Everything we know about the Landon Tice v. Bill Perkins heads up challenge

Jon Pill
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Posted on 02/09/2021

Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk managed to conclude their epic matchup in pretty short order. Now, anyone hungry for high quality heads up play is suddenly out of luck. Galfond’s gone quiet on his challenges, PokerGO doesn’t seem to have any plans for round four of Hellmuth v. Esfandiari, and Doug Polk is retiring from the game… again.

But there’s something new in the waters. It’s not quite the clash of Titans that Polkgreanu was. But Landon Tice and Bill Perkins have finally settled the terms of their heads-up challenge.

Tice tweeted about it that “HEADS UP FOR SOULS IS ON! I battle the Legend @bp22 [(Bill Perkins)]. 200/400. 20k hands. I pay 9bb/100.”

To clarify Tice’s shorthand somewhat, the two will be playing $200/$400 no limit hold’em heads-up. They will play for 20,000 hands. And Tice will pay Perkins 9 x $400 for every hundred hands they play. That means if Tice plays break-even poker for the full 20k hands, he will still be out $720,000. Perkins can make a profit overall, just by not losing more than that amount at the table over the course of the challenge.

Nine big blinds per hundred is a pretty high win rate to beat. Especially if Perkins takes the game seriously and trains in the way he’s seen Polk and Negreanu do.

Tice is well aware of this and joked on Twitter this weekend that: “Bill’s probably watching the Super Bowl and I’m in the f***ing lab.”

We’re gonna need a montage

Tice hasn’t been just training.

As well as hitting the labs, Tice has also been trading streams with Woman Grandmaster Nemo Zhou. They played some hand-brain chess and, in turn, Tice taught her “hand rankings[…] that three pair doesn’t exist, poker has engines that “do engine stuff,” and 10 is represented as a T.”

Meanwhile, Perkins has been negotiating to get Phil Galfond to repeat his role as arbitrator in this match. Previously, Galfond settled the differences that arose in the Polk/Negreanu challenge. However, he regretted taking on the role somewhat as he “passed up on some bets in Doug v Daniel as arbitrator and […] felt left out.”

Wanting to balance being a mensch, protecting his integrity, and still getting to enjoy the spectacle of the game, Galfond has offered to arbitrate with full disclosure of any action he had in the game.

Perkins agreed to this, but nothing official has been struck as yet.

Learning by example

After the final leg of the Polk-Negreanu challenge saw Polk conserve his lead by massively widening his limping range, the Tice-Perkins challenge will have a ban on limping. Many, including Negreanu, saw Polk’s strategy as poor sportsmanship. Other’s felt that it was a sensible +EV play and within the rules, therefore above condemnation.

Perkins tweeted about the rules saying that eliminating limping is “a sharper strategy.”

That isn’t the only help the previous challengers have provided. Doug Polk got his two cents in directly too.

Claiming to be one of the few players who has squared off against both Tice and Perkins at the table, Polk reckons that “it’s gonna be quite hard for Landon to win. Landon isn’t some HU NL end-boss, it should not be hard for Bill to get to -9 evbb.”

We’ll have to wait and see how this plays out before we can cast judgment on Polk’s prediction here. But the handicap is certainly high enough to make this a tense match from the offing.

Image source: Flickr