Tom “durrrr” Dwan is one of the most accomplished internet poker pros in the history of the game. At the tender age of 22, he’s as respected as any professional around. In order to get himself action because nobody would play him, Dwan issued a Million Dollar Challenge open to anyone except good friend Phil “OMGClayAiken” Galfond. The challenge requires opponents to play Dwan in 50,000 hands of $200/$400 or higher on four tables simultaneously. The challenge was issued on Full Tilt Poker, which set up special Durrrr Challenge tables, and taken up by noted pro Patrik Antonius.
There’s a kicker on top of the action that Dwan has laid out. At the conclusion of the 50,000 hands, a winner will be determined. If Dwan is ahead by $1 or more, his opponent must pay him $500,000. If Dwan’s opponent is ahead by $1 or more, he will pay the winner $1.5 million. Whoever wins the challenge also keeps what spoils they have earned.
At the beginning of the challenge, Dwan took a very small lead in the first session played. The $36,000 lead proved minuscule considering the stakes and the paltry 100 hands played. The second session saw a run of over 1,300 hands played in a five-hour period. Dwan dropped $230,000 over the first 3,000 hands, but many believed that, due to the players playing such high stakes and a high variance game, large leads would swing both players’ ways over 50,000 hands.
In March of 2009, the lead changed hands from session to session. In a particularly good session on the 21st, Antonius took in $161,000 to claim a $107,000 lead. In the first week of April, that lead evaporated and Durrrr held a slight edge after a few small sessions. In May, however, things turned very ugly for Dwan. On May 4th, a disastrous session stuck Dwan with a $328,000 loss and gave Antonius a healthy $488,000 lead in the challenge over 13,246 hands. Once the two players reached the 15,000 hand milestone, Antonius was all smiles with a $424,000 lead.
That lead, once again, wasn’t meant to last too long. On June 11th, Durrrr came roaring back with a series of hands that brought in huge pot after huge pot. When the dust settled after 786 hands, Dwan had won $376,000 to cut the lead to less than $50,000. One week later, a particularly swingy session saw Antonius jump out to a quarter-million dollar lead, only to have Dwan race ahead and end up in the black by $370,000. It just goes to show you the swings of heads-up Pot Limit Omaha at these stakes.
One of the stranger sessions came on June 19th, when Antonius won a $500,000 pot and ended up losing $400,000 overall. In the hand, both players’ effective stacks were over 500 big blinds. Once the cards were turned over, Dwan showed a boat, but Antonius showed a better full house with Q-9-Q-K.
In August, Antonius got hot once again and, on the 24th, picked up almost $400,000 after a lengthy hiatus from the Durrrr Challenge. The session ran 795 hands and, at the time, Antonius was actually down about $715,000 overall in the challenge thanks to a nice July run by Dwan. In sessions since leading up to the present, the challenge is virtually tied, with Antonius leading by just $34,000 with almost half of the hands already played.
It’s shaping up to come down right to the wire for either one of these great poker professionals. Players can rail the action at Full Tilt Poker through their Mac OS X compatible software.