The Weekly Round-up – 2 August 2021:

The Tip Top Fox brings you the top poker and gambling industry stories of the week; Galfond Challenge: Brandon Adams Down $145k As Challenge Moves Online; Hellmuth Makes All The Wright Moves To Extend High Stakes Duel Streak; Tom ‘Durrrr’ Dwan Announced As Hellmuth’s Next Opponent

Galfond Challenge: Brandon Adams Down $145k As Challenge Moves Online

The Galfond Challenge Explained:

  • What is the “Galfond Challenge”? – A series of high-stakes heads-up Pot Limit Omaha matches at stakes of €100/€200 or higher where online PLO specialist Phil “OMGClayAiken” Galfond takes on any challenger over a pre-determined number of hands.
  • Who’s taking part? – So far, six players have accepted the challenge. Four of these are well-known high-stakes players Chance KornuthBrandon Adams, Bill Perkins, and Dan “Jungleman” Cates. The other two are online players Ioannis “ActionFreak” Kontonatsios and anonymous Dutch player “Venividi1993“.
  • Who’s winning? – Three of the six matches have played out with Galfond winning all three. Galfond beat Chance Kornuth over 35,000 hands for €726,500 plus a €250,000 side bet, then battled back from a €900,000 deficit to take the 25k hand match against “Venividi1993” by €1,671.58 and win the €100k side bet. Galfond played Kontonatsios at stakes of €150/€300 and won €114,765.66 over 15k hands, winning a further €150,000 side bet.
  • Where is it played? – Most of the action is played out online on Galfond’s RunItOnce poker site, although the initial match between Galfond and Adams was played live at the newly opened Resorts World Las Vegas before the two opted to scrap the match and play another online.

Galfond vs. Adams Moves Online After Dispute

There has been a recent surge in the number of high-profile heads-up poker challenges, as reported previously. Online Pot-Limit Omaha specialist and CEO of poker site RunItOnce.com Phil Galfond could be considered something of a trendsetter in that regard, having run the “Galfond Challenge” since 2019.

So far, Galfond is three for three, beating Chance Kornuth, Ioannis “ActionFreak” Kontonatsios, and Dutch player “Venividi1993“. All three of these matches took place at the virtual felt.

Galfond’s latest match against Brandon Adams took place in a live environment at the newly opened Resorts World Las Vegas. However, the two ran into a little dispute and took to social media to attempt to solve the problem.

Time Is Money

It all came down to time and the fact that the game was being played live. In a live environment, it takes a longer time to play fewer hands. Unlike the online version of the challenge the two were playing over a set time limit of 40 hours as opposed to over a set amount of hands – and this is where the problem arose.

The match was scheduled to take place over four days, with the two battling it out over four eight-hour sessions at stakes of $100/$200. With around half of the match played, Adams found himself down $48,000 with 15.5 hours left on the clock, and felt that Galfond was stalling and using the maximum time allowed in order to use the clock, and his lead to his advantage.

Galfond disagreed, and pointed out that Adams too had also used the clock to his advantage several times in the match.

The two went back and forth for a bit, with Adams defending his position, but also admitting to some stalling:

Eventually, the two agreed to call in Isaac Haxton and Max Silver to arbitrate, who ruled that the remainder of the challenge should be played out over a pre-determined number of hands.

Galfond Wins But Match Scrapped

Despite battling back to close the gap to -$16,500 with 236 hands remaining, the two realised that the match had become something different to the heads-up cash confrontation they had originally agreed on.

With Galfond putting up a €150,000 to Adams’ €100,000 in a side bet, as well as the money played for in the challenge, the two came to the conclusion that neither of them was enjoying the reimagined match rules.

As a result, they decided to scrap the match altogether, cancel the side bet and reschedule a second online installment, with Galfond keeping his €16,500 profit.

Galfond Leads Online Rematch

Phil Galfond is currently up $145,000 over Brandon Adams with 3/4’s of the match left to play out. Image courtesy of RunItOnce.com

Originally, should Adams have won the initial match a “battleship” style rematch would have followed, with the duo battling again, only this time online but across the table from each other in a live environment.

However, that option appears to be off the table, with the two agreeing to play 10,000 hands online at stakes of $100/$200 with Galfond laying Adam’s 4-1 odds in the side bet, putting up $400,000 to Adam’s $100,000.

The rematch kicked off on 31 July, with the two having played 2,200 hands as of 2 August, with Galfond up $145,000. With just over three-quarters of the match remaining, Galfond tweeted that the pair are currently taking a break with play scheduled to resume on 22 August.

