Phil Galfond Makes Amazing Comeback To Win First Challenge Against VeniVidi1993!

Amazing comeback for Phil Galfond! Once down more than €900,000, Galfond made phenomenal comebacks to eventually win the ‘Galfond Challenge’ against ‘VeniVidi1993’ in a dramatic fashion.

The three-time WSOP bracelet winner secured the victory, booking €1,472.08 in profit after the required 25,000-hands in the challenge. He also secured the €100,000 side bet that his opponent posted. Good for Galfond as he managed to avoid a huge loss as the match had a side bet of €200K : €100K between the players with Galfond having to pay extra €200K if he was to lose to VeniVidi1993.

The high-stakes challenge between Galfond and ‘VeniVidi1993’ lasted 39 sessions with the first session running on January 22, 2020, and the final session wrapping it all up on Sunday, April 12.

Galfond was on backfoot for the majority of the challenge. The PLO legend had come down to €900,000 after a losing spree in the first 15 sessions. The rough start forced him to take a break on February 9. The extended break costed him a few thousand dollars in penalties per missed session. The action resumed March 4. Galfond came back strongly and managed a lead against his opponent.

The final session played on April 12 was a must-see affair, with over 25,000 viewers tuning in on Twitch and numerous others checking the details on social media. Entering the 39th and final session, Galfond was down €8,171 with 24,302 hands played and only 698 remaining.

‘VeniVidi1993’ held the lead for about first 75 hands but Galfond worked his way into the lead. While he stayed ahead early in the session but fell behind again midway through the day. There were several points during the finale where ‘VeniVidi1993’ was close to mathematically securing a win.

With just 243 hands remaining, the two took a break. At that time VeniVidi1993 had a €30,910 lead and was very close to sealing the deal. Galfond was on the verge of defeat, but VeniVidi1993 then adopted a defensive strategy towards the close of the challenge, trying to protect the lead. The shift in approach for the aggressive online player opened the door for Galfond to make a comeback.

In the first 24 hands of single-table action, Galfond managed to take down enough small pots to take a slight lead before the decisive hand of the challenge arose, where both players had full houses, but Galfond’s higher hand had won. After that hand, the Run It Once (RIO) owner Galfond eventually went on to win the first of seven confirmed high-stakes clashes in the Galfond Challenge!

“I did not think we were going to get under 300 hands with it still being anybody’s game. It was ridiculous,” said Galfond in an interview with commentator Joe Stapleton moments after securing the win. He later added on Twitter, “Over the past 15 years, I’ve played poker in a number of high-pressure situations. Nothing came close to feeling as intense as today did. I’m overwhelmed, exhausted, and most of all, grateful.”

Challenge Results

HandsDaily Winner
Day 1 (Jan. 22)655VeniVidi1993€72,572.68
Day 2 (Jan. 23)715Phil Galfond€2,615.26
Day 3 (Jan. 24)557VeniVidi1993€84,437.52
Day 4 (Jan. 25)581VeniVidi1993€17,544.87
Day 5 (Jan. 27)726VeniVidi1993€155,063.52
Day 6 (Jan. 28)703VeniVidi1993€13.31
Day 7 (Jan. 30)823VeniVidi1993€52,057.13
Day 8 (Jan. 31)940VeniVidi1993€60,743.37
Day 9 (Feb. 1)446VeniVidi1993€12,706.51
Day 10 (Feb. 3)696VeniVidi1993€100,993.30
Day 11 (Feb. 4)741VeniVidi1993€15,647.36
Day 12 (Feb. 6)622Phil Galfond€87,940.91
Day 13 (Feb. 7)470VeniVidi1993€267,949.70
Day 14 (Feb. 8)593VeniVidi1993€48,473.73
Day 15 (Feb. 9)659VeniVidi1993€102,593.34
Day 16 (Mar. 4)574Phil Galfond€183,481.38
Day 17 (Mar. 5)582VeniVidi1993€21,571.51
Day 18 (Mar. 6)555Phil Galfond€27,198.94
Day 19 (Mar. 7)638Phil Galfond€26,018.41
Day 20 (Mar. 9)566Phil Galfond€92,803.89
Day 21 (Mar. 10)576Phil Galfond€3,766.94
Day 22 (Mar. 11)556VeniVidi1993€88,465.60
Day 23 (Mar. 12)598Phil Galfond€23,821.05
Day 24 (Mar. 13)628Phil Galfond€19,099.65
Day 25 (Mar. 14)664Phil Galfond€139,485.78
Day 26 (Mar. 19)539Phil Galfond€110,752.58
Day 27 (Mar. 20)645VeniVidi1993€76,026.05
Day 28 (Mar. 21)503Phil Galfond€140,979.28
Day 29 (Mar. 26)642Phil Galfond€85,271.31
Day 30 (Mar. 27)777VeniVidi1993€26,992.32
Day 31 (Mar. 28)393Phil Galfond€106,328.51
Day 32 (Apr. 2)664Phil Galfond€113,680.87
Day 33 (Apr. 3)632VeniVidi1993€28,538.21
Day 34 (Apr. 4)680Phil Galfond€28,722.88
Day 35 (Apr. 6)758Phil Galfond€121,486.95
Day 36 (Apr. 7)592VeniVidi1993€34,580.19
Day 37 (Apr. 9)883VeniVidi1993€78,237.54
Day 38 (Apr. 10)734Phil Galfond€23,581.50
Day 39 (Apr. 12)699Phil Galfond€9,843.25
Total25,001Phil Galfond€1,671.58