Take down if not thread worthy
ISILDUR1 BLOG RESPONSE TO PHIL GALFOND
If you play or follow online poker, just seeing the name “OMGClayAiken″ evokes a strong emotional ‘what a closet bumhunting nit’ response. He first became known for being Daniel Negreanu’s suspected love child, as well as being Tom Dwan’s BFF, but also for dominating HS NLHE+2 cards after grinding his roll up with strict bankroll management and never taking shots. Let’s start there.
From what I assume was a relatively small deposit onto Full Tilt, OMGClayAiken slowly amassed his entire roll by moving up the levels, never taking shots, and check raising AAxx on almost every board playing HUNL+2 cards. Much of this money was made playing $300/600 and $500/1000 HUNL+2 cards against none other than me, the great Isildur1.
Personally I went on to challenge myself in ways that we still have never seen in online poker. Seared in my memory is the image of me nine-tabling $500/1000 against Dwan, Ivey, and Antonius all at the same time. I crushed their souls, especially Dwan’s, the pleasure I got from him folding my overbet bluffs and calling my overbet rivers with the nuts was just beautiful. I swung up and down, creating some amazing action for the fanboys. It was the first time in my life that I felt like I didn’t give a **** about the money, I just wanted to own these FTP conmen. I couldn’t wait to grab my seat and destroy these nits but I didn’t have furniture in those days, my entire roll was on FT so I just played on the floor.
I focused on HU NLHE but once I built up my bankroll, most of it from the overrated Dwan, I started taking on opponents at HUNL+2 cards, a game which was like No limit except it was Pot Limit-which was basically the same thing and I got 2 extra cards. The damage I was doing to these fools with 2 cards, with 4 cards the possibilities were endless. Unfortunately for the fanboys, I ran ridiculously below EV in many of these games. EV is a term the nits use, so I thought I would add it in, I think it stands for easy value. My roll disintegrated rapidly mostly in one long HUNL+ 2 cards session against Brian Hastings, who the pros regarded as one of the strongest HUNL+2 cards players around, but who was actually sharing hand histories with Townsend and Cole South. They probably played me together. And I still had to run 4 million under easy value before they could bust me. In all my poker career I’ve never seen a fish hit so many rivers it was just sick. But whatever. Townsend and Cole South are busto now, and Hastings will never be as beautiful as me.
Over the coming year, I was a proper degen, winning millions, losing millions, creating more action with the bumhunters than had ever been seen before. The largest losing day in my career (though who keeps count) occurred HU vs. OMGClayAiken, at the $300/600 and $500/1000 HUNL+2 cards tables. I quickly learnt this was Phil Galfond. The biggest secret snake of all bumhunters. He would wait around all day, watching me destroy the fish with my aggressive style and then after 27 hour session he’d ask for 6 tables of HU. Galfond was such a nit. You could practically put him on his exact hand pre flop. I countered this by shoving any pair on any board even when he had AAxx. It gave me such joy to spike one of my other cards for 2 pair, I didn’t care how much of my roll I lost trying to achieve it. I still practice this tactic nowadays.
Fast forward to the end of 2010, Pokerstars signed me, cos they knew I’d bring the fan boys and that I was almost broke. The downside was I had to reveal my identity and play that cross dresser Elky in a heads up match. After I crushed him, Stars added my Avatar to the site, slightly alluring stare and all. It wasn’t long before the fanboys flocked.
Since then, I’ve played more hands with Galfond than I have with any other player over the full length of my career (6-8 tabling HU adds up pretty quickly).
Given that Galfond is the 5/6th most talked about player in online poker, I frequently get asked about him. For all of those who don’t compete at his stakes, who watch his incredibly nitty play style and his zero swings to match, it’s very easy to tell actually how much of a NL+2 cards nit Galfond really is. I think I’m as qualified as any to shed some light on this for you.
