Phil Galfond back in the ballgame against Chance Kornuth after trailing by over $340k

Phil Galfond Challenge Kornuth
Jon Sofen
Posted on: November 19, 2020 14:05 PST

The Doug Polk versus Daniel Negreanu battle isn't the only exciting heads-up poker match going on right now. Chance Kornuth and Phil Galfond are currently locked into an intense high-stakes pot-limit Omaha competition, and the match has taken a massive swing in the opposite direction.

The third installment of the Galfond Challenge is heating up after it appeared Kornuth was headed to victory. In recent days, Galfond has completely dominated the match and has erased nearly all of the previous $340,000 deficit. And he did so in a matter of three days.

Galfond entered the match as a heavy 4-1 favorite and few gave his opponent much of a "Chance" to win. Through the first nine sessions, it all went as expected. The Run it Once poker site owner busted out to a huge lead, running up a $280,000 profit, which equates to 14 buy-ins ($20,000 each) at $100/$200 stakes on

At that point, some poker players even wondered if Kornuth should bother continuing or just pay off the $250,000 side bet and call it quits. By continuing on, many argued, he was just setting himself up to lose more money and then inevitably pay off the $250,000 side bet at the end when he lost.

But poker is a funny game sometimes, as it has shown throughout the Galfond Challenge. Kornuth went on a heater that lasted more than three weeks. On November 14, less than a week ago, he held a $344,000 lead and had been consistently dominating the match. The Chip Leader Coaching founder reversed his $280,000 deficit by $524,000 in a relatively short period of time. However, they're playing 35,000 hands and still haven't even reached the halfway point.

Galfond reverses course

Galfond entered the challenge as a heavy favorite and he's now returned to that role. What a difference a few days makes. After Wednesday's session — 300 hands — he now trails by just $31,500. That means he chipped off $312,500 over the course of three sessions.

On Sunday, Galfond got the rally started with a resounding $123,000 win, his second largest of the challenge. Then, on Tuesday, he turned a $47,000 profit. But it could have been much better for him if not for losing one of the sickest hands you'll ever see.

In the $43,000 pot, Galfond rivered quad fours but lost to Kornuth's straight flush. Even in PLO, a game in which players are dealt four hole cards, hands like that don't happen often. But the Run it Once founder still bounced back from the cooler and ended up turning out a winning session.

Things got even better for Galfond on Wednesday, who ran red hot and crushed his opponent during the final hour of the session. They played around 300 hands on the day, less than normal, and Galfond left with a $143,000 profit and now trails by just $31,500. That might seem like a huge deficit to the average low-stakes grinder, but it's not. The online poker star could erase that deficit in just a couple of hands with a bit of luck.

The third Galfond Challenge is still up for grabs and won't conclude for at least another month or two. Galfond and Kornuth have played 14,350 hands and still have 20,650 left to go.

Featured image source: Twitter