April 06, 2020

While the tide has been turning for going on a month now as Phil Galfond worked his way back from a deficit north of €900,000 in his €100/€200 pot-limit Omaha match with “Venividi1993”, a landmark moment occurred on Monday as Galfond ended the day with the overall lead for the first time.

A very swingy session saw Galfond surge up as much as €150,000 on the day only for Venividi to take six figures of that back. Ultimately, though, Galfond finished with another push for his sixth win of at least €100,000 in the past 11 sessions.

With just under 3,000 hands left on Run It Once Poker, the action looks set to go for only about another week. Galfond has a lead of about four buy-ins with the finish line in sight, but given the six-figure swings regularly occurring in any one session, it’s up for debate how meaningful that lead is.

SEE ALSO: PLO Poker: A Beginner’s Guide to Pot-Limit Omaha

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Day 35

Venividi bluffed off a stack in the opening minutes as he called a three-bet and then raised Galfond’s small continuation bet on . Galfond called and then called a turn bet and river shove as it ran , . Despite having just , he was good against a zero-equity bluff: .

Galfond then found a beautiful spot on a board of . Both players held the nuts but Venividi could only scoop if a queen hit while Galfond had for a massive redraw. The was just the ticket for him and he retook the overall lead. Another stack went to Galfond as both players hit trip nines but Venividi’s queen kicker didn’t play against Galfond’s king.

Then, they were 150 big blinds deep when Venividi check-raised the turn to get stacks in on . Galfond shoved to get the last €10K in and create a €62K pot, holding for two pair and a heart draw. Venividi wasn’t in great shape with for an inferior pair and his own combo draw and he found no help on the river. He found himself stuck €93K at break.

Galfond furthered his edge after the break in two set-ups as he held with top set against a wrap plus flush draw, then he got bottom set in against top two and a straight draw and held there as well. Yet another top set for Galfond on , and this time Venividi stuck it in with only to be turned dead. Suddenly, Galfond was up €145K and six figures overall.

What looked like a potential €200K+ massacre turned around at about the 375-hand mark. The biggest blow came when Venividi saw his flop bet check-raised on . He called, bringing a turn. Galfond potted for €5,611 and Venividi called. On the river, Galfond potted and Venividi shoved about €6K more. Galfond made the crying call with a king-high flush but lost to as Venividi dragged a €63K pot. He continued to crush, and at the next break just under 500 hands, he had reduced the day’s deficit to €46K and was almost even overall.

Galfond won simultaneous pots on both tables to right the ship. On one, Venividi barreled off with the nut flush blocker and got snapped off by a king-high flush for €42K. On the other, Venividi check-raised a flop and checked the turn. He called a pot-sized bet of €6,733 and then called an €18K shove on the river. He’d improved to jacks full with , but Galfond had turned the nuts and rivered a sneaky higher boat with .

Stacks were reset with Galfond up just under €100K. They battled through 200 more relatively tamed hands until Venividi fired in the “good game.”

In the aftermath, Galfond seemed surprised that he’d built a four buy-in lead overall. However, the famously process-oriented pro said it’s far too early to do anything but stay focused on playing his best poker going forward.

“It’s exciting to be up for the first time,” he said. “But, no celebrating.”

Hands Played: 758
Results: Phil Galfond +€121,486.95
Full session video, part 1.

Follow along with all the latest on the Galfond Challenge.


It took 22,000 hands, but Phil Galfond has finally grabbed an end-of-day lead against “Venividi1993”.

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