Poker news | Jan 31, 2020
Jungleman vs Galfond in PLO Challenge
By RTR Dennis
Famed poker pro Phil Galfond has been issuing heads-up PLO challenges to various poker pros lately. Dan ‘Jungleman’ Cates is the most-feared player to accept the challenge.
Galfond and Cates were recently playing high-stakes poker at the Bellagio. During the session, Galfond challenged Jungleman to an online battle. The latter accepted and confidently announced that he’d “break [Galfond’s] spirit.”
Five Players Line Up for the PLO Challenge
Cates isn’t the only one brave enough to take on ‘OMGClayAiken.’ Bill Perkins, Fernando ‘JNandez’ Habegger, ‘VendiVidi1993,’ and Luke ‘FullFlush’ Schwartz have also throw their hats into the ring.
Perkins is a wealthy gas trader who took up poker years ago. He’s since improved his skills greatly and can hang with the pros.
JNandez and VendiVidi1993 are both successful online pros. London’s Schwartz is just as notable for his brash table talk as he is playing the game.
Rules for the Match Between Galfond and Cates
The rules will differ for each match that Galfond has planned. Here’s what to expect when he takes on Jungleman:
- 7,500 hands of online PLO
- €100/€200 stakes
- Whoever is ahead after 7,500 hands wins
Strangely enough, Cates represents one of the shortest challenges. By comparison, Galfond is scheduled to play Perkins over the course of 50,000 hands.
Jungleman Is No Stranger to Challenges
Dan Cates lays claim to one of poker’s greatest rags-to-riches stories. A former McDonald’s worker who previously couldn’t beat $0.25/$0.50 NL hold’em, Cates rose to become a top online grinder.
He won $5 million through online poker cash games in 2010. He’s since won millions more at the internet and live tables.
Cates’ fame and skills earned him a match with Tom ‘durrrr’ Dwan in 2009. Dwan launched a series of Durrrr Challenges, which Cates being his second opponent.
The two were set to play 50,000 hands. Jungleman stood to earn a $1.5 million payout if he was ahead after 50k hands.
The pair made it to 20,000 hands. Cates was up $800,000 at this point. Dwan eventually cooled off the challenge and hasn’t sat down to finish it since.
Will Cates and Galfond Finish Their Match?
Given what’s happened to Cates with the Durrrr Challenge, it’s reasonable to question if he and Galfond’s match will conclude.
Odds are, they’ll play through their scheduled hands. First off, the pair are only logging 7,500 hands—as opposed to 50,000. Galfond has put forth a much more-manageable goal than Dwan did.
Secondly, this match is taking place long after the poker boom. Dwan challenged Cates at the tail end of the poker boom, when he had a multimillion-dollar sponsorship deal with Full Tilt Poker. Dwan’s sponsorship disappeared following Black Friday (April 11, 2011).
Galfond isn’t relying on a massive sponsorship deal to keep himself afloat. Instead, he’s only issuing these challenges because he’s financially solvent enough to back them up.
Luke Schwartz Demands and Gets Challenge
Luke Schwartz rose to poker prominence through a combination of his winnings and trash talk. He used the latter to book a match with Galfond.
Responding to the #GalfondChallenge, Schwartz tweeted:
“Solve for why @PhilGalfond trying to promote these pigeon challenges. Not a single fuker cares wether u can beat some online nobody like venvidi at this pigeon solved online omaha shit. Let's set a challenge any LIMIT or big bet mix game of your choice me v u il give you odds”
Galfond added Schwartz to his list and tweeted the following:
“Hi Luke! Happy New Year. Thanks for your interest in the #GalfondChallenge! What a great idea!! We can play some 1k/2k 8-game (no pigeon stakes plz) but I‘d feel bad accepting odds from you, so I’ll offer 1.1:1 on a side bet of $250k for a 15k hand match.”
Schwartz accepted the conditions with one more stipulation:
“Ok @PhilGalfond but no flying berry sweet and his solver over to help you . One vs One this isn't like the guy liberatore days where it was a cheating free for all for the team”
Based on his tweet, Schwartz must believe that Galfond and high-stakes player ‘BERRI SWEET’ are among those who colluded against former Cirque du Soleil owner Guy Laliberte.
These tweets are nothing new for FullFlush, who’s gotten into verbal and Twitter altercations with other pros. Most recently, Schwartz had a public feud with Doug Polk, where he challenged the latter to a fight (which never happened). By these standards, his tweets aimed at Galfond are pretty mild.