Another round-up from the World Series of Poker this time focusing on Phil Galfond emerging from his online poker room laboratory to capture his third bracelet in an event he never plays.
There are people in the poker world who check into a hotel room, throw their toothbrush into a glass tumbler and immediately set about finding a cobweb to Zippo to death.
Phil Galfond is not one of those people.
A 30-minute walk ago, before nipping into the dentist to book an appointment with a man who looked eerily like Omar Sharif, I wrote a piece about Neymar Jr.
The Brazilian and Paris St Germain forward is the most expensive footballer in the world. Even if you knew as much about football as I do about the typography of waterfalls, the price tag alone ($263m) gives you a hint that he’s also one of the most skillful.
Neymar earns $73m per year, and $17m of that haul comes in the form of endorsements from the likes of Beats, Nike and McDonald’s.
And yet, as he proved against Mexico, he is a cheat.
Galfond is also a sportsman who takes a pew in the higher echelon of our game. He has earned more than $8m profit playing online cash games against every conceivable champion you stick a spear in the hand of and send him into battle.
There are no endorsements.
Poker is a whore.
Football is a beautiful lady.
If Galfond were endorsing Beats, Nike and McDonald’s, I would have faith in his ability to lead my children, as it seems, that very high on his list of priorities is this unwavering need to pour whatever resources he can into making poker an excellent game for our children. And one day they will play, and you and I will both want them taken care of when they do.
So it’s with delight that I get to spend the next 20-minutes, my arsehole burning on this godforsaken wooden weapon of a chair, writing about Galfond’s third bracelet win at the World Series of Poker (WSOP).
Galfond Wins Event #60: $10,000 Pot-Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Championship.
For the past 12-months, Mr Galfond has been hidden in a cave somewhere trying to figure out how to create the perfect online poker room. Like a practical lover walking a nervous partner over every bit and bump, Galfond is a bugger for ironing out every wrinkle.
There is a G-Spot to this thing, and he wants to find it.
Every word this man utters, either through Twitter, interview or blog post, is as deliberate and well-thought-out as the moves he makes on the felt. The word ‘meticulous’ springs to mind.
So when he joined 236 other souls in a game he has only ever played as part of a mixed game, it came as no surprise to me to learn that he killed it like a hunter armed with a bazooka would kill a parrot that talked too much.
“I was figuring it out as I went,” Galfond told PokerNews after his win.
Galfond faced three fellow bracelet winners at the final table in the shape of Chris Lee, Marco Johnson and David “ODB” Baker. Both Johnson and Galfond knew how it felt to do it twice.
Galfond found himself all-in secretly begging for the right river card on several occasions throughout a final table squeezed between the firm fingers of Michael McKenna, and it was McKenna who became Galfond’s End Boss.
When the pair began the final stage of the event, McKenna arrived armed with a 2:1 chip lead, and the experience of making a final table fresh in his memory after his fourth-place finish in the $1,500 Razz.
And then this happened.
McKenna raised to 260,000 and Galfond called. The flop came down Qd7d6h; both players checked. The turn was the 8c, McKenna bet 300,000; Galfond check-raised to 1.2m; McKenna called. The river was the 5c; Galfond bet pot for 2.9m and McKenna called. Galfond showed Ad9c8s2s for ace-deuce, and a straight, and McKenna mucked.
It wasn’t a fatal wound, but the game was over a few hands later.
“I just ran really hot at the right time,” said a humble Galfond.
Galfond will go into the Main Event with a smile on his face before returning to his number one priority, his wife Farah, and their unborn child.
“Run It Once Poker is going to be my first priority.” Said Galfond.
Oh, Phil, you may have mastered poker, but you have a lot to learn about women. I strongly suggest you don’t use your PL08 strategy on becoming a father 🙂
Galfond has now won $2.9m playing live, more than $8m playing online cash games, and I hazard a guess he is also a multi-million dollar winner in live cash games.
All three of his live tournament wins have ended with a bracelet ceremony.
In 2008, he defeated 152 entrants to win the $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha for $817,781. Galfond’s second piece of gold came in 2015 when he beat 77 entrants in the $10,000 2-7 Draw Lowball No-Limit Championship for $224,383.
It was only Galfond’s second cash of the summer, as he’s been spending most of his time making pennies in the live cash games so he can decorate the baby’s room.
Final Table Results
1. Phil Galfond – $567,788
2. Michael McKenna – $350,922
3. Ali Abduljabbar – $240,497
4. Chad Power – $168,275
5. Chris Lee – $120,263
6. Marco Johnson – $87,830
7. David “ODB” Baker – $65,579
8. Chase Steely – $50,086
36 players earned enough to buy a battered ice cream truck including the double bracelet winner Brandon Shack-Harris (12th), reigning Player of the year Chris “let’s make a video” Ferguson (13th), and the man chasing his title, Julien Martini (25th).