Phil Galfond Defeats ActionFreak for Second Challenge Win

  • Galfond won by €114,765.66, earning an additional €150,000 side bet
  • ActionFreak made a comeback in mid-May, but Galfond effectively wrapped it up late last week
  • The comfortable win follows Galfond’s unexpected comeback from a €900,240.17 deficit against VeniVidi1993 last month
Poker player holding four aces
Phil Galfond and ActionFreak completed their heads-up challenge on Tuesday, with Galfond finishing ahead by €114,765.66.

€265k total winnings

Phil Galfond won his second heads-up match in his ongoing “Galfond Challenge” series, defeating Ioannis “ActionFreak” Kontonatsios. The challenge concluded on Tuesday, May 26 after a month of on-and-off play.

The two men played €150/€300 ($165/$330) Pot-Limit Omaha on Run It Once Poker, the online poker room Galfond himself founded. Both had a €150,000 ($164,873) side bet on the line, awarded to the competitor who finished in the black after 15,000 hands.

Galfond finished with a profit of €114,765.66 ($126,144.68), thereby laying claim to the side bet

Galfond and ActionFreak ended up going slightly over that mark, completing 15,011 hands across 20 total sessions. Galfond finished with a profit of €114,765.66 ($126,144.68), thereby laying claim to the side bet on top of his regular cash winnings.

Relatively stress-free

Unlike the first challenge in which he dug himself a gigantic hole from the get-go, Galfond was in control most of the way against ActionFreak. Kontonatsios won the first session on April 27, earning €11,162.32 ($12,269.06), but Galfond had gigantic days bridging April and May to go up by a whopping €416,442.58 ($457,732.86) after four sessions.

From there, it was back and forth, with each player winning or session here or two there. After May 1, neither player put together more than a two-day winning streak.

Galfond built his lead slightly in early May, but a €254,686.10 ($279,938.23) pounding by ActionFreak on May 11 narrowed the gap. By May 19, Galfond’s lead was down to €105,735.77 ($116,219.47), a lot of money for most people, but only a bit more than three buy-ins in this game. Over the next two sessions, however, Galfond soared back ahead by €450,698.66 ($495,385.43) and the writing was on the wall for ActionFreak.

ActionFreak did win three out of the final four sessions, profiting six-figures in each. In fact, the winner of each of the last six sessions made a six-figure score.

“I’m pretty disappointed that I didn’t finish stronger, but I’m happy to walk away from a very tough match with the win,” Galfond tweeted on Tuesday.

First challenge was epic

Galfond’s first contest of the challenge was one of the biggest poker stories of 2020. After finding himself in a €900,240.17 ($989,498.98) hole to VeniVidi1993 after less than three weeks, Galfond came back to squeak out the victory on the final day, winning by just €1,671.58 ($1,837.32). He mathematically clinched the win with fewer than 80 out of 25,000 hands remaining.

he took a break for nearly a month, paying his opponent for the days they had previously scheduled

It was going so poorly for Galfond early on that he took a break for nearly a month, paying his opponent for the days they had previously scheduled. He considered quitting and sacrificing the side bet, but righted himself and carried on.

Galfond is also in the midst of a challenge on partypoker against high-stakes amateur poker player Bill Perkins. Though it started April 14, they have only had two sessions because of Perkins’ schedule; Galfond is up $90,144.05. The two are playing $100/$200 Pot-Limit Omaha up to 50,000 hands or a $400,000 stop-loss. Perkins is putting up a $250,000 side bet against $1m from Galfond.

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