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Chance Kornuth Reveals Start Date For His Upcoming PLO Match Against Phil Galfond

Two-Time Bracelet Winner Discusses The Match, His Delayed WPT Final Table, Online Bracelets, And More


Chance Kornuth has been staying quite busy in 2020. The two-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner has accumulated more than $7.8 million in lifetime live tournament earnings, and though the lockdown caused by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak has put the live circuit on pause, Kornuth has more than enough to keep him occupied.

For starters, Kornuth is the chip leader at the now extra-delayed final table of the 2020 World Poker Tour Gardens Poker Championship $10,000 buy-in no-limit hold’em main event. He has also been playing a lot of online poker during the past few months, with a highlight being a deep run in a WSOP Circuit Online gold ring event. The online play has helped keep Kornuth sharp while he awaits both the WPT final table and his upcoming heads-up pot-limit Omaha match against Phil Galfond as part of the popular ‘Galfond Challenge’ series of showdowns.

As if all of that wasn’t enough, Kornuth has also been working diligently on a new project at Chip Leader Coaching, the training site he founded. Card Player recently caught up with Kornuth to talk to him about all of the many things on his plate recently.

An Extra-Delayed Final Table

The WPT Gardens Poker Championship main event played down to a final table of six back on Jan. 13 of this year. The event was meant to resume on March 31 and play down to a champion after a break of roughly 11 weeks, but just a couple weeks before play was to resume, the WPT announced that all three of its delayed final tables had been postponed until further notice.

Chance Kornuth in the 2020 WPT Garden Poker ChampionshipIt has now been over five and a half months since the final table was set, and it remains unclear when it will actually be played out.

The planned venue for the final table, the HyperX Esports Arena Las Vegas located at Luxor Hotel & Casino, reopened in late June, but the WPT has yet to announce their plans for a restart.

“It’s definitely super unfortunate,” said Kornuth when asked about the situation. “I’ve been waiting to play that for a long time and I’m really looking forward to it. The fact that it stopped due to the virus and everything going on is super unfortunate, but also understandable.”

When the cards do eventually get in the air, Kornuth will be sitting with 120 big blinds as the chip leader. He will be playing for his first WPT title and a potential top prize of $554,495, with a guaranteed payday of $111,795 locked up for making the final six.

He has had plenty of time to prepare by playing online and working on his game, but as the most accomplished player remaining in the field, Kornuth believes that this extended delay has actually been more beneficial for his five opponents.

“It’s unfortunate because some of the other players at the final table have the ability to improve more than I can,” said Kornuth. “They can kind of close the gap if you will.”

Kornuth has avoided putting too much pressure on himself to convert his chip lead and experience advantage into a title in this event.

“For me, everything is kind of a numbers game. I kind of look at it as, ‘I think I will win this event X percentage of the time.’ I don’t really think of it as a pressure thing,” he said. “Winning a reasonable percentage of the time is nice, but you never know if it’s going to happen or not, so I try not to really think about that type of stuff.”

A Date With Phil Galfond

In addition to his WPT final table, Kornuth also has another big match to play this year with hundreds of thousands of dollars on the line. He is one of seven challengers to publicly agree to play in the ‘Galfond Challenge’, a series of high-stakes heads-up showdowns against three-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Galfond.

Phil GalfondGalfond has already completed two of the seven matches. In the first showdown, he quickly dug himself a €900,000 hole, only to eventually secure an extremely narrow victory against ‘VeniVidi1993’ during the final session of the match.

His second showdown was ultimately far less dramatic, as Galfond built a solid lead early on and more or less never looked back against Ioannis ‘ActionFreak’ Kontonatsios. He ended up with €114,765.66 in profit after 15,011 hands played to secure his second straight victory.

Galfond has already started to play some sessions against a third challenger in Bill Perkins, but there has been little information in recent weeks about when the next challenge might get underway. Kornuth revealed to Card Player that he and Galfond have come to an agreement about when their match is set to get underway.

“Yeah, we actually finalized recently and have a penalty in place if one of us is unable to start on the date we’ve now agreed upon, which is Sept. 16,” said Kornuth.

Kornuth is set to play 35,000 hands of heads-up pot-limit Omaha against Galfond, with blinds of €100-€200. Galfond is laying a €1 million sidebet against Kornuth’s €250,000 on the final results of the match.

Of course, it’s helpful that Kornuth has been able to sweat Galfond’s play of tens of thousands of hands of pot-limit Omaha against his first two opponents.

“It is nice to have information about his game and really seeing how he’s been playing, which will help me with my decisions,” said Kornuth.

Only time will tell if Kornuth will be able to become the first player to emerge victorious in a Galfond Challenge match.

A Return To The Online Realm

In June Kornuth made back-to-back deep runs in World Series of Poker Circuit Online gold ring events, finishing 13th in a $215 buy-in and then second in a $320 buy-in the following day for $28,091.

Kornuth after winning his second WSOP braceletWhen asked how it has felt to get back to playing some online poker, Kornuth said, “It’s been nice. It has kind of reminded me of the pre-Black Friday days when you can just grind online and there’s a ton of stuff to play. I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s a nice change of pace.”

One of Kornuth’s two WSOP bracelets was won in a $3,200 buy-in online no-limit hold’em bracelet event in 2018. He topped a field of 356 total entries in that tournament to win $341,598 and his second piece of WSOP hardware. The 2020 WSOP Online features an unprecedented amount of bracelets that will be awarded over the internet, with 85 up for grabs this summer. There has been public debate on social media about how this huge increase in online bracelets being offered will impact the perceived prestige of the WSOP bracelet.

“To be honest, I’m not a huge fan,” leveled Kornuth when asked about where he falls on this debate. “It’s a cool tournament series, and obviously I’m excited to play it for that reason, but I think that winning a very small online tournament doesn’t really equate to a WSOP live event. But that’s the trend that we’ve seen over time, is just considerably more chances to win a bracelet. It’s just been exponential now because of this instead of just a slow process.”

Putting In Work

Kornuth playing at the 2019 WSOPIn addition to everything going on for Kornuth as a professional poker player, he is also keeping busy in his role as the founder and lead coach at Chip Leader Coaching. Kornuth mentioned that he has recently been focused on a project with high roller star Alex Foxen, who has cashed for more than $16.8 million in live events.

“It’s a big project we decided to Chip Leader Coaching AI,” said Kornuth. “We partnered with Socrates, which is an artificial intelligence platform, and it allows us to create an engine that guides you through questions depending on what you get right and wrong.”

“One of the biggest problems with the learning market today is you just sift through this sea of knowledge and you really don’t have the ability to figure out what you really need to learn,” continued Kornuth. “The engine actually chooses that for you, which is very unique today, and we’re excited to be able to produce this platform that we think will be a revolutionary way to learn the game of poker.”

With teaching poker, playing the game, and preparing for his big showdowns in the coming months, Kornuth has had plenty on his plate. Stay tuned to Card Player to find out how he fares at his WPT final table, in his PLO match with Galfond, and in the currently running WSOP Online series.