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Phil Galfond Holds Narrow Lead In High-Stakes Poker Showdown With Chance Kornuth

Players Have Completed 4,850 Hands Of 35,000 Scheduled Hands Of €100-€200 PLO


Three-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner and high-stakes cash game legend Phil Galfond issued a challenge to the poker world in late 2019, offering to set up a series of organized heads-up matches, each with a substantial side bet on the outcome.

Galfond locked in the terms for a total of at least six, possibly seven matches. So far he has come out on top against his first two opponents, mounting a €900,000 comeback to beat ‘VeniVidi1993’ at the buzzer and then leading wire-to-wire against Ioannis ‘ActionFreak’ Kontonatsios.’.

Now Galfond is 4,850 hands into another match, this time facing off against two-time WSOP bracelet winner Chance Kornuth.

The two pros are set to play a total of 35,000 hands of €100-€200 heads-up pot-limit Omaha, with action taking place at two tables playing simultaneously until the agreed-upon amount of hands have been completed. The side bet for this particular match is the largest of any of the six matches with finalized terms, with Galfond putting up €1 million to Kornuth’s €250,000 on which of them will be ahead when the dust settles.

The match officially began on Sept. 23, 2020, with Kornuth winning €33,500 over the course of 750 hands. The following day the two played another 850 hands, with Galfond booking a €45,000 win for the session to take the outright lead. Galfond added another €67,000 in profit during the next session to extend his lead to around four buy-ins. The following day Kornuth ended up €20,000 to end the first group of four consecutive daily sessions stuck €58,500.

Galfond banked another €43,500 in winnings the next session to grow his lead to €102,000 heading into the sixth day of action, but Kornuth bounced back with the largest profit earned by either player so far, taking back €70,000 by the end of the day.

The key hand came about half an hour into the day when Kornuth dragged a pot worth over €43,000 by making a hero call with just third pair facing a river shove from Galfond. Galfond picked up 10Diamond Suit9Spade Suit5Heart Suit3Diamond Suit on the button and raised to €600. Kornuth three-bet to €1,800 from the big blind with 10Heart Suit9Heart Suit7Club Suit6Spade Suit and Galfond called.

The flop came down 8Diamond Suit7Diamond Suit3Heart Suit and Kornuth checked his second pair and wrap straight draw. Galfond bet €1,800 into the pot of €3,598 with his flush draw, straight draw and bottom pair. Kornuth made the call and the turn brought the 2Spade Suit. Kornuth check-called again, this time to the tune of €7,200.

The QClub Suit on the river saw both players miss their draws. Kornuth checked to Galfond, who moved all-in for €10,882 into the pot of €21,598. Kornuth went into the tank for nearly a minute before he ultimately made the call with third pair to win the sizable pot. You can check out the hand, broadcasted by Henry Kilbane and Card Player columnist Nathan Gamble, in a Twitch clip below.

When all was said and done, Kornuth had cut Galfond’s lead down to €32,000 after 4,850 hands played. The two still have a long way to go, with 30,150 hands left before their match is officially concluded.

In addition to his match with Kornuth, Galfond is also technically in the middle of playing entrepreneur Bill Perkins. They had played two sessions of $100-$200 pot-limit Omaha back in April, with Galfond taking a $90,144.05 lead, but have not played an official session since.

Below is a look at all seven challenges and the details regarding stakes and side bets:

Opponent Stakes Game Sidebet Hands Result
Bill Perkins & Thirst Lounge Streamers €100-€200 PLO $800K:$200K 50,000 TBD
Brandon Adams €100-€200 PLO €150K:€100K 40 Hours Of live Poker TBD
Chance Kornuth €100-€200 PLO €1M:€250K 35,000 TBD
Dan Cates €100-€200 PLO TBD 7,500 TBD
ActionFreak €150-€300 PLO €150K:€150K 15,000 Galfond Victory (€114,765.66 profit)
VeniVidi1993 €100-€200 PLO €200K:€100K 25,000 Galfond Victory (€1,472.08 profit)
Luke Schwartz €1,000-€2,000 8-Game TBD TBD TBD

To watch coverage of this Galfond Challenge match when it is live, head over to Henry Kilbane’s Twitch channel. Kilbane and Card Player Columnist and two-time WSOP bracelet winner Nathan Gamble are commentating the action throughout the showdown. The schedule is somewhat fluid, so make sure to follow Kilbane and Gamble on social media in order to keep up to date about when to expect coverage of this high-stakes PLO clash.