OMG He Did It!: The Phil Galfond Interview

Phil Galfond's bread and butter are the $200/$400 Pot-Limit Omaha games on Full Tilt. He puts in countless hours potting and repotting anybody brave enough to sit in. Galfond likes the No-Limit games as well but when those dried up, it was time for him to look for new action.

Tonight Galfond took down his first WSOP Bracelet in the $5,000 w/Rebuy Pot-Limit Omaha event, clearing $817,781 and garnering a shiny new piece of jewelry.

For those not in the know, Galfond was overshadowed by the table presence of the owners of a combined 28 WSOP bracelets in the form of Phil Hellmuth, Daniel Negreanu, Johnny Chan, etc.

From the start, though, Galfond wasn't worried about them. It was the three other guys (two of them not too well known) with whom he spends most of his time playing who struck the most fear in Galfond's heart.

After claiming his prize, had a chance to chat with the man known as OMGClayAiken.

Talk about maintaining your composure and not freaking out at the final table when you were heads-up.

Truth is I did kinda freak out when he kept coming back but, you know, I've played so many hands of PLO at all different stack sizes that it's all second nature. I was focused. Even though I was nervous and stressed out about it, I certainly knew what to do.

Now that the cameras are off and nobody is around, who were the toughest players at the table?

Without a doubt, coming into the day I was most worried about David Benyamine and Brian Rast.

They are both excellent and they both had big chip stacks. As Adam got a chip stack I was really worried about him too. I haven't played a lot with him online but he's good friends with Brian and Brian told me he is really good. So I believed him, and he was. I mean obviously a tough table - all of it. Everybody was tough. Yeah, nobody was bad.

How was it playing with Benyamine and Rast in a live setting compared to online?

[In terms of the players in the mix] towards the end, the final three, we play together all the time. I think Adam plays a little lower than $200/$400, but he's been in the game before so we've played - the three of us. It was tough. I like David a lot but I was rooting against him every time he got all-in because he's so tough. I really wanted him to lose but he kept winning.

It was kind of cool that some of the biggest winners online ... how well it translated to the results of this tournament and I think that was due to the great structure. It was moving so slow, and there is so much play in these new tournament structures. I think I just feel that it [made the win] more important.

How much were you in for?

I was in for $25,000. I brought a hundred and I just ran too good during the rebuy period to rebuy.

What does winning a bracelet mean to you?

The public and the poker community as a whole just views it as so important and, kinda because of that, I did. I felt that I had already proven myself winning in the toughest games online, for a long time now, but I hadn't really proven myself yet. For me it means that I've proven myself to everybody else.

What's with the name?

OMGClayAiken? I get that question a lot. Basically when I created a lot of screen names, they were just cocky, tough, macho so I wanted to do the opposite. I wanted people to be embarrassed to lose to me.

What do you think of Reuben Studdard's new album?

I haven't listened to it. I mean I'm not a Clay Aiken fan, but I'm not not a Clay Aiken fan. I watched a ton of American Idol. I don't think I voted for him but I wanted him to win so it's not like a joke [directed at] him at all. I mean he's a great singer!

* * * * * * * * * * *

The crowd of Galfondiacs that had gathered to watch him fight his way to victory stood by waiting to see where the party was headed. One of Galfond's friends asked him what he wanted to do now.

"I kinda wanna just watch a movie," replied Galfond.

It's highly doubtful that the posse will have let Galfond have his way this evening. All kinds of plans were being tossed around and none of them involved watching a movie. Galfond headed off into the night with his crew, a feeling of accomplishment, and his shiny new bracelet.

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Ian(Trigger1964)Thompson 2008-06-17 20:19:00

I haven't seen too much of this guy (mainly due to the high stakes he plays at) but he seems like an honest but respectable poker player who would be a good ambassador for the series. Enjoy the Kudos Phil!

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