Chance Kornuth appears on a collision course to upset over Phil Galfond

Phil Galfond challenge kornuth
Jon Sofen
Posted on: November 09, 2020 07:44 PST

Chance Kornuth entered the Galfond Challenge as a huge underdog (4-1). He's now the favorite and continues to lead by a wide margin despite Phil Galfond's recent mini-surge back to respectability.

Galfond actually busted out to a massive lead himself, around $280,000 nine sessions into the match. The crazy thing here is that at that point, many poker players on social media wondered if Kornuth should buy his way out to save himself from losing so much money.

Kornuth entered the contest a 4-1 underdog and dipped even further following the brutal start. But if he were to quit before the 35,000 agreed upon hands were played, he would owe Galfond $250,000, which he'll owe if he loses anyway. If he continues playing and rallies to win, he stands to gain $1 million on top of any money won during the challenge. So, the financial incentive was there to continue despite the longshot odds.

And it appears he made a wise decision continuing in the match. Since the ninth session, he's absolutely dominated the challenge. At one point, he had not only erased a $280,000 deficit, but was up more than $300,000. Now many poker players believe he's going to pull it out and win the $1 million side bet, and potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars on top.

It isn't over yet, folks

The third Galfond Challenge is moving along rather slowly. We're already more than a month along since it began and the poker pros have only played 10,750 hands, far fewer than Galfond played this deep into his first two matches against "VeniVidi1993" and "ActionFreak."

Both players have taken some extensive breaks along the way, but Kornuth insists they're going to commit to playing daily Monday-Friday this week. If so, they should complete around another 3,500 hands or more before the week ends.

Still, they'll be far from completing the high-stakes pot-limit Omaha challenge ($100/$200 blinds on They've agreed to play 35,000 hands, which means they're still far from reaching the midway point after a full month. Perhaps they'll pick up the pace throughout the rest of November, but don't hold your breath.

Kornuth, who owns the Chip Leader Coaching poker training academy, now holds a $276,500 advantage heading into Monday's session. That is the equivalent of 1,382 big blinds, meaning Galfond is in a deep hole. But he's been in this position before. Actually, he was in a much worse spot in his match against "VeniVidi1993" at the beginning of the year. The Run it Once poker site founder rallied from nearly a $1 million deficit to win by a slim margin.

He'll need to pull off another comeback to defeat Kornuth, a tough opponent who is proving more difficult than many expected. On a positive note for Galfond, he's won the past two sessions for a total of $46,000, although the most recent one was only good for a $1,000 profit, merely five big blinds.

Galfond's wife, Farah, a poker player and former soap opera star, doesn't seem too concerned that her husband's in a deep hole. She knows he battled his way through an even tougher spot to win the first Galfond Challenge.

Featured image source: Twitter