Facing improbable odds, Chance Kornuth concedes Galfond Challenge

Jon Sofen
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Posted on 01/25/2021

Chance Kornuth fell deeper in a hole against Phil Galfond, which led him to determine it was best to concede the Galfond Challenge. The writing had been on the wall for days as he entered Saturday’s contest down $680,000.

On the 50th day of the high-stakes pot-limit Omaha competition on WSOP.com, Galfond won two more buy-ins ($40,000) early in the session. At that point, Kornuth decided to contact his opponent to say it was time for him to give up.

Despite exiting the challenge before the 35,000-hand mark, he earned the respect of his opponent and the Run it Once poker commentators, along with many poker fans.

The final outcome — Galfond up $726,500 over 25,400 hands — doesn’t tell the full story about how competitive this match really was. Sure, like in sports, all that truly matters is the scoreboard. At the end of the day, Galfond won enough to buy a mansion when you factor in the additional $250,000 side bet he’s owed. And that’s most important. But he had to earn that money.

Chance, who was given very little chance at winning the third Galfond Challenge, wasn’t just competitive. He led this match by over $300,000 for quite some time. In fact, there was a point in this four month long battle that many wondered if we were about to see an epic upset.

But Galfond had already proven he could rally from a large deficit. In his first Galfond Challenge in 2020 against online pro “VeniVidi1993,” he battled back from nearly a $1 million deficit. So, who was to say he couldn’t do it again?

Well, he did do it again. But this time, unlike his small overall win against “VeniVidi1993,” he won big. Kornuth, an extremely talented poker pro, was simply in over his head against the PLO G.O.A.T.

Poker pros discuss Galfond Challenge

Galfond and Kornuth, both poker coaches, were cordial throughout the lengthy challenge. They clearly have great respect for each other, and reiterated that point following the final match.

Both players joined the Run it Once YouTube and Twitch commentators on Saturday to discuss their thoughts on the challenge. Kornuth explained that he sold a $1 million package to investors for this challenge and didn’t feel right about continuing it any further given how far in the hole he was.

When Kornuth accepted the challenge, early in 2020, his life was much different. His wife wasn’t pregnant at the time and he had more free time on his hands. Before the challenge began, however, Kornuth’s wife became pregnant and the baby arrived in the middle of the challenge. But he still continued to battle against one of the top PLO players ever.

Galfond’s wife, Farah Galfond, a former soap opera star and also a poker player, complimented Kornuth in the post-game interview for managing the challenge with fatherhood.

“I said to Phil a couple times, looking back on when our baby was a newborn, we couldn’t even fathom being in a challenge during that time in our lives. So, much respect to you in that regard,” Farah Galfond said.

Phil Galfond admitted that Kornuth was the toughest of his three opponents. He said it was difficult to concoct a strategy to beat such a difficult opponent. Kornuth said in the wrap-up interview that he felt a sense of relief that the challenge was finished.

Galfond has two pending matches against Bill Perkins, which briefly began last summer, and Dan “Jungleman” Cates. He isn’t sure when those matches will begin due to COVID-19 travel restrictions and conflicting schedules between the two opponents.

Featured image source: Twitter