Why Landon Tice and Bill Perkins won’t ever finish a heads-up match

Jon Sofen
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Posted on February 10, 2021 3:02 pm EST

You shouldn’t waste your time betting on the proposed Bill Perkins vs. Landon Tice match, unless you’re betting on it to flop. The match isn’t likely to go the full 20,000 hands, if it ever actually begins.

With Doug Polk vs. Daniel Negreanu complete, the poker world is now in search of its next heads-up battle. Phil Galfond has already completed three Galfond Challenges. And judging by the low viewership totals during the streams of his most recent match against Chance Kornuth, it’s unlikely the next Galfond Challenge will draw much interest.

Tom Dwan clearly isn’t ever going to finish his “Durrrr Challenge” against Dan “Jungleman” Cates, not after six years of inactivity in what was an exciting competition years ago. So, that’s off the table.

With the global health pandemic still causing problems, the major poker tournament scene is almost non-existent these days. Thus the reason poker fans have become so intrigued by online heads-up contests.

The next match to follow just might be Landon Tice vs. Bill Perkins. The poker players tentatively agreed to play 20,000 hands of $200/$400, the same stakes as Polk and Negreanu played, online at an undetermined poker site.

Tice, given that he is a professional going up against a recreational player, has agreed to pay a rebate of nine big blinds per 100 hands to his opponent. So, if the challenge goes the full 20,000 hands, he would owe Perkins a $720,000 payment.

The reason he’s willing to give up so much expected value (EV) is because he feels he has a significant edge and should win far more than nine big blinds per 100 hands dealt.

But the chances of him owing that $720,000 after the match is complete are slim to none. That is because the odds of Perkins completing this challenge, whether he’s ahead or not, are also slim to none.

Odds of completion are thin

Perkins began a Galfond Challenge against Phil Galfond last summer. They played two sessions and everyone just kind of forgot about it.

Perkins is a wealthy hedge fund manager who enjoys living the luxurious lifestyle. Not only is he busy with work, it’s unlikely he’ll care to grind four-hour sessions, 3-4 times per week for two months.

And if he were to start the match on a massive heater, which very well could happen, would Tice even be able to continue playing? Tice is backed and doesn’t play on his own dollar. So, if he’s down big after, say, 10,000 hands, will his backers continue to front him the money?

That much I can’t answer as I don’t personally know his backers. But it’s hard to imagine any investor would want to throw hundreds of thousands of dollars at a poker player who is losing big.

That’s not to say Tice will lose. He’s clearly going to be favored as he is a professional poker player who studies GTO, and Perkins is more of a “feel” player who doesn’t take the game so seriously.

But Perkins is also no slouch on the felt. He’s a fish compared to, say, Stephen Chidwick. But Landon Tice also isn’t Stephen Chidwick at this point in his young career. Perhaps someday he will be, but at 21 years old, he’s still learning.

There’s one other aspect to this that might cause the match to stop early. Perkins loves attention. Will poker fans really be interested in watching this match? It simply doesn’t have the appeal to it like Polk vs. Negreanu did. If the viewership is low, and it likely will be, that could give Perkins another reason to call it quits early.

Featured image source: Flickr