About a year and a half ago, Tom “durrrr” Dwan offered a challenge to the poker world: play him heads-up in a minimum of four-tables at a time for a total of 50,000 hands. If anyone can book a win over the course of that session, he’d give them $1.5 million in addition to their winnings. However, if it is Dwan who is ahead after the 50,000th hand, his opponent must ship him an additional $500,000.
This offer drew immediate interest from Patrik Antonius who began playing Dwan in February 2009. According to durrrchallenge.com, their match still has 10,564 hands remaining as Dwan holds a little more than a $2 million lead. Since his match with Antonius has progressed at a sluggish pace, Dwan has agreed to start playing against his second challenger, Daniel “jungleman12″ Cates.
Cates and Dwan got started last night and managed to complete 5,829 hands of play. At the end of the session, Cates holds a substantial lead of $518,191. To the delight of railbirds, the two played four tables of $200/$400 no-limit hold’em for nearly 12 hours before Dwan called it quits. It took Antonius and Dwan over a month to complete their first 5,000 hands, so poker fans are delighted to see this match off to a quicker pace.
Cates’ lead this early in the challenge is very substantial for a couple of reasons:
- The two agreed to use the “run it twice” feature for any all-ins meaning that there will be quite a bit less variance over the course of their session.
- They are playing no-limit hold’em which tends to have less variance than pot-limit Omaha (which is what Antonius and Dwan have played for their challenge).
There’s still a long way to go, though. Cates, a 20 year old student at the University of Maryland, better hope his early huge lead is enough to hold off one of the best players in the world for another 45,000 hands.