Phil Galfond Completes Incredible Comeback To Win Galfond Challenge

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Phil Galfond
Phil Galfond completes incredible comeback to win 'Galfond Challenge' against 'VeniVidi1993' (photo: WPT)

Phil Galfond has done it. Once down more than €900,000, Galfond stormed back to complete a comeback for the ages to win the ‘Galfond Challenge’ against ‘VeniVidi1993.’

Finishing in the black across the 25,000-hand match of €100-200 PLO on Run It Once Poker allowed Galfond to scoop the €100,000 side bet that ‘VeniVidi1993’ put up (Galfond was risking €200,000).

The Galfond Challenge between Galfond and ‘VeniVidi1993’ lasted 39 sessions and the sessions averaged 641 hands. The first session took place back on Wednesday, January 22, 2020, and the final session to wrap it all up took place on Sunday, April 12.

The final session was a must-see affair, with more than 25,000 viewers tuning in on Twitch and countless others sweating the details on social media. Entering the final session, ‘VeniVidi1993’ was up just €8,171. At the stakes they were playing, the match was virtually tied at this point. It stayed pretty close throughout the final session and eventually came down to the wire.

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Tense Final Session Decides It All

After 38 sessions, Galfond and ‘VeniVidi1993’ were pretty much tied, with ‘VeniVidi1993’ clinging to an €8,171.67 lead. Entering the final 39th session, the duo had 698 hands left to play out.

‘VeniVidi1993’ started off the final session with the lead and he held that lead for the first 75 hands or so before Galfond worked his way into the lead.

The first lead for ‘VeniVidi1993’ reached its high point about halfway through those 75 hands before Galfond started to turn things around in his favor. Helping Galfond to turn it around was the follow €39,999 pot that Galfond won with a full house.

With €7,999 in the middle on the Qc8d5cJh board, ‘VeniVidi1993’ bet €3,999.50. Galfond called and the river was the Jd. ‘VeniVidi1993’ fired a pot-sized bet to put Galfond all in. Galfond called off his last €12,000.50.

Galfond showed the KcJc7c5d for a full house, jacks over fives, to beat the AdKdTc9d that ‘VeniVidi1993’ held for a straight.

Galfond moved into the lead over the next few hundred hands of the session, juggling between having the session lead and the overall lead. He couldn’t quite pull away, though, and eventually ‘VeniVidi1993’ fought back retake the lead.

Just before Galfond and ‘VeniVidi1993’ passed 400 hands on the session, ‘VeniVidi1993’retook the overall lead. He was still down on the session, though, but that also changed in his favor shortly after the two passed the 400-hand mark.

After ‘VeniVidi1993’ was up again both overall and on the session, time was working against Galfond as ‘VeniVidi1993’ kept the pressure on. At around the 450-hand mark, the two paused play to see where the numbers stood. At this break, ’VeniVidi1993’ was up and was approaching the point where he could mathematically win by folding out. He wasn’t quit there yet and the two returned to play with the entire Galfond Challenge hanging in the balance on every single hand.

Looking like he might be out of it, Galfond fought hard. Much of the final session was played much closer to the vest by both players, but ’VeniVidi1993’ really cranked up the defense with the finish line near, looking like Floyd Mayweather in the final round of a title fight.

‘VeniVidi1993’ couldn’t quite dodge the jabs Galfond was landing in the comeback within the comeback as the match went down to the wire. Then, the following hand came up that delivered the final blow and locking up the win for Galfond.

With €7,194 in the middle on the Jd9d4c4dTs board, ‘VeniVidi1993’ checked and Galfond fired a pot-sized bet. ‘VeniVidi1993’ went into the tank and emerged with a call. Galfond showed the QsTcTd8d for a full house, tens full of fours, and ‘VeniVidi1993’ mucked his hand.

Galfond went on to say after the session that ‘VeniVidi1993’ had a lower full house on that hand.

After that hand, Galfond was up by enough to fold it out. The numbers were confirmed and the two went through the process to make it official, with Galfond completing a monumental comeback to win the Galfond Challenge against ‘VeniVidi1993.’

Final Challenge Results

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