Galfond vs Habegger – shortest challenge ever?
If the Daniel Cates versus Tom Dwan Challenge match was the longest-running heads-up affair in history, then the Phil Galfond/JNandez battle has to be the shortest-ever. The Swiss PLO coach pulled out just days after accepting the Galfond Challenge.
— JNandez (@JNandezPoker) December 17, 2019
As we reported less than a week ago, JNandez, aka Fernando Habegger, had agreed to take on the Run It Once founder over 50,000 hands, playing $100/$200 and getting 5-1 odds on a side-bet of 10 buy-ins.
Props to the bravest non-@RunItOnce coach out there!
— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) December 9, 2019
Habegger’s decision to renege on the deal, however, has been met with derision by most of the poker community. Many claiming that he only put his name forward to boost his coaching profile.
Its true he wanted free publicity for his site and used phils challenge to try to achieve that ..poor play
— satara (@kurucj) December 18, 2019
Among the reasons for his quick about-turn, Habegger states that it would take ‘much more extreme preparation and execution than I originally intended’.
Quite what he thought it would involve playing one of the game’s greatest-ever PLO crushers is unclear. But again the poker Twittersphere have been scathing in their responses.
Playing 50k hands of 100/200 vs one of the best in the world would "take more extreme preparation and execution than you originally intended"? What kind of coach doesn't realise the commitment? Amazed Phil isn't holding you to the sidebet. Soft.
— Tim Marsters (@TurnRiva) December 18, 2019
There has been plenty of humor to go along with the annoying replies. Thomas Keeling’s play-money parody was one of the wittiest responses…
— Thomas Keeling (@SrslySirius) December 18, 2019
Galfond himself has been rather quiet about the JNandez ‘no-show’, simply tweeting that the match was now off and he would not be seeking penalties from the Swiss pro.
— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) December 18, 2019
The controversy surrounding Fernando Habegger
The fact that JNandez was once a Run It Once coach working for Galfond may explain this. However, Habegger has been a rather controversial figure in recent years.
He became part of the Doug Polk Upswing Poker team to teach their PLO Lab course. However, he quit just three months into an 18 contract, utilizing an escape clause that Polk had overlooked.
That didn’t stop Polk, himself no stranger to controversy, from publicly denouncing Habegger…
For anyone who wants to hear my statement on the issue, you can find it here.https://t.co/oiIesefjh5
— Doug Polk (@DougPolkVids) January 6, 2018
“Fernando apparently does not find it important enough to take care of the people who have paid for training, and for him to fulfill his obligations,” said Polk.
He added: “I have lost a lot of respect for JNandez. This is not how you are supposed to conduct business when people put faith in you by paying you money for a service.”
Polk, a lot more used to such spats than Habegger, produced a 35-minute video picking apart every aspect ofHabegger’sclaims about their business relationship.
Polk’s Youtube Reaction
Getting back to the Galfond Challenge problems, the JNandez withdrawal hasn’t completely scuppered the prospect of some seriously interesting poker for the fans.
Billionaire Bill Perkins was the first to agree on terms with Galfond, as reported here, but the real heavyweight match-up agreed this week will see Daniel Cates attempt to ‘break Phil’s spirit’ over 7500 hands of heads-up PLO.
And as if Fernando Habegger and his rather expected nonsense was just a bad dream, Galfond lost no time in adding another match to his busy schedule – WSOP bracelet winner Brandon Adams a tough proposition.
The show must go on!
We'll play 40hrs of live poker at $100/$200 PLO with a side bet of $150k:$100k.
We plan to play this summer & hope to play on a stream for you all! pic.twitter.com/tFjheCmRzT
— Phil Galfond (@PhilGalfond) December 18, 2019
With online beast VeniVidi1993 also confirmed – a $100/$200 PLO match over 25k hands, and Galfond offering 2-1 on the side bet – it looks like 2020 will be the year that high stakes online action returns to the poker world.
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