The Galfond Challenge is almost back, but with a new competitor to face Phil Galfond — poker coach Chance Kornuth. The online poker competition, scheduled to begin September 23 on Run it Once, includes 35,000 hands of pot-limit Omaha played at €100/€200 stakes.
Kornuth, the founder of Chip Leader Coaching, isn’t getting much respect from the poker community. Although he’s known as one of the top no-limit hold’em players in the U.S., he’s facing arguably the best PLO pro of all-time. Galfond, formerly known under his famous “OMGClayAiken” screen name during the Full Tilt Poker days, has already won his first two battles in the Galfond Challenge. And few anticipate a different outcome this time around.
PokerShares, a poker betting platform, has already released the odds for the third Galfond Challenge. Kornuth (+600) is a 6-1 underdog.
The 35,000-hand competition will be played on Galfond’s poker site, Run it Once. Galfond is laying some juicy odds on a side bet. Should Kornuth win, the poker site owner will owe him an additional $1 million, whereas he’d owe Galfond $200,000 if he loses.
Although those odds are quite intriguing, Kornuth has his work cut out for him and could lose millions of dollars. Not only would he owe Galfond the $200,000 side bet in the event he loses the challenge. But he would also be out all the money lost during the 35,000 hands of cash game play. At the €100/€200 stakes, over that many hands, losing upwards of $1 million isn’t out of the question. That’s only 50 buy-ins ($20,000). Or, he could win the challenge and profit millions of dollars instead.
Why the odds are in Galfond’s favor
Phil Galfond has been crushing the highest stakes online PLO games for a dozen years. He won millions of dollars back in the day on Full Tilt Poker, pre-Black Friday. And he’s already faced, and conquered, two difficult opponents in the Galfond Challenge.
The first Galfond Challenge match took place early in the year against online poker superstar “VeniVidi1993,” a Swedish pro. Galfond appeared headed to a massive defeat as he trailed by over €900,000 in February. At one point, he considered throwing in the towel and paying off the €200,000 side bet.
But he didn’t want to disappoint his fans and realized had he quit, it would have been a bad look for the poker site he’s trying to grow. So, he stayed the course and battled back. On the final day of the 20,000-hand match, he miraculously pulled it off to win by a slim margin.
In the next challenge, against “ActionFreak,” he didn’t need to scramble to pull it out late. This time around, he opened up a big lead early on and coasted to victory. Galfond won the challenge by approximately €114,000, and then another €150,000 side bet.
The competition against “ActionFreak” concluded in late May. Galfond returned home to Las Vegas afterwards, where he’s stayed since. Run it Once and partypoker — the other poker site partially used during the Galfond Challenge — are both unavailable in the U.S. So, Galfond has been forced to take a break from the online poker challenges. That will change later this month when he returns to Canada to face Kornuth.
Galfond also has a pending challenge against hedge fund manager Bill Perkins, and then later will also face Dan “Jungleman” Cates.