When I first played HUNL+2 cards against Galfond back on FTP, he was a nit. A really boring poker player. I was already world class at NLHE, but I had just started playing a game that was the same as NL only with 2 extra cards. I shoved any pair into a huge pot, spiked 2 pairs against AAxx. It tilted the nits something fierce. Galfond was able to play a relatively tight style, and get a lot of money in with with top set, with straight and flush redraws. When Galfond shoved all in, I knew I was crushed, but I thought what the hell, let me suck out on this nit just once.
Even while he was being such a nit, many signs of his true fanboyness came through. It’s hard to explain what specifically I mean, or how I could tell, but just trust me. I could tell that I was playing with a huge fanboy of myself.
Black Friday hit, but that didin’t affect me, when I had the manies, I continued to degen.
At the end of last year, once Galfond and I started playing on Stars, I was shocked by how far his NLHU+2 cards game had come in terms of nittiness. He was now only playing 4 cards in a row, double flush only or AA and occasionally KK. Not only had he corrected none of the leaks I’d seen earlier he decreased his opening range to just a few hands, but he was playing a style that completely crushed me when we were all in going to the river. I should have thought about adjusting but I didn’t, I just wanted to get lucky against him and drive him to tilt. Something I do often because I am so great and get so unlucky. Galfond still feels he has an edge against me but who cares, I just play for fun.
It turns out I was right.
By early 2012, Galfond was the most known online HUNL+2 cards nit. He never had a losing session. When I play him he takes my roll, no questions asked.
Now he’s one of three opponents that I play with who always show up when I am rolled and sleep depraved. The others are Jeans and Sauce. And occasionally Ziggy when he’s rolled. But he’s such a nit nowadays.
This summer in Las Vegas, I finally had the chance to meet Galfond. He begged me for my number for ages, I knew it was just so he could get some kind of edge and because he was a fanboy and though I was dubious I relented. And though the first time we met was in the poker room, I had the misfortune to hang out with him a few times over the course of the series.
The first thing that stood out to me was how short he was. The second was the image in my head of OMGClayAiken (the passive, nitty, likeable dude) being shattered to pieces. It wasn’t. Phil emanates complete fanboy culture when you meet him. He’s one of those guys that you can instantly tell is a bumhunter. Always looking for an edge. His questions-questions demeanour made me sick. Trying to find out about my game so he can find an edge when we next played. Yeah, it’s fair to say, Galfond was quite boring.
After hanging out only a few times, Galfond and his retard buddy Andre (yes Andre) Robl (who I have never actually seen win live) kept begging me to go to Vancouver. The dudes probably wanted me to play on their accounts to gain some kind of edge. Mostly I think they just wanted to get in my pants. I feel like I need to avoid these dudes at all costs and get me some hookers immediately.
Over the time we spent together, Galfond was just constantly asking me about my game, does he think I am retarded? Some fun facts: I don’t use poker databases, they are for cheats and I play the game the way it was meant to be played. And I don’t watch Phil’s training videos. That always feature him slow playing the nut flush against me, waiting for the board to pair, cos he knows I’ll shove when that happens and he can call off and be right 95.69% of the time. According to him. He’s such a nit.
The main thing that came across to me was that Galfond was into me. My impression from talking to him was that he genuinely cares about me. I know some people say they don’t care… but they care. I’m sure Galfond does. He plays poker because he wants to know me and have fun with me.
If you could have heard him describe playing the $50k 8-game WSOP event, which included all the games and he knew how to be a nit in them all. He was so focused on not tilting and not making any mistakes. I just had fun and was winning the thing until I couldn’t be bothered anymore and wanted some hookers. I busted around 12th or 13th. I didn’t care. Stars were rolling me.
I’m not at all jealous about the fact Galfond makes money. He does it in a style that makes me puke. I am degen. I’m in it for the fanboys.
Galfonds friend (not Robl) played in a 3 handed $100/$200 PLO game with me this summer and told Galfond a story about a hand from that night. I was facing a large river bet in a medium sized pot, and instantly folded. As the dealer started to pass the chips the other way, I checked to see if I had correctly folded my full house. I had. Galfond’s friend was a nit. He definitely had the quads. I remarked ‘I always fold full houses’.
