Chance Kornuth – player, coach, father, world-class smiler

Paul Oresteen
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Posted on: November 25, 2023 3:16 pm EST

“The Summer of Chance” was thrown around a lot in poker circles earlier this year when Chance Kornuth went on an absolute tear. In seven weeks he racked up $3.6 million while bouncing up and down the Strip making five final tables. Kornuth is soaring at the top of his game and he’s in the field for Day 1B of the World Poker Tour Seminole Rock ‘N’ Roll Poker Open.

“It was the best summer of my life. It was amazing, I had so much fun and played well,” said Kornuth. “The days were long and I got tired at the end. I actually left early – I just got tired and went home.”

Kornuth didn’t just run hot in the summer; he started off the year cashing for just under six-figures at the PCA. Then he recorded a cash every month until October. So, what happened?

Kornuth with his trademark smile at the table. Photo c/o WPT

World travelers

“I didn’t cash in October because I played zero hands of poker,” said Kornuth. He took his family on a six-week vacation that took them around the globe. They first went to China where they were able to introduce their daughter to her extended family.

“My daughter got to meet her grandmother and great-grandmother,” he said. “We had four generations of women in one picture and that was pretty awesome experience.”

“After that, we did three weeks in Tanzania. It was an epic trip we did with a large group of friends,” Kornuth added. “We witnessed the Great Migration and probably saw a quarter million animals. It was absolutely insane.”

Champion Chance Kornuth at WPT Choctaw. Photo c/o WPT

The Summer Year of Chance

Now back stateside, Kornuth can turn his attention back to poker. He won his first WPT title in May 2022 in Choctaw and likes his chances of etching his name on the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup again. “I’m optimistic and I’m probably going to win this WPT I’m playing right now,” he said smiling.

“However, from a numerical perspective, it’s easy to say a fourth bracelet is coming next because there’s so many opportunities,” he said. Kornuth plays nearly every opportunity he can, regardless of if it’s a $500 buy-in or $50,000.

“Every hand of poker I play is very situational against different player types,” he said. “So when you have that type of mindset and not just sticking to the GTO bullshit, it allows you to decode how you should play each hand regardless of the buy-in.”

Kornuth’s situational poker is the foundation of his company Chip Leader Coaching. He doesn’t view running CLC too much different than playing poker. “Building a company is one of my favorite things and it sets up my family for a better future.”

Circle in a square peg

Kornuth’s presence at the table is one more likely found at a friendly home game. He’s constantly smiling, chatting and involved with the people around him – a stark contrast to many of his peers in the high roller player pool.

“I think a lot of players are just doing their best to control their emotions, to play to the best of their ability,” he said. “But I’m here to have fun and to have fun when I’m at the table.”

“I think winning a poker tournament is one of the best feelings you can get,” Kornuth said. “I like to let that feeling come through when I do get fortunate to win one.”