Phil Galfond Takes an Early Lead in Latest High-Stakes Challenge

September 28th, 2020 | by Greg Shaun

Phil Galfond has embarked on his latest online challenge, this time it’s a 35,000-hand showdown against long-time pro, Chance Kornuth.

Galfond Challenge

Phil Galfond has taken control in the early stages of his high-stakes heads-up match against Chance Kornuth. (Image: Run It Once)

As with his previous challenges against, Galfond has money riding on the heads-up match. In addition to what’s won or lost at the felt, he stands to scoop $250,000 if he beats Kornuth but lose $1 million if he falters.

After the opening few sessions, the former is more likely as Galfond opened up an almost $80,000 lead over his opponent. However, as we’ve seen in previous challenges, getting ahead early doesn’t guarantee victory.

Beware Early Success

In his back-and-forth match with VeniVidi1993, Galfond was trailing by almost $1 million at one point. However, after a self-imposed break and time to reflect, he returned and not only overturned the deficit but finished in profit by more than $1.6 million.

So far, Galfond and Kornuth have played four sessions in their $100/$200 Pot Limit Omaha (PLO) heads-up challenge. The latter raced to a $33,500 lead after the first session.

As he often does, Galfond took the loss in his stride (see tweet below) and was instantly rewarded with a healthy dose of luck on Day 2. By Day 3 he was in control and pushed his lead to just under $100,000.

September 27 saw Day 4 take place and Kornuth claw some money back. When the betting was over, a $20,000 loss for Galfond left him with a lead of $78,500.

Phil Galfond Proving that He’s World-Class

If the current dynamics remain in place, Galfond will emerge victorious just as he did against VeniVidi1993 and ActionFreak. However, with only 2,500 of 35,000 hands played, there’s a long way to go.

Indeed, with the action being streamed on Twitch, Kornuth will have the chance to replay each session. If he can use these insights in conjunction with the hand history function on host site Run It Once, he may be able to exploit some weaknesses in his opponent.

Of course, the same applies to Galfond. As he’s proven for more than a decade, Galfond is one of poker’s top pros. As calculated in his opinions on the game as he is at the table, the American is a tough player to beat under any conditions.

For fans, that’s a positive. Kornuth has admitted the Galfond Challenge is his biggest test to-date.

Galfond, on the other hand, is riding a two-match winning streak. This, coupled with side bets totaling $1.25 million, means those on the rail are in for a treat over the coming weeks.


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