The Galfond Challenge at Resorts World offers free Run it Once subscriptions

Kat Martin Author Photo
Kat Martin
Posted on: July 26, 2021 22:06 PDT

The recent spate of high-profile, heads-up poker matches has given the community a fascinating insight into solver-era poker and the personalities of the combatants.

The marathon Polk-Negreanu match, for example, emerged as a duel between two individuals who didn't much like each other, at least at the outset. The terms of the contest were discussed publicly on Twitter for weeks, with offers and counter-offers invariably riding on the back of personal insults.

Both Polk and Negreanu aggressively advertise their brands through streams and videos, in which they rarely miss a chance to be controversial, thus the public drama and vitriol were unsurprising. Negreanu in particular has developed a reputation for on-air rants that span the spectrum from colorful to completely unhinged. His profanity-laden polemic on the violent extraction of teeth, and their subsequent insertion in non-traditional orifices, is unlikely to be forgotten by anyone who witnessed it.

Contrast this to the latest leg of the Galfond Challenge featuring Brandon Adams. It was announced without fanfare by Phil Galfond on Twitter:

“Next Galfond Challenge is a quick one! Playing $20k PLO vs @badams78 next Monday-Friday at @ResortsWorldLV.”

Props for Resorts World

There is no doubt that the back-and-forth salvos of the Polk-Negreanu negotiations generated interest in the match. But I believe that the more restrained approach of a challenge arranged behind closed doors shows the players in a far more positive light; a sentiment I expressed to Brandon Adams when I asked him how the challenge came to be held at Resorts World LV.

“Phil picked the spot,” he replied. “@ResortsWorldLV is the nuts from what I've seen so far. New favorite in Vegas.”

This is a remarkable endorsement for a property that has only been open to the public for a few weeks. Las Vegas tends to celebrate the new and shiny, but in the case of the poker room at Resorts World, it seems to be genuine quality that has produced the positive feedback.

"Resorts World is an incredible property," Brian S from Southern California told me. "The poker room looks great and is less cramped than other popular Vegas rooms."

A review on Poker Atlas by 'biffo99' makes a delightful comparison: "While the Golden Nugget poker room has a familiarity like playing in Grandpa’s rec room, this one felt like being on Grandpa’s yacht."

A special offer

Director of Poker Operations at Resorts World, Gary Hager, kindly filled me in on some of the practical details of the challenge. The match will commence around 11am each day in the high-limit area, which is surrounded by glass. This affords the two players a degree of privacy, but also allows spectators to get a good view of the action. The contest will not be streamed, mostly because the room lacks an RFID table, but will be recorded.

If seeing these two great players wasn't motivation enough to get down to Resorts World, Gary revealed an additional perk. Any poker player clocking in to a live poker game during the period of the match will be offered a month of free subscription to Phil Galfond's poker training website, Run It Once.

It seems Gary is as charmed by Phil and Brandon as they are by the room. "True professionals," he said. "Both amazing individuals. Cream of the crop."

Based on my further discussions with Gary about his plans for the room, I have no doubt we'll be hearing a lot more from Resorts World in the months to come. But meanwhile, we have the excitement of the Galfond Challenge itself, and the spectacle of the beautiful game of PLO played by two of the best in the world.

Featured image source: Twitter.