Galfond Challenge headed in wrong direction for Chance Kornuth

Galfond Challenge Chance Kornuth
Jon Sofen
Posted on: December 21, 2020 05:00 PST

Chance Kornuth is on a bad run in the Galfond Challenge against Phil Galfond, and he is approaching desperation time. But he remains a week-long heater away from getting back into the match.

On Friday, the most recent session, Galfond won $73,000 and increased his overall lead to $353,000. He now has a profit margin of more than 17 buy-ins, and the players have completed around 21,500 out of 35,000 hands.

The current result isn't far off the projections of the match before it began a few months ago. Galfond was heavily favored and even laid 4-1 odds on a $250,000 side bet ($1 million). So, he wasn't expected to compete in a pot-limit Omaha challenge against arguably the greatest PLO player in history.

But that was before the match. Kornuth more than competed for over two months against Galfond. He led just a month ago by $340,000 and appeared destined to pull off one of the biggest upsets in the country.

Since then, he's lost his shoe, to say the least. Galfond didn't just erase the large deficit. He has now blown right by Kornuth and is back on pace to win by a wide margin, just as nearly everyone projected prior to the start of the third Galfond Challenge.

Comebacks aren't something new to Phil Galfond. In the first Galfond Challenge at the beginning of the year, he trailed by more than $900,000 at one point. On the final day of the 15,000-hand battle, however, he squeaked out a close victory and won the $150,000 side bet.

This challenge is lengthier — they're playing 35,000 hands — and the side bet is bigger ($250,000 to $1 million). For the most part, it's been competitive, more competitive than many anticipated.

But the match has now reached a point where Kornuth had better step up his game or it's all over. They've now completed 21,500 hands and have 13,500 remaining.

Galfond Challenge isn't over, but it's getting close

On a positive note, erasing a $353,000 deficit in heads-up PLO at $100/$200 stakes is doable, even against a crusher like Galfond. The only problem for Kornuth is if the heater doesn't come soon, it may be too late. While 13,500 hands is enough to rally from a 17.5 buy-in deficit, if he dumps some more chips over the next week, he may be in a position where a rally isn't possible.

On Friday, Galfond won another $73,000 and has turned nearly a $700,000 profit over the past month. During the Friday session, the Run it Once poker site owner, who is playing the challenge on, controlled the match for over five hours. The big hands simply didn't come for Kornuth, who is getting close to desperation mode.

With that said, this version of the Galfond Challenge has already taken many twists and turns. Galfond bounced out to an early lead of over $180,000 through the first nine sessions. Kornuth then came right back and dominated for two months. And now it's gone back the other way. Perhaps, the next plot twist will favor the Chip Leader Coaching founder.

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