses. They say that other player is better than this one. This will be the largest marketing expenditure ever for a site that is supposedly failing. I canít figure out the angle. Galfond always seemed level headed and Iíd think he would have realized he was way behind these kids. Laying odds to dudes like itís 2011. Doesnít make sense to me that he could be that wrong. Makes me question the whole thing. Iím cheering for him, but he looks totally outclassed.
    Yeah this looks like a battle between 2010 Online PLO Crusher vs 2020 Online PLO Crusher, and you know how that's probably turning out.

    And yes, the second guy is so good that Phil wouldn't even give him odds on the sidebet.

    I never understood this challenge from a marketing standpoint, unless Phil really believed he was that good to where this would end up being more of a fundraiser than a marketing gimmick.

    The money could have been spent so much better in other ways.

    I guess we can't fully comment until it's all over and we see his result against all six players combined (including sidebets), but it's not looking very pretty.

    Also, how does Phil know that this VenVidi guy isn't running some kind of solver in the background on a second machine?

    This whole thing looks like a


  16. #16
    this would be a different story if they were getting to something like 300-400+ BBs and playing that way...

    don't think most online guys run solvers for situations where you get insanely deep like that...think in a game like PLO the tree would be just too big to even worry about...

    but it seems like they aren't straying much from 100-200BB play which im pretty sure you can really sink your teeth into with a solver...

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by GambleBotsChafedPenis View Post
    this would be a different story if they were getting to something like 300-400+ BBs and playing that way...

    don't think most online guys run solvers for situations where you get insanely deep like that...think in a game like PLO the tree would be just too big to even worry about...

    but it seems like they aren't straying much from 100-200BB play which im pretty sure you can really sink your teeth into with a solver...
    I know nothing of GTO solvers other than the basic concept of studying ranges from different positions and optimal plays, and I just understand that because I’ve seen guys show how they study on videos, but they said that was his condition. That he could reset table at 200bb deep for the reasons you said. I don’t even know what a real time solver is other than I assume something that inputs the actual hand being played and pumps out the optimal play instantly. If it’s that quick I don’t even know why anyone would bother playing at this point

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by BCR View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by GambleBotsChafedPenis View Post
    this would be a different story if they were getting to something like 300-400+ BBs and playing that way...

    don't think most online guys run solvers for situations where you get insanely deep like that...think in a game like PLO the tree would be just too big to even worry about...

    but it seems like they aren't straying much from 100-200BB play which im pretty sure you can really sink your teeth into with a solver...
    I know nothing of GTO solvers other than the basic concept of studying ranges from different positions and optimal plays, and I just understand that because Iíve seen guys show how they study on videos, but they said that was his condition. That he could reset table at 200bb deep for the reasons you said. I donít even know what a real time solver is other than I assume something that inputs the actual hand being played and pumps out the optimal play instantly. If itís that quick I donít even know why anyone would bother playing at this point
    I've never worked with a solver, but I think they just pump out frequencies...so while it gives you an optimal play you would still have to execute those frequencies just as the solver says...but yeah it's gonna really help a shitton if you had one running in real time...

    I hear ya on not playing at this point...but you'd be surprised about the amount of mongs still online...at this point having 6-7 figure battles online seems to be a little much to handle...i'd definitely have pause for concern...

  19. #19

  20. #20
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    A lot of asskissers responding positively on Twitter, but they're all missing the point that this isn't just variance in all likelihood, and Phil is either playing against a solver program or a much better opponent.

    Of course if he doesn't have much of himself, it's not as painful.

    He seems positive but that's just his public persona. He could be suffering from stage 4 cancer and find a way to come off happy-go-lucky. I don't have that in me. While I can act normally while on a losing streak, I can't discuss the losing itself without seeming frustrated.

    Anyway I think privately he's telling investors that he will make it back off Perkins and some of the others. But if he gets down over a million here, that might start to cause some issues.

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