In case you've been asleep for the last week, Tom "durrrr" Dwan has issued an (almost) open challenge to the poker world, guaranteeing an epic high-stakes match for anyone who accepts.
If you want to learn more about the challenge and the rules surrounding it, you can read all about them in this news story.
Poker players, especially those interested in high-stakes online poker, are lighting up the message boards with chatter about the challenge. Everyone has their own thoughts, predictions and ridiculous claims on the subject. I figured I should jump on board and throw up my top 5 thoughts about the million-dollar durrrr challenge.
5) People are reading too much into it. When I say reading too much into it, I'm talking about picking apart the details, and making up ideas and intentions that, I believe, simply don't exist.
First, people are saying that this is a challenge open to anyone.
That in itself is both true and false at the same time; although technically anyone can take Dwan up on his challenge, there are really only a very small handful of people in the world with the money, interest or skill to accept the challenge. Although anyone can accept, durrrr's intention was simply to challenge these few people without calling out names.
Secondly, the exclusion of Phil Galfond is being accorded far too much weight. Yes, he is one of the greatest players in the world right now, and possibly the one player to give durrrr the hardest time in this challenge.
That aside, he is excluded simply because they're very good friends. It makes no sense to dedicate all of your poker-playing time to playing against only one person whom you don't want to felt in the first place. Even if durrrr did completely bust Galfond, durrrr would just end up staking him afterward.
Finally, people are crunching the numbers believing that Dwan has spent the time to calculate his exact expected result from setting the line at a 3-1 side prop. This is simply untrue as far as I'm concerned. Tom Dwan believes, perhaps rightfully so, that no nosebleed poker player can beat him over the long run playing heads-up on four tables.
Dwan knows that players such as Ivey are probably better than him, but Ivey doesn't play four tables. The 3-1 was simply a way to make the challenge attractive enough to guarantee some action. Dwan wants to gamble, do what he does best, and have a good time.
I bet the idea for this and the numbers he chose were picked over drinks and a Grand Slam breakfast at Denny's at 3 a.m. This is simply about wanting to play some serious poker for big money, not some sort of statistical trickery.
4) It's not nearly as unusual as everyone thinks. Although this is a truly epic event, it's not anything all that new in the world of poker. Since poker was invented, players, including the best in the world, have been found playing outside of their rolls and going broke in games too large and exciting to back down from.
This is just the first time such high-profile players are risking it in a public forum. Typically when a pro goes bust, it's behind closed doors, with armed security guarding the way. They get staked by other professionals and eventually grind their way back.
3) It's great for online poker. Any publicity is good publicity; publicity as exciting as this will be great for the entire online poker industry. Events like this help draw new players into the game, keep existing players interested, and can stoke up courage in up-and-comers to take shots at larger games.
If the Internet buzz alone is any indication, the number of players interested in this event could set records for players railing online matches. If these matches pique the interest of even a few people who would have otherwise paid no attention to online poker, we're all one step ahead of where we where before.
The more support online poker can get, in and out of the poker world, the better chance we have of fighting the good fight.
2) The winner's tough to call. Phil Ivey vs. Patrik Antonius vs. David Benyamine: it's impossible to know how each match will end, or even how many of the matches will take place. If someone loses multiple millions in the first match, will that change the willingness of the player next in line to step up?
In my opinion, Phil Ivey is a better player than durrrr both online and live. How much better? Not by a whole lot. Over 50,000 hands on one single table, I would put Ivey at having a clear advantage, and would bet against durrrr every time.
Since this challenge clearly states that Phil Ivey must play four tables of heads-up concurrently, though, the advantage absolutely shifts to Tom Dwan.
The question is how quickly Ivey will be able to adjust to playing four tables, and how able Ivey is to play long sessions, day after day. If history has taught us anything, it's that Ivey will always surprise everyone with how quickly he learns and adapts. This match is simply too close to call.
Patrik Antonius is more of an "online pro" than Phil Ivey is. Antonius will definitely come out of the gate stronger than Ivey will in the challenge, but I truly have no idea who will have the advantage between him and durrrr. I don't think anyone really knows the answer to that.
Finally, David Benyamine is at a serious disadvantage in this challenge. If it was one single table of PLO, I would put my money on him. I simply don't think Benyamine has the ability to learn and adapt to playing four tables of heads-up as quickly as Ivey will be able to. I think Benyamine would come out a loser in this challenge more often than not.
1) I can't wait. On top of everything else, I'm truly excited for this challenge to get under way. I love watching high-stakes poker, I love Tom Dwan's style, and I respect his demeanor in the challenge, and am truly excited to see what will happen. I'm sure I'm not alone in this one.
What will happen, who will win, what the end results will be - I don't really know. All I can say, is I really look forward to the event, and PokerListings and I will do everything we can to keep you abreast of all the action.
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