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Is Phil Galfond Broke?

Has Phil Galfond Gone Broke?

Phil ‘OMGClayAiken’ Galfond is an American professional poker player famous for his World Series of Poker Bracelet earned during the 2008 $5,000 Buy-In Pot-Limit Omaha. As a result of his high-stakes successes, Galfond has appeared on multiple seasons of High Stakes Poker, produced by GSN.

Originally from North Potomac, Maryland, Galfond attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Formerly, he resided in New York City. There, he connected two penthouse apartments purchased in 2011 by virtue of a slide. I’ll say that again: a slide. The man slid between rooms, which alone should be enough to win even the sternest-of-faced poker buffs over to joining camp Galfond. Speaking of camps, prior to embarking on a career in professional poker, Galfond worked as a counsellor for Camp Tall Timbers.

As well as television and live tournament appearances, Galfond is well known for online play. He plays high-stakes cash games, mainly around the $200-$400 stake (but often over) with no-limit at Texas Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha tables on Full Tilt Poker under the alias “OMGClayAiken.” Rather ingeniously, Galfond chose the nickname strategically in the hopes that other macho-screen-named users would be highly embarrassed at the prospect of losing to him. He is thought (as of May 2011) to be one of the most successful online poker players in history.

As a result of legal actions aimed at online poker sites which began in April 2011, Galfond moved to Vancouver, Canada to continue to pursue his talent. In February, 2013, Galfond’s Full Tilt Poker earnings amounted to in excess of $10,000,000.

Galfond’s Financial Progression

Over the years, Galfond has taken to scrutinizing himself a little. As he’s matured as a player, he’s grow into a more sensible rendition of himself than perhaps previously seen when online poker was at its most prevalent in the States. Speaking to Bluff Magazine, Galfond explained that his main focus these days is keeping busy, looking into interesting projects, and occasionally, hopping on a slide:

“I had a vision in my head that I would go to Vancouver with a few friends and slowly start to build a little life for myself there […]But when I’m there I want to play — so I just play all day, staying in my apartment. I’ve started taking health a lot more seriously and I put effort into eating better and exercising a lot. That keeps me busy and keeps me outside of my own head. But otherwise I don’t think I’ve done very well in achieving balance.”

Admitting that perhaps sometimes his involvement in the poker scene requires more dedication and consumes more time than he may like, Galfond certainly finds time to unwind between busy schedules. Additionally, Galfond seems relatively content with the outcome of the events that transpired in 2012 between both himself and former BlueFire business partner Billy Murphy – on the subject of an unpaid profit distribution for the 2011 year. Eventually, Galfond decided to cut his losses and walk away from the venture:

“It’s very hard to walk away from something I helped build from the ground up […] but the most difficult aspect of this is the fact that I’ll miss the community … the members and my fellow coaches. Please know that it was a very difficult decision that I struggled with for a long, long time. I’m sorry that I can’t elaborate further.”

However, in 2012, Galfond did elaborate. A complaint filed in September in a Texas court saw Galfond allege that Murphy never paid Galfond a share of the BlueFire profits, nor did he provide tax or accounting records, essentially leaving Galfond with no way of verifying the profit distributions.

Phil Galfond’s Top Five Tournament Cashes

– 2nd place for $744,841 at the 2013 WSOP $25,00 No-Limit Hold’em – Six-Handed (Event #52)
– 1st place for $817,781 at the 2008 WSOP $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha
– 6th place for $48,043 at the 2014 WSOP $3,000 No-Limit Hold’em – Shootout (Event #20)
– 6th place for $51,538 at the 2014 WSOP $10,000 Limit 2-7 Triple Draw (Event #5)
– 16th place for $30,000 at the 2011 WSOP $25,000 Limit Hold’em

So has Phil Galfond actually gone broke?

Potentially, as Galfond’s decision to involve himself in other projects leaves him currently indisposed. If he were to return to the circuit, it would have to be worth his while. With a sizable amount of capital at his disposal it seems as though Galfond is able to pick and choose his jobs with a high degree of selectivity. His long-spanning online career allows him to comfortably continue online play whilst pursuing projects from home, meaning that although we may not see him hit the live tournament tables anytime soon (although every possibility of the return still stands) he’ll certainly not be putting his poker career on hold entirely.

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