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Heads Up! Luke Schwartz 7th to Challenge Phil Galfond

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It was in November last year that Phil Galfond threw out his Heads-Up Challenge with an aim to bring more attention to his own Run It Once poker platform. Through that challenge, Galfond said that he was seeking out high-stakes players to compete against in Pot Limit Omaha, and the challenge was open to anyone willing to face him. Well, it seems as though professional player and Twitter abuser Luke Schwartz has seen fit to call Galfond out through the popular social media site. While stepping up to the challenge by Galfond is one thing, labeling him as a lousy or irrelevant player could just have taken it a meter too far.

Luke SchwartzPro Poker Player and Twitter Loudmouth Luke Schwartz

Schwartz Labels Various Players “Pigeons”


Luke Schwartz has made quite the habit of taking to Twitter to either complain, opine, or pretty much belittle those he doesn’t respect within the poker industry. In one of his latest tirades, he chose to target certain players whom he called “pigeons.” These are the people that he believes are of the most irrelevance to the poker world, and amongst those that he called out, Run It Once owner Phil Galfond was definitely in the crosshairs.

Despite the Tweet from Schwartz featuring almost incomprehensible English, the London-born player claimed that he doesn’t know why Galfond is even trying to promote the Heads-Up challenge. He went on to state that there isn’t anybody who cares whether or not he’s able to beat an “online nobody,” referencing the user going by the name of “VeniVidi1993” who has also stepped forward in challenging Galfond. This led to Schwartz throwing his own challenge down to the former pro, requesting an Any Limit or Big Bet Mix game of his target’s choice.

Luke Schwartz Insults Phil Galfond

Several people responded to Schwartz, some of whom seemed to back him up in his words while others were more critical. One even said that Galfond’s challenge was to promote the Run It Once site, which only provides Omaha and Hold’em poker in any case, so Schwartz’s tweet was therefore nonsense. Others called into question whether Schwartz had been drinking prior to making the post with some even noting that his grammar was “atrocious.”

Yet, the target of his post was the only response that Schwartz was interested in, and sure enough, Mr. Galfond did choose to respond to him on Sunday, Jan. 5, thanking him for his interest in the challenge, which is associated with the hashtag #GalfondChallenge. Galfond went on to suggest that the two of them can play some 1K/2K 8-game without pigeon stakes. Galfond claimed that he would feel bad if he accepted odds from Schwartz and so instead suggested an offer of 1.1:1 on a side bet of $250K for a 15K hand match.

Galfond Accepts Schwartz's Challenge

Schwartz Becomes Possible 7th Galfond Challenger

Schwartz – who first rose to prominence for his play on several online poker sites, including Full Tilt, in the mid-2000s – obviously keeps a watchful eye over his own Twitter feed as he responded on the exact same day to Galfond, stating that he was fine with the challenge as long as Galfond didn’t fly “berry sweet and his solver” to the game in order to assist. The likelihood is that this referred to player “BERRI SWEET” who is one of the very best in high-stakes online poker. Instead, Luke said that it has to be a definitive one-on-one game with zero chance of cheating taking place.

Luke Schwartz Agrees to Galfond's Terms

As things stand at the moment, Galfond has already confirmed six previous opponents for the Heads-Up Challenge. These include businessman Bill Perkins, who has himself been known to participate in high-stakes poker before, Dan Cates, who uses the online username “jungleman12,” and Brandon Adams. Two online pros have also stepped forward to the challenge in the aforementioned “VeniVidi1993” with the second being “Actionfreak.” Finally, Chance Kornuth, a coach for competing training site Chip Leader Coaching, has also confirmed his participation.

Each of the challenges has been set up with its own structure, related stakes, and side bet odds. Yet, the main factor linking them all together is that they will see each challenger face Galfond in thousands of hands of high-stakes Pot Limit Omaha poker, and there will also be a six-figure side bet on the line in all cases too.

The challenge from Schwartz completely scrambles those factors up and throws them out the window. Never one to do things by halves considering that he supposedly “beasts everything,” Schwartz obviously believes that he has the ability to take down “OMGClayAiken” – the username that is associated with Galfond. And despite the fact that he was so rudely challenged, Galfond even proceeded to wish Schwartz a Happy New Year, displaying his sense of confidence in his own abilities.

What Is the Heads-Up Challenge?

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In November 2019, Galfond spoke of returning to active poker competition, having taken a step away from the limelight in more recent times. In a bid to bring more attention to his own Run It Once online poker site, he said that he was throwing out an open challenge in the form of heads-up Pot Limit Omaha. With there also being a Run It Once poker training platform online as well, Galfond stated that he wanted to promote both at once.

Phil GalfondPoker Player and Site Owner Phil Galfond

Even though the training site went live in 2012, the accompanying poker site was announced in 2016, but didn’t become active until February of 2019 following a series of unexpected delays. Therefore, with the site now being fully operational, what better way could there be than having a challenge issued by its owner for high-stakes players to compete in?

Galfond created a blog post that introduced players to the challenge where he stated that he was looking for 50,000 hands, which were to be played at $100/$200 stakes or higher. At the same time, he said that there would be a side bet of 10 buy-ins at odds of 3:1 in favor of his opponent(s). These numbers have proven to be a starting point in negotiations with each booked challenge differing from this initial format based upon the desires and availability of both Galfond and his opponent.

Schwartz Insults Various Other Players

Two People Arguing

While Galfond had the ability to remain calm, cool, and collected over the tweet from Schwartz – despite its lack of comprehensibility – this didn’t stop the Brit player from taking aim at other poker players. One of those other players was Shaun Deeb whom he claimed, in one of the many tweets from Jan. 5, has no neck. Additionally, he targeted Jason Mercier, stating that he looks like Jesus these days, and Mike “Gordo” Gorodinsky who he said only ever wears a vest despite being all of 40 pound.

Schwartz also took aim at online training sites, which he says are all scams in any case. Run It Once has its own poker training site as noted, so that could potentially be another dig at Galfond and his platform.

He did opt to heap some sort of praise on one of Galfond’s other challengers in Dan Cates though. He claimed that the “Jungleman has been scammed for the untold millions,” but yet he remains as one of the most “caked” poker players in the game. Schwartz appended the hashtag #goat to this message.

Access Online Poker in the United States

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While Run It Once may be the poker platform that Galfond is intending to see all of these challenges through on, this is a site that isn’t available to residents of the United States for the time being. Yet, if you do wish to involve yourself in playing Pot Limit Omaha, or indeed any other form of poker from within the United States, then you still have options galore.

We have a collection of recommended online sites that you can visit and sign up to, and we’ve even reviewed them in full for you. Just check out our selection of the Best Sites to Play PLO Online to locate a platform offering such. You can also view our selection of legal offshore platforms providing their services to players based within the United States too. Then peruse our page on legal online poker to find out why it's totally safe for you to play on international cardrooms despite the views of meddlesome politicians and bureaucrats.