Chance Kornuth on the upswing, cuts big chunk into Galfond Challenge deficit

Galfond Challenge chance kornuth
Jon Sofen
Posted on: October 19, 2020 08:27 PDT

If you counted Chance Kornuth out when he was down $280,000 in the Galfond Challenge, you should reconsider. The Chip Leader Coaching founder is on a heater and is back in the ballgame in the early stages.

Phil Galfond offered Kornuth quite a juicy offer. If Kornuth wins the match, he'll win an extra $1 million side bet, but only has to pay out $250,000 if he loses. But he's facing a difficult task as his opponent is one of the best — if not the best — pot-limit Omaha players in history.

The poker pros are competing in a 35,000 online poker challenge on at $100/$200 PLO cash game stakes. For Galfond, this is his third such competition. He won the first two battles against online poker pros "VeniVidi1993" and "ActionFreak."

It appeared he was heading towards a blowout victory against Kornuth, up $280,000 after nine sessions. But Galfond's opponent has since bounced back nicely over the past two sessions. And the deficit is down to around $120,000, which may seem like a massive lead for Galfond but it really isn't. That's just six buy-ins ($20,000 each), and could easily be made up in one session.

Kornuth runs hot two days in a row

Heading into Day 10, Kornuth was in a deep hole ($280,000). He desperately needed to turn the tide and get back in the match before it spiraled out of control. Fortunately for the three-time WSOP bracelet winner, he booked a pair of consecutive winning sessions.

On Day 10, the skilled poker pros played a total of 540 hands over more than five hours on Kornuth busted out to a quick $50,000 lead in the session, but then lost to a cooler (set of 9's beat by set of aces) in a $52,000 pot.

Galfond then won another massive $60,000 pot thanks to a fortunate flop. Both players picked up pocket aces as part of their four hole cards. The flop ran out 10-5-5 and Galfond had a 5 to go with his aces, while Kornuth had a flush draw that he didn't hit.

But Kornuth battled back and began taking over the session late. He picked off a massive bluff in one hand to win a big pot, and hit a number of monster hands. In the end, he booked a $79,000 win and was back to within $200,000 overall.

Things got even better for the Chip Leader Coaching founder on Day 11, although the session was quite similar to Day 10. Once again, Kornuth jumped out to an early lead and then Galfond came right back to take the lead.

And, again like Day 10, Kornuth then took over the match, partially due to some lucky hands. In one crucial $40,000 pot, the poker pros were all-in on the turn with Kornuth holding the nut straight and a jack-high flush draw up against Galfond's set of 3's and a queen-high flush draw. The river was a blank and no help to Galfond, who ended up losing $84,000 over 540 hands for the day.

Galfond and Kornuth will be back at it this week as Kornuth attempts to shave off the remaining $120,000 deficit. They still have over 28,000 hands left to play before the Galfond Challenge concludes.

Featured image source: Twitch