It’s really uplifting to see so many young poker players make a name for themselves in this competitive industry. Phil Galfond, at the age of 37, is one of the living proof that your age doesn’t define your success.
Throughout his entire poker career, he has already won 3 WSOP bracelets and created an e-learning platform for poker aspirants called Run It Once Training. He is not only a good professional poker player but also a capable businessman.
Unlike most wealthy players, Phil started only with a $50 bankroll which he used for online poker. Who would have thought he’d rake millions worth of winnings today?
|Full Name: Phil Galfond
|DOB: January 16, 1985
|Birthplace: North Potomac, Maryland
|Profession: Pro poker player, online entrepreneur, and PLO educator
|Wife: Farah Fath
|WSOP Bracelets: 3
|Net Worth & Career Earnings: $30+ million
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Phil Galfond Bio
Phil was born in North Potomac, Maryland on January 16, 1985. He has 2 other siblings – one brother and one sister. He is the eldest among them. Despite not being a top student, with only straight B’s, he recalled that he had a happy childhood growing up with his family.
He went to Thomas Sprigg Wootton High School, and then eventually got into the University of Wisconsin – Madison for college. However, at 21 he decided to drop out of the university and decided to pursue poker professionally.
But before all that, he first worked at Dominos when he was still in high school, where he quit after a week. Then sometime later, he became a tutor and later on went to discover the fun world of poker.
As a child, he enjoyed playing video games, particularly Diablo. Aside from that, he was quite into sports. He had so much fun playing football, and soccer, and even later got into tennis. Back then, the thought of being a poker professional seemed far-fetched.
Galfond started playing card games at the early age of 12. He was fond of playing various online card games for real money. His interest in poker became much more pronounced after he saw the WSOP in 2003.
He is always proud to say that Dutch Boyd was his inspiration. Because of him, he was encouraged to get into the professional poker scene.
Phil began playing online poker when he was still in his first year of college. He initially invested $50 in an online poker account but lost it all after playing Sit ‘N’ Go. Since he really wanted to pursue the dream, he invested another $50, and soon after it just grew into thousands. And now, he’s earning millions from playing on the felt.
He started gaining popularity after many winnings at Full Tilt. He went by the name of OMGClayAiken. He enjoyed high-stakes cash games and he never backed down on challenges.
A lot of fans were wondering why he chose that username, and he answered that it was because he didn’t want to sound too intimidating like other players. What a sweetheart!
The thing about this guy is that he loves reading and learning, and he never stopped looking for ways to become a better player. In fact, he reached out to many pro players in the hopes of getting new strategies and techniques.
First, he got Emil Patel as his poker coach. Then, he later asked for mentorship from Tom Dwan and Andrew Robl. We can very well see where his passion and determination brought him today.
After being so active in the online poker scene while he was still in school, he decided to devote all his time to poker in 2006. He joined his first live tournament and got 18th place during the WSOP Circuit event held in Tunica. There, he was able to take home $22,895.
Shortly after his first live tournament, he then joined another WSOP tournament in 2008. During this time, he got his first World Series of Poker bracelet after finishing first in the $5,000 PLO game. He overshadowed many poker icons such as Daniel Negreanu and Phil Hellmuth.
His second bracelet came in 2015, and the third one was in 2018.
This guy is also known to be a smart bluffer. He won big against some of the most famous players like Doyle Brunson on an episode of High Stakes Poker by effectively bluffing. He won the pot worth $198,000 for that.
As you can see from the video above from High Stakes PokerGo, Galfond has had a lot of crazy moments when playing against pros like Phil Laak, Antonio Esfandiari, Sammy Farha, Eli Elezra, Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth, Elky, Mike Matusow, Barry Greenstein and many others.
Run It Once
Having been able to gain loads of experience playing both online and live, many aspiring players wished Phil could mentor them. In 2012, it seems like the PLO icon heard the call and established a training site called Run It Once.
Together with other professionals like Garrett Adelstein, Ben Sulsky, Brian Rast, Hac Dang, and many others, they have provided meaningful lessons to those who wish to get better at the game.
Also, aside from the training site, he also launched the online poker room Run It Once in 2016. However, just recently, it was acquired by Rush Street Interactive. It was said that RSI bought it for $5.7M. This took Phil’s net worth to a staggering $30M+ in 2023.
Before, they were not ready to penetrate the US markets to compete with other bigger platforms, but today, they are confidently opening up to the US players. Phil and his team are still part of the platform.
The Phil Galfond Challenge
In 2020, the PLO master launched a challenge to the entire poker industry.
He invited anyone who wanted to play high-stakes PLO matches with him for a pre-determined number of hands. The game could take a couple of days, weeks, or even months depending on the number of hands.
Though there is no definite pot at stake, it’s rumored to reach up to millions of dollars, so that’s why many players wanted to take on the challenge. So far, there were only six brave souls who expressed their willingness to play against Galfond.
The players are Bill Perkins, Chance Kornuth, Ioannis Kontonatsios, Dan ‘Jungleman’ Cates, Brandon Adams, and Venividi1993. Phil was able to win over Ionnis and Venividi. Right now, his record remains 4-0 after two competitors backed down – Brandon Adams and Chance Kornuth.
You may wonder why Fernando “Jnandez” Habegger didn’t sign up for this considering he’s also a PLO expert. In his words, he backed down because he didn’t want to accept the backers’ money without fully committing to their EV in a livestream heads-up nosebleed stakes.
In 2021, we rarely heard about a match happening for the Galfond Challenge, but lately, the topic has been stirred once more. After selling the RIO platform, it looks like the PLO master has got some time to spare and announced to the world via Twitter that he’s willing to continue the challenge.
What’s even better, is that he said he’s willing to play NLHE formats but added to give him 2 months to prepare. I’m guessing it’ll be an invitational game because he specified in the tweet that it wasn’t for everybody.
But the PLO challenge? Anyone can still compete.
Galfond is happily married to Farah Fath Galfond.
She is an American actress and also a poker player herself. The two were dating for two years, got engaged, and then got married on May 15, 2015. Now, they have a son named Spencer who was born in December 2018.
Aside from playing poker and running his platform, the PLO master busies himself with writing blog posts. Some of his writings were also featured in Bluff Magazine.
Phil Galfond Net Worth
Without a doubt, this man’s got to be one of the richest poker players in his generation. Since he is a fan of cash games, his total live earnings only add up to a little short of $3 million.
But the truth is, this man’s net worth is much more than that. He is estimated to have a least a net worth of $30 million overall.
Anyway, here are his top cashes when it comes to WSOP:
- 1st place 2008 39th Annual WSOP – $817,781
- 2nd place 2013 44th Annual WSOP – $744,841
- 1st place 2018 WSOP – $567,788
- 1st place 2015 WSOP – $224,383
- 4th place 2015 WSOP $10,000 Limit 2-7 Triple Draw Lowball – $89,939
So, have you heard any other interesting things about Phil Galfond today? Share them in the comments section below!