– General Introduction –
Phil Galfond is an American professional poker player. He was born on January 16, 1985. He has been very successful in both online and live poker. He has won 3 WSOP gold bracelets. He’s also won almost $7 million on online cash games on the late poker site Full Tilt. Galfond appeared on multiple episodes of the classic poker TV show High Stakes Poker. He is in charge of his own poker training site and online poker room Run It Once.
– Key Career Dates –
- c. 2004: He starts playing online poker.
- 2008: He wins his WSOP bracelet in the $5K Pot Limit Omaha Rebuy event for $817,781. That is his biggest single live tournament cash to date.
- 2010: He appears on the Game Show Network’s popular poker show High Stakes Poker.
- 2019: He launches his own online poker room, Run It Once.
- 2019: Organizes the “Galfond Challenge”, a series of high stakes heads up matches between Phil and various challengers
– Phil Galfond’s Career –
→ Beginnings ←
Galfond started playing online poker recreationally while he was a freshman at the University of Wisconsin. He actually lost his first $50 he put it on his poker account, playing $10 Sit&Go’s. However, he re-deposited another $50 and he managed to grow that into thousands in about a year.
Initially, Galfond’s time was split between poker and another passion of his at the time, improv comedy. Eventually, at the age of 21, he decided to drop out of college, quit improv, and dedicate his professional life to poker.
→ Live Tournaments ←
Galfond has just under $3 million in live tournament cashes according to his HendonMob page. That becomes all the more impressive if we take into account that sum comes from only 32 individual ITM finishes. Evidently, Galfond’s focus has been online poker for most of his career.
He admits that early in his career he used to like to buy in for live events that were for a bit too big for his bankroll. One of the reasons was that he wanted to play with players who he saw on TV. His first live cash is from a $10K WSOP Circuit tournament in 2006. He came in 18th and won $22,895. That tourney was won by none other than Daniel Negreanu, so Galfond got his money’s worth in terms of famous opponents.
He’s never made a 6-figure cash outside of the WSOP. His biggest score from a none-WSOP event is $39,570 – he came in 70th place in a $25K Five Star World Poker Classic tournament in 2008.
→ World Series of Poker ←
Galfond has been very successful in the WSOP over his career. While he only cashed 20 times, 3 of those were first place finishes. Overall he won a combined $2,780,823 between 2006 and 2018. Between 2015 and 2018, however, he didn’t even cash once.
He won his first bracelet in 2008. He beat a 142-player field in the $5K Pot Limit Omaha Rebuy event. Because of the rebuys, the prize pool was a lot bigger than the size of the field would suggest – after a total 483 (!) rebuys it eventually ballooned up to $3,085,930. The American cardplayer received $817,781 out of that for his victory. That is his biggest single live tournament payday as of now. His top 11 biggest live cashes on his Hendon page are from WSOP events.
Galfond has two more WSOP bracelets to his name. One from 2015, when he won the $10K 2-7 Lowball Draw event for $224,383. At the final table of that tournament, he had to battle such big-name poker pros like Dan Smith, Eli Elezra, Erik Seidel, and Nick Shulman who he eventually beat heads-up for the title.
The other WSOP victory of his we haven’t mentioned yet is from 2018. He won the $10K Omaha Hi-Lo tournament for $567,788. He also came in 2nd in the $25K 6-Handed NLHE event in 2013 for $744,841.
→ Live Cash Games ←
Phil Galfond appeared on 4 episodes of the last two seasons of the classic poker show High Stakes Poker on the Game Show Network. There, he played $300/$600 cash games with $100 antes against some of the best known players from the world such as Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negreanu and Antonio Esfandiari.
Here, he got into a huge pot against Eli Elezra where he eventually correctly folded a full house on the river.
→ Online Poker ←
As we wrote above, Galfond got his start in poker as an online Sit&Go player. He played under the screen name OMGClayAiken on the now defunct poker site Full Tilt. There, he amassed a whopping $6.6 million in winnings in high stakes cash games. HighstakesDB has 645,553 tracked hands on him – that is where his astonishing winning stats come from. He mainly played PLO. His biggest tracked pot there is a $541K hand he won against Phil Ivey and Lars Luzak with a flopped full house.
Galfond has played a fair bit on PokerStars as well. There, his moniker is MrSweets28. He’s up $1.45 million in high stakes cash games with that account. HSDB has 446,996 tracked hands on PS, and – just like on Full Tilt – they are mostly PLO.
This is an over $200K heads-up PLO hand Galfond played in 2011.
He’s also seen some success in the online tournament world. For example, in 2016 he finished second in a WCOOP event for $183,317.
In December 2019, Galfond announced he’s issuing the Galfond Challenge to anyone in the poker world. He’s willing to play a set number of hands of high stakes (€100/€200 or more) PLO cash with hundreds of thousands of Euros in side bets on the line as well. He was willing to compete in this challenge to promote his online poker room RunItOnce.
His first challenger was an unknown online grinder by the screen name “Venividi1993”. They agreed to play 25,000 hands.
Nearing 10,000 hands, Galfond suffered a massive, over €900,000 loss. However, in a miraculous turn of events, he was able to complete the epic comeback and beat Venividi by around €10K, thus claiming the €200,000 side bet as well.
→ Sponsorships ←
In 2009, Galfond became an early investor in the poker coaching site Bluefire Poker. However, that didn’t work out for him very well as he ended up suing the company in 2011. His lawsuit alleged that he didn’t get his agreed profit share. No public info is available about the outcome of the suit, which suggests an out-of-court settlement with non-disclosure agreements.
In 2013, Galfond launched his own poker coaching site, Run It Once Poker. In 2019, he took on an even more ambitious project – Run It Once Poker, the independent online room went into beta testing on February 8th. It’s only available for players from Europe as of now.
I’ve got more to say about this week later, but I wanted to get the announcement out so you guys don’t miss out on any of the free money. It’s a great time to hop into the action! pic.twitter.com/su9iNuZziH
— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) June 12, 2019
One of the innovative features Galfond and his team implemented in his poker client was “Splash the Pot”. It means that in randomly selected cash game hands, the poker site will add an extra amount (from 2BB all the way up to 1,000BB) to the pot.
→ Scandals ←
There isn’t anything scandalous about Phil Galfond’s life. But there are some interesting details about his personal life that we can share here.
Ship it Holla Ballas
Galfond is rumored to be part of the “Ship it Holla Ballas” poker crew. It’s a team of young poker players who found fame and fortune in poker together in the late 2000’s. Galfond never acknowledged he was an “official” member of the group, he just claimed to be friendly with those players.
In 2013, a book was published about the crew which focused mostly on their excessive lifestyle and partying. Some of the confirmed members of the group are Andrew “good2cu” Robl and David “Raptor” Benefield.
Phil Galfond is married to actress Farah Fath. She’s best known for her role on the NBC soap opera Days of Our Lives.
View this post on Instagram
Four years ago today, @farah_galfond and I (and #LittleEgg) became a family. Between this anniversary and the last, we added a fourth! Every year at this time, I think about how lucky and proud I am to call Farah my wife, but this year is extra special, not only because of the little chunk of joy we brought into the world, but also because I now get to know Farah as an amazing wife and a fantastic, loving mother. Happy Anniversary, honey. 💝🥂
– Phil Galfond on Social Media –
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PhilGalfond/ 107,000 followers Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/phil.galfond/ 19,000 followers