At the moment, Phil Galfond is deep in the tank working on launching his new online poker room, “Run It Once."
But that shouldn’t keep us from remembering he’s still one of the best players in the world.
He only played a couple of tournaments last year. One of them was the $300k Super High Roller Bowl, where he showed us how strong of a move a fold can be.
High-End Phil on Phil Action
It was the highest buy-in open tournament of 2016. Forty-nine players (including re-entries) took part in the $300k event at the Aria in Las Vegas and the prize pool was $15 million.
One of the fascinating things about a tournament like this is that there might be mostly professional players but there are also always a couple of unknown players there just because they can afford it.
In our video this week, though, it’s the clash between two of the big Phils, namely Galfond and Laak, that drew our attention.
Galfond's Next Problem
We join in on the turn. Galfond has just hit a straight and bets about a third of the pot. Phil Laak is last to act but he doesn’t fold his hand.
Instead he begins to carefully count out a big raise, which is very inconvenient for Galfond. Not only does he not have the nuts he’s also only holding a one-card straight -- which is obviously much easier to hit for him (and his opponent) than a straight with both hole cards.
He also has to ask himself which hand his opponent would play like this. There’s always the chance of a bluff, of course, but hands with a ten or even J-T are much more likely – which is what Laak actually has.
That brings us to our next problem. If Galfond pays the 70,000 chips now, he’s probably facing another big bet on the river because the pot is already over 200,000 chips.
So, he rarely beats a bluff, he sometimes splits the pot and the rest of the time he loses – not a promising outlook for two expensive calls. Galfond is good enough to not just consider a fold, though, but actually do it. Watching this is still impressive: