Huge winning session propels Chance Kornuth into Galfond Challenge lead

Jon Sofen
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Posted on: October 21, 2020 9:31 pm EDT

Chance Kornuth has erased a massive deficit in the Galfond Challenge, and now has a small lead, thanks to a massive win on Tuesday. Pot-limit Omaha is a swingy game, folks. So saddle up and enjoy. We’re just getting started.

The Chip Leader Coaching founder is a heavy underdog in a PLO battle against Galfond, arguably the top online PLO player ever. But he’s already proven he can compete at a high level in a tough game against a difficult opponent. And if Galfond thought he’d cruise to victory before Tuesday’s session, he now has a wake-up call and had better expect a fight.

Through nine sessions — around 5,500 hands — Galfond led by $280,000 and appeared destined to crush his opponent. But it’s been all Kornuth since. The three-time WSOP bracelet winner has booked three straight winning sessions, all for sizable amounts.

His most recent session — Tuesday — was his largest win. Kornuth ended the day with a $150,000 profit, and now holds a $30,000 lead, which really isn’t that much when you consider it’s only the equivalent of one-and-a-half buy-ins. But to Kornuth, it sure as heck beats trailing by 14 full buy-ins, which is where he was at not too long ago.

We’re just getting started

With that said, neither player should get too high or too low. The Galfond Challenge won’t conclude until 35,000 hands at $100/$200 stakes on WSOP.com have been completed. Thus far, they’ve only played about 20% of the total hands. Pot-limit Omaha is a swingy, high-variance game, so you can expect many more twists and turns before the competition is all said and done.

At the end of the high-stakes PLO challenge, the players have agreed to a side bet. Galfond would pay out an additional $1 million to Kornuth if he loses. But if the challenger loses, he’ll owe Galfond a $250,000 side bet.

Galfond has already played and won two Galfond Challenges prior to this one. He first beat “VeniVidi1993” after rallying from a $900,000 deficit, and then defeated another online poker pro, “ActionFreak,” in a more dominant fashion.

Kornuth is a different type of opponent for Galfond in that he’s more of a no-limit hold’em specialist, whereas the first two opponents specialized in PLO. But with 20% of the challenge complete, there’s no doubt Kornuth is also skilled at PLO.

The question now is, can he keep it up? During the recent sessions in which he’s dominated, the crucial all-ins in massive pots have gone his way. In a few hands, Galfond missed monster draws against Kornuth’s set. Had those hands gone a different way, the outcome of each session would have been different. But that’s the nature of pot-limit Omaha. One day, you’re hitting all your draws and scooping big pots. The next day, your big hands aren’t holding up and your opponent is smashing every draw.

Kornuth and Galfond are back at it on Wednesday for the 13th session of the Galfond Challenge. You can catch every hand live on Henry Kilbane’s Twitch channel.

Featured image source: Twitter