Galfond Challenge
With fewer than 900 hands to go in the Galfond Challenge, Phil Galfond leads 'ActionFreak' by about €240,000

The ‘Galfond Challenge‘ between Phil Galfond and Ioannis ‘ActionFreak’ Kontonatsios is coming to an end and the two could wrap it up in one final session. Heading into that final session with 886 hands left to be played, Galfond is in the lead by €237,698.66.

On Thursday, May 21, the two played a session that saw Galfond come out as the winner by more than €165,000. The next day, Galfond added another €180,000 or so in a 674-hand session against ‘ActionFreak.’ On Saturday, the two were back at it for another 725 hands of €150-300 PLO. This time, ‘ActionFreak’ bounced back with a €180,000 win of his own.

The battling kept up on Sunday and the two played another 840 hands. Galfond booked a win in this session, coming away €135,000 to the good. This put Galfond up €405,698.66 entering Monday’s session. At the time, the two had just over 1,700 hands of their 15,000-hand challenge left to be played.

Monday’s session saw Galfond and ‘ActionFreak’ go back and forth for 820 hands, only the session was more in favor of ‘ActionFreak.’ On Monday, ‘ActionFreak’ booked a €168,000 win to cut his deficit by a good chunk. Now he’ll head into what is expected to be the final session down less than eight buy-ins, which is still a lot but it’s not the 13.5 buy-ins he was down before Monday’s session.

The two are playing €150-300 PLO with a €30,000 buy-in. Galfond has a nice cushion entering the next session, but the Galfond Challenge between these two could still see ‘ActionFreak’ come back and win. Remember, we’ve already seen one incredible comeback from a Galfond Challenge match.

Helping ‘ActionFreak’ to book the win on Monday was the following €69,412.26 pot that went his way. The two have been running all-in pots twice over the past few sessions and this hand was one that saw ‘ActionFreak’ win both runs of the board.

‘ActionFreak’ started the action with a raise to €900 and then Galfond reraised to €2,700. ‘ActionFreak’ made it €8,100 to go and Galfond five-bet to €24,300. ‘ActionFreak’ called and the flop came Qd7c4c. Galfond moved all in for his remaining €11,551.83 and ‘ActionFreak’ called off for €10,406.63.

Galfond had the AcAs7s3s and ‘ActionFreak’ had the Td9d8h6h. On the first run-out, the turn was the Kd and the river was the Jh to give ‘ActionFreak’ a straight to the king. On the second run-out, the turn was the 5c and the river was the Qc to give ‘ActionFreak’ another straight, this time to the eight.

Another one that Galfond lost was worth €67,514.32. Again, ‘ActionFreak’ scooped both pots after the two got the money in on the flop and the board was run twice.

With €5,399 in the middle on the Jd8h3c2s flop, Galfond checked and ‘ActionFreak’ bet €2,699.50. Galfond check-raised to €13,497.50 and ‘ActionFreak’ shoved. Galfond called off his remaining €17,560.16.

Galfond had the AdAhTc7d and ‘ActionFreak’ had the 9d8d8s5d. On the first board, the turn was the Qs and the river was the 4h. On the second board, the turn came the 2s and the river came the Qh. ‘ActionFreak’ was able to win both boards with a set of eights and pull in the whole pot.

One final highlight that we’ll look at from Monday’s session again involved ‘ActionFreak’ taking the full pot despite the two running it out twice. This time, it was only the river that was run twice because the money went in on the turn.

With €4,173.68 in the middle on the Qs8d4s3c board, Galfond checked and ‘ActionFreak’ bet the full pot. Galfond raised to €16,694.72 with €19,315.94 behind and ‘ActionFreak’ shoved all in. Galfond called.

It was a set-over-set clash with Galfond’s Js8s8h2c up against the QhQdTs5h. The first river was the 2h and the second river was the 5d. Both rivers kept ‘ActionFreak’ with the best hand and he won the full €76,195 pot.

Challenge Results To Date

Hands Played Daily Winner Amount Won
Day 1 (Apr. 27) 145 ActionFreak €11,162.32
Day 2 (Apr. 28) 1,017 Phil Galfond €3,632.83
Day 3 (Apr. 30) 844 Phil Galfond €310,594.59
Day 4 (May 1) 665 Phil Galfond €113,377.48
Day 5 (May 4) 680 ActionFreak €95,304.17
Day 6 (May 5) 734 ActionFreak €78,919.35
Day 7 (May 7) 746 Phil Galfond €26,980.36
Day 8 (May 9) 944 Phil Galfond €165,093.85
Day 9 (May 11) 721 ActionFreak €256,044
Day 10 (May 12) 776 Phil Galfond €19,003.35
Day 11 (May 14) 784 ActionFreak €23,363.64
Day 12 (May 15) 710 ActionFreak €57,580.53
Day 13 (May 16) 716 Phil Galfond €48,169.76
Day 14 (May 19) 740 ActionFreak €61,136.84
Day 15 (May 21) 832 Phil Galfond €165,417.31
Day 16 (May 22) 674 Phil Galfond €179,545.58
Day 17 (May 23) 725 ActionFreak €180,000
Day 18 (May 24) 840 Phil Galfond €135,000
Day 19 (May 25) 820 ActionFreak €168,000
Total 14,114 Phil Galfond €237,698.66

What’s Next for the Galfond Challenge?

The challenge between Galfond and ‘ActionFreak’ has fewer than 900 hands to go and the session scheduled for Tuesday, May 26, 2020, is likely the final session between these two. The winner of the challenge (the player up money over the other player at the end of 15,000 hands) will earn an additional €150,000 side bet from his opponent.