111 – The Phil Galfond Challenge

The Phil Galfond Challenge

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In this episode, Phil Galfond talks about The Phil Galfond Challenge, his series of challenges playing high-stakes PLO against some of the world’s best. He shares how the challenge came about, why he created it, and what he has been doing to prepare. Elliot and Phil discuss the mindset shifts that Phil has undergone, and he opens up about the hidden fear that has kept him from studying.

Listen in to hear Phil share what makes Run It Once different– and learn why he won’t need a vacation after these challenges are completed.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

[01:30] – The Phil Galfond Challenge

  • 02:25 – Elliot’s course and discussions inspired some of Phil’s big moves and made the challenge possible
  • 03:15 – The challenge idea came about because his video views were going down; he still has more guidance and wants to teach people
  • 04:05 – He challenged any other training site coach to a match; 50,000 hands with 3:1 odds
  • 04:20 – He’s playing on Run It Once since he’s outside of the U.S.; it’s a big promotion for Run It Once poker
  • 04:50 – They opened it up to not just coaches to make sure they had a match
  • 05:05 – He’s excited to play high-stakes poker for a length of time; he’ll brush up on his game and get better

[06:00] – On opponents and game structures

  • 06:05 – As of the recording, he has matches set up with some of the best in the world and other matches still need details to be discussed
  • 08:20 – He’s planning on playing for four months in Vancouver, but he’ll likely have to play beyond that
  • 09:00 – With the Thirst Lounge 10, Phil won’t know who he’s playing; he won’t enjoy that because he won’t be able to study tells and leaks

[10:10] – The streaming rules

  • 10:15 – He’ll stream cards up with anyone else who’ll do the same; challenges will have commentators and PLO analysts on Run It Once’s Twitch

[11:20] – What’s different about Run It Once

  • 11:35 – He didn’t like what he was seeing on other poker sites, so he was inspired to be a player supporting the longevity of online poker
  • 12:10 – The three challenges facing online poker: Bots, regulation, and the loss of the casual player
  • 13:10 – When players lose more slowly, there are more of them playing at a time; if they lose quickly, they leave the pool
  • 14:35 – Phil believes it’s possible to have people winning and people losing that still enjoy the game
  • 15:40 – The table alias system anonymizes you; HUDs aren’t allowed but they have dynamic avatars
  • 16:20 – The stats are easy to understand for all players; they also have a “splashed pot” and legends
  • 18:05 – It has been tough to make changes because they don’t know how the community will react; outreach and being in touch with players has been important

[19:15] – On the role of mindset in Phil’s challenges for him and his opponents

  • 19:20 – He doesn’t think most people will be impacted by the fact that they’ll be streamed on Twitch; the schedule will be the toughest part
  • 19:40 – There are financial penalties if players in the challenge take time off, so he won’t be able to break when he normally would
  • 20:20 – His biggest challenge will be dealing with the negative swings and errors without taking breaks

[20:40] – On others not wanting to play long sessions

  • 21:00 – He only has one person, Chance, who wants to play the long sessions (as of this recording)

[21:10] – Something Phil picked up from the mindset course that’ll help him in the challenge

  • 21:15 – He’s moving past his fear of studying; he was always successful at poker without having to try too hard and now he’s learning that he needs to study
  • 22:20 – He’s realizing that he doesn’t want to find out that he’s not as smart as he thinks he is; he finds it easier now to work through worst and best-case scenarios
  • 22:35 – He’s starting to build up his ability to study

[23:15] – More information on the challenges

  • 23:30 – They’ll be broadcasted on twitch.tv/runitoncepoker
  • 23:45 – They play 5x/week with Sundays and Wednesdays off; they have a page where you can see the matches
  • 24:50 – He hopes that the challenges will help Run It Once grow and get more attention

[25:20] – Phil’s post-challenge treat

  • 25:40 – He sees this challenge as being the treat; he’s getting a vacation from full-time work on the site

3 Key Points

  1. Challenges are learning opportunities.
  2. Set the ego aside and study so you can get even better!
  3. If you love what you do, doing it feels like vacation!


  • A-Game Poker Masterclass – Website
  • Stream the Phil Galfond Challenge here

***If you’ve enjoyed this episode of The Mindset Advantage podcast, please subscribe and leave us a review over on iTunes to help spread the word about the show. Thanks!***

About the Author Elliot Roe

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