Phil Galfond is an American professional poker player with about $3 million in live earnings. Interestingly, he’s not known for his Hold’em prowess like many other players. Instead, he’s a formidable Pot Limit Omaha player with the WSOP bracelets to back it up. 

Galfond is also known for his prolific online poker career. Regularly playing high-stakes against some of the best in the world, he has butted heads with players like Phil Ivey, Daniel Cates, and Viktor Blom numerous times throughout his career. Galfond’s online exploits have also led to him appearing on GSN’s High Stakes Poker.

He’s also the founder of the universally lauded poker coaching site Run It Once Training, where he works as a coach. In 2019, he launched his own online poker site, Run It Once Poker, providing an online poker experience that strives to be more player-friendly.

Early Life

Phil Galfond was born in Maryland on January 16, 1985. While growing up, he wasn’t exactly a model student but passed with straight B’s despite being unmotivated. His main interests during childhood were sports like football and video games like Diablo

From an early age, Galfond was highly competitive. This drive led to him taking up many sports, such as tennis, soccer, football, and track. Having played card games since the age of twelve, he and countless others worldwide became interested in poker after watching Moneymaker’s groundbreaking 2003 WSOP win. Galfond was motivated to partner up with one of his high school friends to play online poker and blackjack.

Post-secondary, he decided to pursue a degree in Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While Galfond already had a casual interest in poker, what really inspired him was when one of his friends celebrated a $30,000 win from an online tournament. 

Realizing poker’s potential, Galfond sought out every strategy book he could find. Studying the game intensely, he did his best to prepare before making his online poker debut.

A $50 Deposit

Galfond made his first deposit on an online poker site, investing $50. This early, he was utterly unaware of bankroll management and immediately started playing $10 sit-and-go tournaments. He won these, which led to him recklessly doubling the stakes to $20 tournaments. Unsurprisingly, Galfond went broke incredibly quickly. In round two, he deposited another $50 and managed it much better. This time he built up a sizable bankroll which allowed him to settle on $30 sit-and-goes for quite a while, long enough to make a steady income. 

As a sophomore, Galfond considered taking up a part-time job to finance his poker hobby. However, after taking a look at his gameplay statistics, he realized he was already making anywhere from $20 to $30 an hour, far more than any part-time job would pay. 

Galfond continued to grind, eventually earning enough to comfortably partake in $100 and $200 sit-and-goes. While he was doing great, one of his friends suggested a transition to cash games, reasoning that they would be far more profitable than sit-and-goes. Galfond decided to try it out, switching to $5/$10 No Limit Cash Games. 

The switch turned out to be the right move for Galfond. By multi-tabling, he realized he could make well over six figures a year. 

Always looking to improve his game, Galfond sought out mentoring and coaching from some of the foremost figures in the online scene. He hired Emil ‘whitelime’ Patel as a poker coach and consulted players like Tom “durrrr” Dwan and Peter “Apathy” Jetten. 

2006 was a critical year for Galfond’s career. Several things happened, one of them being the closure of several online poker sites in the United States due to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006. This was also the same year Galfond turned 21, now legally able to participate in tournaments like the WSOP and World Poker Tour (WPT). He took a semester off college, preparing to debut in live tournaments.

Live Career

In 2006, Galfond cashed twice at the WSOP Circuit. Not bad for his first year, and his career was only beginning. 

He claimed his first WSOP bracelet just two years later, winning the $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha event for a massive prize of $817,781. 

In 2013, Galfond took second in the $25,000 No Limit Hold’em 6 Handed event for $744,841. 

His second bracelet came in 2015 when he won the $10,000 2-7 Draw Lowball No-Limit Championship event for $224,383.

Galfond collected his most recent bracelet in 2018 at the $10,000 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Lo Championship event, along with $567,788.

The Galfond Challenge

Galfond took a break from playing to focus on coaching on Run It Once, but returned in 2020 by issuing the “Galfond Challenge.”

Following the footsteps of friend and renowned poker pro Tom “durrrr” Dwan, Galfond decided to battle several other players in high-stakes Pot Limit Omaha matches. 

His opponents include Bill Perkins, Dan ‘Jungleman’ Cates, Chance Kornuth, and Brandon Adams, along with online high-stakes enthusiasts “Venividi1993” and Ioannis “ActionFreak” Kontonatsios.

Galfond remains undefeated, having won four matches straight as of 2021. The match versus Daniel “Jungleman” Cates began in February 2023 and is currently not finished.