Those wanting to view the action as it happens can view the RunItOnce live stream, which will be available via the RunItOnce Twitch stream once play resumes.


Hellmuth Makes All The Wright Moves To Extend High Stakes Duel Streak

High Stakes Duel Part III Round 1. Image courtesy of PokerGO.com

Phil Hellmuth is victorious again. On Wednesday 28 July, Hellmuth topped sports talk show host Nick Wright in Round 1 of High Stakes Duel III at the PokerGO Studio at ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.

Hellmuth picked up the $100,000 prize pool and increased his streak of High Stakes Duel victories to seven consecutive rounds.

Wright jumped out to an early lead, and while he was pulling pots away from Hellmuth, Wright was throwing things back verbally. After Wright’s hot start that included an entertaining Hellmuth blow-up, the match started to even out as things moved back in Hellmuth’s favor.

Eventually, Hellmuth stretched out a lead in the back half of the near six-hour match before he finally sealed the deal. On the final hand, it was Hellmuth’s eight-high flush narrowly beating Wright’s seven-high flush.

The victory over Wright brings Hellmuth’s High Stakes Duel winnings to $750,000 with the ‘Poker Brat’ remaining undefeated in the format. Hellmuth first topped Antonio Esfandiari in three straight matches in High Stakes Duel I, then defeated Daniel Negreanu in three straight matches in High Stakes Duel II.

Why Wright?

While not quite as exciting as the previous High Stakes Duel legs where Phil Hellmuth took on and swept both Antonio Esfandiari and Daniel Negreanu, the ‘Poker Brat’s heads-up match against sports talk show host Nick Wright proved to be quite entertaining.

When asked why Fox Sports 1‘s First Things First host was chosen as his next opponent in The Weigh-In, as oppose to the expected Tom ‘Durrrr’ Dwan, Hellmuth replied that after thinking it over, he thought it would be great for poker.

While this rather non-committal answer might seem a bit vague on the surface, upon closer examination it’s actually quite accurate. As Wright commented himself during the interview:

“This doesn’t exist in sports. If you always wanted to be a professional athlete, if you ain’t there by the time you’re 25 you ain’t making it. Maybe you can get rich and go to a fantasy camp, but that’s not the same thing,” said Wright when asked if there was any analogy between sport and poker.

“I’ve put a real amount of money on the line to step into the arena with, arguably, one of the best ever, inarguably one of the best ever, and see how I do.”

Unlike other sports, like golf, snooker, football, and all the rest, at no point does the everyman get a chance to test themselves against the pros as they can in poker.

Watch The Action

Hellmuth was always expected to win, and while Wright talked and played a good game, this is bread and butter to Hellmuth, who is already familiar with the format and has won 15 World Series of Poker bracelets beating amateur players just like Wright.

However, the sports broadcaster was no pushover and Hellmuth had to work hard for his victory, with the match taking six hours to play out. You can watch all the action over on PokerGO.com, although you do have to be a subscriber to do so.

Those wanting a taste of the action can watch the first hour for free via the PokerGO YouTube channel.


Tom ‘Durrrr’ Dwan Announced As Hellmuth’s Next Opponent

Phil Hellmuth is putting his seven match High Stakes Duel winning streak on the line with PokerGO announcing the ‘Poker Brat’s next opponent will be his old rival Tom ‘Durrrr’ Dwan.

This should be a great heads-up match, with the two already having history stretching back to the 2008 NBC Heads-Up Championship.

In what proved to be one of the quickest heads-up matches of the show, the two got it all in pre-flop on the third hand, Hellmuth’s pocket aces leading Dwan’s pocket tens. However, Dwan spiked a set on the run out to eliminate Hellmuth and earn an earful from the 15-time World Series of Poker bracelet winnner.

“Son, I’d tell you this much, I’d never have put more than $3,000 in with two tens before the flop,” an irate Hellmuth grumbled as stacks were counted down.

“I was going to say good game, sorry for the suck out, but when you phrase it that way it makes me not want to,” fired back Dwan.

Dwan repeatedly challenged Hellmuth to play heads-up online following the blow up, with Hellmuth responding “We’ll see if you’re even around in five years,” in response.

Well after thirteen years the long awaited rematch looks to be on the cards.

With Nick Wright choosing not to continue in the duel, the next match will be Round 2 of High Stakes Duel III with the buy-in starting at $100,000 and a $200,000 rematch available in the subsequent round should the two choose to continue the challenge.

Round 3 of High Stakes Duel will be streamed live on PokerGO on Wednesday, 25 August with an 8 pm (ET) start time.

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