Phil Galfond finds his first five Heads Up opponents 23 Dec

Phil Galfond has made an announcement on his blog site a while ago, challenging anyone to a High Stakes Heads Up match.

Even though the search has proven to be quite difficult in the beginning, Phil got his fifth challenger now.

Bill Perkins

First one to volunteer was not any of the top PLO players, but the businessman, Bill Perkins, himself. The deal is to play 100 € / 200 € PLO over the course of 50.000 hands or until someone loses 400.000 €. In case Bill Perkins manages to get out of the challenge as a winner, he wil receive an additional $800.000, in the other case, Phil Galfond will be $200.000 richer.
Bill Perkins will be backed up by The Thirst Lounge - a group of ten prospective players, who are, besides playing poker, living a similar life as the businessman and stream everything on their Twitch channel.

JNandez resigns from the challenge

Even at the “Galfond Challenge” the complications were inevitable; the problems started even before the first hand was dealt. Since Phil had problems finding challengers, in the beginning, he even offered 5 to 1 odds for the duel on his Twitter account, alongside a 72-hour deadline.
The challenge was accepted in, what was practically the last minute, by Fernando “JNandez87” Habegger, who, at first, asked Phil to play “smaller” limits of 10 € / 20 € PLO, which Galfond refused. In the end Jnandez accepted the deal with the 100 € / 200 € PLO to be played.

Fernando “JNandez87” Habegger is also a PLO coach.

They were supposed to play 50.000 hands with an enormous 1 million to 200.000 € sidebet, but the Swiss canceled the match after one week. As a reason, he stated, that he was unaware Phil Galfond will take the challenge so seriously, as Phil has told him through private messages that he intends to study the game during the challenge.
As weird as it sounds, apparently Fernando (and his team of backers) thought that Galfond will simply “give away” his million dollars. Phil Galfond did, however, stated that since he has been intensely focusing on running his business and Run It Once Poker, he practically hasn’t studied High Stakes PLO games at all in the past 3 years.
This represents another “black mark” in the Swiss poker career, as he has made similar decisions before.

Dan “Jungleman” Cates

It did not take long for Galfond to get another big-name challenger, that being Daniel “Jungleman” Cates himself. They will, however, play only 7.500 hands, with the same limits and game type. The side bet size is not yet known, but the odds will be 1 to 1.
Jungleman already stated (in a friendly manner) that he does not care about the potential money he could win in this challenge. His only goal is to outperform his opponent. What is the most exciting fact for us, the fans, is the fact we will be able to watch the match on Twitch.


There is not much known about Venividi1993, but it is clear that we are talking about one of the best PLO players in the world. He will play 25.000 hands versus Phil Galfond on the 100 € / 200€ PLO. Side bet will be Phil’s 200.000 € against the challenger’s 100.000 €.
The duel will begin on the 22nd of January, and the players will play on two tables simultaneously, 4 hours a day for 5 days a week. The bookies favor VeniVidi1993, giving him the odds of 1,66 while Galfond is enjoying the 2,25 odds on his win.

Brandon Adams

The American, Brandon Adams, is a regular on television poker and a regular live high stakes players. Similarly, the Heads Up match against Phil Galfond will not be fought on the online felts but in a live play!
They intend to play 40 hours of live poker, $100 / $200 PLO with a side bet of $150.000 to $100.000. It has been speculated that the match will be played out in summer in Las Vegas.


The last challenger is Ioannis “ActionFreak” Kontonatsios, another one of the elite online PLO poker players. Here the details of the match differ a bit again, as they intend to play only 15.000 hands, but on slightly higher stakes of 150 €/300 €. The side bet will be 1 to 1 for 150.000 €.
These are the current five contenders that found the courage to accept the challenge from Phil Galfond in a PLO Heads Up match. As you can see in the infographics above, after JNandez cancelled the match, there is still a seat open for “Clash of the Coaches”, which means the most to Phil Galfond.