I had folded a full house noticing the board paired on the river. When Galfond’s nit friend fired, I assumed he had the quads, so insta folded. BOOM!
I explained to Galfond over dinner one night (he’d lit candles-WTF?!) that I like to make my decisions instantly so that I don’t question my first instinct. Folding full houses happens in that retarded HUNL+2 cards game quite a lot.
I never fold a winner. But I never fold a loser either. Let’s just get the money in the middle and see what happens eh?! Money means nothing to me.
Why? Because if I don’t fold winners or losers, I’ll never be left wondering ‘what if?!’ I say just get in there, see what happens. “It’s just money.”
My passion for the game is my biggest strength as a player. Galfond told me he likes to play with the biggest fish in the world, especially after they’ve played 24 hours straight.
Galfond said playing against tough players is one of the greatest ways to improve. Which is strange because he never does, he just bumhunts in a shrewd way, always looking for an edge, a real pros nit.
When you start thinking about the money involved, it inhibits your ability to play your best. That’s why I don’t. Money means nothing to me. I shove with almost any 2 or 4 cards. People who approach poker purely as a job, for the financial reasons, are not real players in my opinions, just nits, if they care about the money, they’ll never get to their true degen potential. They just care about database. I care about my fanboy base.
My passion is also my biggest weakness. Since I don’t care about the money, I stay up for hours playing anyone, I don’t give a ****. Some people, like Galfond selectively choose what games to play in. It wouldn’t surprise me if Sauce and Galfond share my bankroll. The worst kind of nits.
I’ll play any game. O8, 2-7, snap. And I’ll play the best. And I’ll crush their souls. Temporarily of course, as they always win it back. But the thought of owning these so called greats for just a moment in time, is what lights the fire in my belly, because I know in time, I will go on a sick heater that will relieve Galfond of 2-3 million of my cash. He’s just holding it for me.
I can’t really see any faults in my NLHE+2 cards game. I’m very very good postflop and my love of playing big pots makes me put in vast amounts of money with almost any 4 cards and hoping to get lucky with many marginal hands. In a 6 handed game, if they are in there with me they undoubtedly have AAXX or 10JQK etc so if I know their holdings how can I lose?!
On top of this, I definitely tilt often after losing a large amount. When tilting in a 6-max game (or even a HU game), I know my results get hurt quite a bit. But I don’t care, this is what the fanboys love the most. Me tilting all my money off and getting unlucky in the process. I wouldn’t change that for anything.
If you’re wondering why I’m posting this publicly, potentially helping one of my most frequent opponents get an edge, I’ve told Galfond personally all this before, and they were things that he already knew. I’ve told him that I’m happy to be honest with him about why I think he’s a nit and wrong. In fact, Galfond doesn’t talk to me about his game at all. Just about my game. To get an edge. Fishy fishy fishcake.
The majority of my high stakes opponents have put more work into their games away from the tables than I have. Who cares? I don’t study the pokerz. The reason I’m still able to compete with them is that they hate putting vast amounts of money in the pot pre flop and when I pot every street it makes them feel like a baseball bat is been permanently inserted in their rectum. That makes me smile.
In my opinion, Phil Galfond is a NLHE+2 cards nit.
He doesn’t impress me at all – he’s such a nit. Frankly, I’m not a Galfond fan. You just can’t respect anyone who has built up his roll moving up the levels and never taking shots.
So what does Galfond’s future in poker look like? With his uber tight NLHE+2 cards style he’ll continue to take my roll month after month and whatever other fish come on his radar.
Personally, I believe that Galfond, will always make money from poker. The community love his training videos, he’s a secret midnight bumhunter and I will definitely be attending his wedding, when Tom and him decide the time is right. For now though I want to degen.
So that’s the question. Do I wanna plug the holes in my game? Can I avoid games I’m not familiar with until I’ve practiced at lower stakes? Can I tighten up my 6-max NLHE+2 cards game? Can I exercise some bankroll management and not put my whole roll on the line consistently?
The answer: No.