The challenge was issued and accepted in January, and though it started in March, it has the potential to continue for many, many more months. Tom “durrrr” Dwan put the idea out into the poker media in January that he wanted to compete in a multi-table 50,000-hand online poker challenge for high stakes, and though Phil Ivey, Patrik Antonius, and David Benyamine accepted the challenge, it was Antonius who would be the first competitor. With five matches in the books, that makes the challenge only 10 percent complete.
The details of the high-stakes challenge consisted of some general guidelines. Four tables must be played consecutively, the stakes must be $200/$400 or higher, and the duo must play 50,000 hands. When it is all said and done, if Antonius is up as little as $1 after the rake, Dwan will pay him $1.5 million. On the other hand, if Dwan is up, Antonius will only owe him $500K. Full Tilt Poker offered its site as the home for the matches, even dedicating several tables to the challenge, and the games were set to go.
With both parties in agreement over the terms, the first match got underway on February 18, and after a total of 1,541 hands were played, Dwan was up nearly $135,000. However, that was only one of many sessions to come.
In the three week since, there have been four more sessions. The second match came not long after the first and was nearly twice as long. After nearly 3,000 hands, it was Antonius in the lead by $227,000, which put him barely in the lead for the entire challenge at that point.
The third and fourth sessions saw Dwan make a comeback, which was mainly attributed to two sizable pots. One was on a PLO table that ultimately saw a flop of before Antonius was all-in. Dwan called with , and Antonius showed for the set of fours. The came on the turn, however, to give Dwan the flush, and the on the river gave Dwan the $166,580.50 pot.
The next big pot came on another table but still in PLO. The two went to see a flop, and quite a bit of betting led to the on the turn. An Antonius bet and Dwan call brought the on the river, at which point Antonius moved all-in with , but Dwan called with for the straight and the win.
When those two sessions were said and done, Dwan was ahead by approximately $150K. And it was nearly one week later that the fifth session got underway, though it only lasted a bit more than a half hour. The 200 hands ended with Antonius up nearly $10K for the session, but Dwan still maintains a reasonable lead of $140,380 over Antonius for the challenge overall.
Only about 10 percent of the hands in the challenge have been played, and many are beginning to speculate that Dwan and Antonius will choose to renegotiate the total number of hands that will be played in the challenge. Some of the excitement seems to have waned as the weeks have passed, but that is not to say the two couldn’t be reenergized for the match-ups in the weeks and months to come.
The action can be found, when the players are ready on any given day, on Full Tilt Poker in the Omaha Hi game lobby, where special tables have been set aside for Dwan and Antonius at any time they are ready to resume the challenge.