The Phil Galfond Challenge match against Chance Kornuth has now been going for nine sessions. And things are not looking good for Kornuth at this still-early stage.
The poker pro and coach is down $280,000 to Galfond so far. That is fourteen buy-ins at their current stakes. That 1,400 BB downswing happened over 6,600 hands. The long run is a long way off, with another 28,400 hands still to play. Kornuth still has everything to play for.
RunItOne tweeted at the close of play, “An early session tonight, as @PhilGalfond soared to a six-figure lead.” The early session was the result of some more bad luck for Kornuth.
An early session tonight, as @PhilGalfond soared to a six-figure lead. Unfortunately, @ChancesCards is waiting on a deposit limit increase. We are hopeful things will be sorted by Tuesday, and we'll keep everyone updated with the schedule moving forward. GG! pic.twitter.com/du9upEkGZi
— Run It Once Poker (@RunItOncePoker) October 3, 2020
The rules are simple. The game is heads-up pot-limit Omaha. The stakes are $100/$200. The players play two tables at a time, and will play until they’ve played 35,000 hands. Once the 35k hands are done, whichever player is in profit will win the side pot. The side pot contains $1 million put in by Galfond and $250k put in by Kornuth.
Galfond and Kornuth played the first nine sessions on WSOP.com. But that might change after the last session. Play was called short after just 250 hands when Kornuth busted and couldn’t reload, thanks to the deposit limits on WSOP.com. The pro therefore had to stop playing while still stuck over $100k for the session.
Kornuth railed against this misfortune in a frustrated tweet saying, “Hey @WSOPcom and @888poker, @PhilGalfond busted my account today and we now have to put the challenge on hold due to deposit limits… Can you plz fix this ASAP!!!!”
Hey @WSOPcom and @888poker, @PhilGalfond busted my account today and we now have to put the challenge on hold due to deposit limits… Can you plz fix this ASAP!!!! #forthefans
— Chance Kornuth (@ChancesCards) October 3, 2020
Kornuth has had a rough run in general in this event.
After taking an initial lead in the first session, he gave it up in the second. And he never got it back. Though he’s had a few profitable sessions, his losing sessions have been bigger, with tweets like this being the norm: “Lost ~118k today, down 150k overall… but got to play 6 holes of golf after[…]”
PLO is an infamously swingy game, even when played full ring. Hands are often only small favorites, and player’s outs proliferate. Four cards make for possible draws, redraws, and backdoor draws. So Kornuth’s steep red line can’t be taken as predictive, and a small hot streak could turn it around.
But even so, it must be disheartening for him. Especially when he is up against a player as sharp and adaptive as Galfond. Instead of burying Phil in a deep hole, Kornuth finds himself digging his way out of one.
Bums on seats for heads-up
The streams of these matches have proven popular. Heads up poker has a romantic purity to it. Player versus player face off like 18th Century duelists, with their wits and chance as gunpowder and ball.
For fans of the format, 2020 is proving to be glutted to the gills with high-quality content. Antonio Esfandiari and Phil Hellmuth’s PokerGo showdown, the WSOP and WPT HU events, Doug Polk’s training matches, and the eventual grudge match with DNegs. From RunItOnce alone we got both the Heads Up Legend’s showdown and the Galfond Challenge.
Certainly, the Twitch streams of these events (or PokerGo broadcasts as appropriate) have consistently attracted a few thousand viewers per stream. So, the Phil Galfond challenge has become one of the big online events of the poker calendar in a year when the whole calendar seems to have moved online.
We will continue to cover these events as they unfold.
Featured image source: Twitter