Almost 10,000 hands into the first Galfond Challenge, Phil Galfond find himself almost €800,000 in the hole to the highly experienced VeniVidi. Worse still, with €200,000 on the line in the side bet he is currently losing, Galfond stands to lose almost a million euros if things stay as they are. The worst part is, few observers expect Galfond to break even over the rest of the series.
So, if you’re Galfond, how do you deal with it? Tilting could cost him a million more, while doing nothing simply continues the slide. He must arrest his losses, turn them into profit and at the same time, maintain his demeanour and class at all times, all the while under constant analysis from poker insiders and constant demand as a parent of young children.
There is precedent for what to do next from the pages of poker history, with the Tom Dwan ‘Durrrr’ Challenge springing to mind for Joey Ingram.
Always willing to ‘investigate’ to a greater degree than most, Ingram has even dedicated some of his time at looking into Galfond’s recent losses and if there’s any way he can turn the tide.
Galfond’s mission is clear – to get back into the battle. He has only enjoyed one major winning day, where he was up just under €80,000 by close of play. He is now down by ten times that amount, with 62% of the Galfond Challenge still to run. That could be good news or bad news. In theory, he has plenty of time to get back into the reckoning.
The flip side of that coin of logic, things could get even worse for Galfond by the time the challenge ends. After this opening challenge, he has at least four more to get through, playing players such as Bill Perkins, who is up next and possibly can’t wait to play Galfond purely to promote his new book Die With Zero, which is out in three months’ time.
Galfond has many famous fans hoping he can get back into the contest, with German super high roller and poker legend Fedor Holz just one of them.
If his fans have been wondering – like ‘Chicago Joey’ – whether Galfond is OK, the man himself answered in the form of some real soul-searching on Twitter. In the first part of his self-analysis, Galfond speaks about the mental and emotional impact of downswings.
In the second part of what he calls ‘his self evaluation’, Galfond looks at what he can do to fight back against VeniVidi and what he can take from the challenge whether he is able to win or not.
If the Run It Once impresario of poker gets back into the Galfond Challenge then his hero status will be upgraded to gold-plated. If he doesn’t, then the manner in which he deals with defeat, along with the reliability of Run It Once itself and the Twitch stream that broadcasts most of the challenges will be what grow Galfond’s reputation. So far, despite the numeric losses he looks set to incur, Phil Galfond has come out of the Galfond Challenge with an even better standing in the poker industry.
That can only be good for the game.