Phil Galfond Grabs Temporary Lead in Miracle PLO Challenge Comeback

Phil Galfond has performed a miracle turnaround in his opening PLO Challenge match against VeniVidi1993, pulling back an almost €1million loss to even sneaking ahead for a while this week in the highstakes heads-up battle…

By: Andrew Burnett

Many poker pros, fans and writers, myself included, had all but written off the RIO bosses’ chances back in February. Just 10k hands into the 25k hand challenge, Phil was staring at a €900,000+ hole and it was not a pretty sight…

In an almost emotional post on Twitter, he explained of the rising disaster: “I was playing scared. I was expecting to lose. I simply couldn't get my brain to work properly. The most difficult thing about an extended downswing isn't the loss of money — it's the loss of hope.”

Galfond took a lengthy timeout, with a €3k per day penalty, to consider his options - resigning the match and paying out a €200,000 sidebet, continuing and watching the gap rise and hope fade, or somehow find a way to raise his game and limit the losses.

Most expected a white flag, but instead he knuckled down, re-entered the ring, and proved that his A-game is still more than good enough to fight with the new breed of online crusher.

Another 10,000 hands in and Galfond had his opponent on the ropes, the anonymous PLO beast rage-quitting last week and then asking for a timeout himself.

A rejuvenated Phil even managed to sneak in a $200/$400 mini-match as he waited for his main foe to recover.

This week, against all the odds, Galfond finally bridged what was left of the one-time chasm – the moment he actually grabbed the lead shown in Rob Yong’s tweet in our article opener.

Galfond eventually booked a €113k winning session and though still €40k down overall it was a momentous occasion in the match.

Of course, there is the no-small-matter of the remaining 5000 hands to be played – and that as we have seen could mean anything up to €450k either way based on what we have seen.

Regardless, it’s been an epic comeback and something to thrill the fans during a difficult time.

Here are the day-by-day breakdowns of the Galfond-VeniVidi match:

1 655    VV €75,527
2 715    PG   2,615
3 557    VV   84,437
4 581    VV   17,544
5 726    VV   155,063
6 703    VV   13
7 823    VV   52,057
8 940    VV   60,743
9 446    VV   12,706
10 696    VV   100,993
11 741    VV   15,647
12 622    PG   87,940
13 470    VV   267,949
14 593    VV   48,473
15 659    VV   102,593
16 574    PG   183,481
17 582    VV 21,571
18 555    PG   27,198
19 638    PG   26,018
20 566    PG   92,803
21 576    PG   3,766
22 556    VV   88,465
23 598    PG   23,821
24 628    PG   19,099
25 664    PG   139,485
26 539    PG   110,752
27 645    VV   76,026
28 503    PG   140,979
29 642    PG   85,271
30 777    VV   26,992
31 393    PG   106,328
32 664    PG   113,680



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