24th of February 2009 Author: Glo Wood
Two great cash game players duke it out in instalments
Remember the million dollar challenge issued by online poker pro Tom "Durrr" Dwan? The first challenger, Patrik Antonius, has stepped forward and the two have been going at it over the weekend, playing in instalments between their other commitments.
For those readers unfamiliar with the challenge, high rolling Dwan threw down the gauntlet earlier this year, requiring prospective opponents to compete with him over 50 000 hands of at least $200/$400 stakes on four tables at a time. With the exception of Dwan's close friend Phil Galfond, the challenge is open to any member of the poker community. The contestants will play Dwan at Pot Limit Omaha or NLHE, and in Dwan's own words:
"I'm making this heads-up challenge to the world. Anyone can accept. Four tables, minimum of $200/$400, and I'll put up $1.5 million to their $500 000. We play 50 000 hands minimum and if they end up a dollar after rake they keep the side money or whatever. So basically, if you and I played and you won a dollar, you would get my $1.5 million and if I won a dollar I would win your $500 000.
"So I'm giving a million dollars free if anyone thinks they can do it."
So far, Antonius, Phil Ivey and David Benyamine - all experienced and formidable online and live players - have indicated they are prepared to take up the Dwan challenge.
Antonius and Dwan have now clashed on three sessions over two days, playing for several hours on each at Full Tilt Poker.com and drawing a good crowd of Internet railbirds. The latest action between the two brings the hands played so far over the 2 910 mark, so there still a good 47 000 or more hands to go in the Dwan vs. Antonius section of the challenge.
In the latest session, held over the weekend, the two players resumed their contest with Dwan winning $36 661 over the course of 92 hands before a lunch break was taken. The two then clashed in a four hour or more session that saw almost 1 300 hands played over four tables and this ended with Antonius ahead of Dwan by a total of $56 178 over the duration of the competition thus far.
Along the way, the two players have generated excitement and admiration, with some audacious and skillful play on both sides of the virtual tables, and big money changing hands - often tens of thousands of dollars in a pot. At one stage Dwan was over $100 000 ahead of his opponent, who fought his way back into contention to end in the ascendency. Antonius dragged the largest pot of the session, at $152 866, and indication of the level and intensity of the contest.
The two agreed to close the current session at around 9pm Eastern time Saturday with Antonius the acknowledged winner and an agreement to meet again as soon as convenient to continue with the marathon poker challenge.
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