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Poker news | Nov 29, 2019

Phil Galfond on How He Avoided Early Poker Career Disasters

By RTR Dennis

665x200 nov19 phil galfond

Many famous poker pros have stories about how they almost lost their entire bankroll and ended their careers prematurely. But few discuss exactly how they got out of these ruts.

Phil Galfond, however, differs from many other pros in this regard. The famed high stakes grinder recently offered some advice on how he overcame early bankroll disasters. Galfond tweeted that he played in games above his head and lost big.

“With $90k, I played 50/100nl & lost $45k. With $800k, I played 300/600nl & lost $400k.”

Many players who’ve embarked on such losing streaks refuse to move down and eventually end up losing everything. They’re too prideful to revisit previous limits. Galfond, though, did the smart thing and moved down in stakes.

“After each [downswing], I mentally reset, moved way down & slowly rebuilt. Either could've ended my career if I wasn't willing or able to do so.”

The 34-year-old didn’t offer these tweets for nostalgic reasons. Instead, the longtime poker instructor wants to inspire others to make the wise move and drop down in stakes if they have to.

When Did Galfond Struggle So Badly in Poker?

Galfond has been playing poker ever since he attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He eventually dropped out due to his poker success.

Given his current age, Galfond has been playing live and online poker for at least a decade and a half. Therefore, it’s difficult to define exactly when he went through these huge downswings.

He first began crushing nosebleeds at Full Tilt Poker in 2008. Galfond saw his career online cash winnings skyrocket from almost nothing to $6 million during this year.

He mostly likely saw his biggest struggles just before this period in the mid-2000s. At this point, Galfond was probably good enough to beat the mid stakes, but not yet strong enough to conquer the nosebleeds.

What Is Phil Galfond Up to These Days?

Phil Galfond is like the many online poker stars of yesteryear who are no longer grinding against the world’s best. Of course, one can’t blame ‘OMGClayAiken’ when considering that he’s made well over $9 million in career online cash profits.

Black Friday took a toll on Galfond’s abilities to continue making millions from poker. He was forced to relocate to Vancouver, Canada in 2011 so that he could keep playing on the biggest poker sites.

Eventually, the grind of playing for hours and living so far from home got to Galfond. He purchased a $3 million condo in New York City ⁠— one that he famously installed a slide in ⁠— and began concentrating on instructing.

He started the Run It Once training site and featured a prominent roster of coaches. The instructors include high stakes stars like Ben Sulsky, Di Dang, and Hac Dang.

In 2016, Galfond announced that he was in the process of starting his own internet poker room. He launched the beta version in early 2019. Also dubbed Run It Once, this site operates on the premise of listening to player requests and trying to honor the best ones.

Galfond is married to actress Farah Fath, who starred as Mimi Lockhart on Days of Our Lives from 1999 to 2007. She shortly returned to the same role in 2018. Galfond and Fath now have a family after the birth of their son in 2018.