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Phil Galfond Retakes The Lead Midway Through High Stakes Poker Challenge Against Chance Kornuth

Kornuth Was Ahead By $344,500 At One Point, But Galfond Is Now Up $32,000 After 17,100 Hands Played


Chance Kornuth took the lead in his high stakes showdown against Phil Galfond after around 6,400 hands played and maintained the advantage through the entire month of November. The two-time World Series of Poker bracelet winner extended his lead to as much as $344,500. In recent weeks, though, Galfond has mounted a comeback that eventually resulted in a lead change as the two approached the midway point of their 35,000-hand pot-limit Omaha heads-up cash game showdown.

Phil GalfondFor those who don’t know, three-time WSOP bracelet winner Phil Galfond issued a challenge to the poker world in late 2019 that was accepted by six opponents so far, with a likely seventh match also likely to take place. The ‘Galfond Challenge’, as it came to be known, pits Galfond against other nosebleed poker players with agreed-upon stakes, amounts of hands to be played, and massive side bets on the line. Two matches have already been completed so far this year, with Galfond coming out on top in both.

Galfond and Kornuth are playing two tables of $100-$200 pot-limit Omaha for 35,000 total hands, with Galfond putting up $1 million to Kornuth’s $250,000 that he will end up ahead in terms of profit after the final hand is dealt. The two began playing on Sept. 23, 2020, and have since battled it out in a total of 32 sessions, with 17,100 hands played so far. That means that the two are roughly a session or so away from the exact midpoint of the match, with just 17,900 hands left to go.

Kornuth reached his high-water mark of $344,500 in profit on Nov. 13. Galfond responded with three straight winning sessions totaling $313,000 in profits to bring him to just $31,500 away from even. Kornuth then booked three small wins in a row to maintain the lead before the two took a break during the final days of November.

Action resumed on Dec. 2, with Galfond booking a $28,000 win in the session to find himself down just $28,000 overall. On Thursday, Dec. 3 the two played their 32nd session, with Galfond booking a $96,000 win to take a $32,000 lead in the challenge. It was the first time he had held the advantage in the match in roughly seven and a half weeks.

One of the biggest hands of the day came as the two entered the final hour of the session. All of the money ultimately went in on the flop after Kornuth five-bet preflop and received a call, creating a pot of $54,586 (just shy of 273 big blinds). Check out a clip of the hand taken from Card Player Columnist and two-time WSOP bracelet winner Nathan Gamble’s Twitch coverage.

Kornuth got all-in with top set of kings, only to see Galfond river a gutshot straight to take down the massive pot and secure the lead in the challenge. Kornuth took to Twitter after the session to request a new computer monitor from his opponent.

In addition to his match with Kornuth, Galfond is also squaring off against entrepreneur and frequent high-stakes poker player Bill Perkins. Only two sessions of $100-$200 pot-limit Omaha have been played in this showdown though, with Galfond up $90,144.05 for the time being. The two have not played a session since April.

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 Card Player Columnist and two-time WSOP bracelet winner Nathan Gamble’s Twitch channel, which can be found at Gamble and Henry Kilbabe 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.