Kornuth Trails Galfond But Has The Momentum

Chance Kornuth is the latest player to take on the Galfond Challenge

It’s a little over five months since we asked who is crazy enough to challenge Phil Galfond. Chance Kornuth is the answer to that question.

Galfond called himself a “washed-up pro” before issuing an open challenge to the poker community. The owner of the Run It Once training site has locked horns with several stars in high stakes Pot-Limit Omaha cash games.

“Venividi1993” was the first Galfond challenger. Galfond found himself in a €900,000 hole at one stage but staged an epic comeback to win.

Daniel “Jungleman” Cates stepped up to the plate and Galfond beat him for €86,000. Galfond demolished Ioannis “ActionFreak” Kontonatsios for €114,000 plus €150,000 from their side bet.

Kornuth decided he was the man to end Galfond’s impressive run in PLO games. Kornuth agreed to 35,000 hands of $100/$200 PLO with a massive, action-inducing side bet. Galfond gave Kornuth four-to-one odds, putting up €1 million to his challenger’s €250,000. WSOP.com is hosting this latest battle.

The challenge got off to a flying start for Kornuth as he banked a $33,500 win on Day 1. Things turned sour with Galfond winning six out of the next eight sessions. Galfond not only won but one big. One session saw Kornuth lose $117,000 in 750 hands. Another saw Galfond scoop $103,000 in only 250 hands. The latter saw Galfond bust his opponent’s account, which brought an early finish to the ninth day’s action.

Kornuth Turns a Corner

Losing 14 buy-ins, or $280,000, in nine days was far from ideal, yet Kornuth hasn’t given up. Day 10 saw the challenger claw back $79,000 across 510 hands.

Day 11, the last day these Goliaths fought, went Kornuth’s way again. He won $84,000 from 540 hands. A big pot went Kornuth’s way when Galfond check-called a $900 bet on the 6s-3c-9h flop. Both players checked the 6c turn before Galfond led for $4,000 on the Td river. Kornuth raised to $12,000, Galfond called but mucked when he saw his opponent’s full house.

Another $40,000 pot slipped away from Galfond. All the chips went in on a Kd-7d-3h-5h board. Galfond held Qd-8d-3d-3s and Kornuth Jd-8c-6s-4d. Galfond missed his plethora of outs and the pot slid away from him.

Those two sessions cut Galfond’s lead to approximately $117,000. This is still substantial but has Galfond sweating thanks to the €1 million side bet.

Who Is The Challenger?

Kornuth is a professional poker player hailing from Denver, Colorado, although he lives in Las Vegas. We say that despite him traveling the world so he can continue his online poker grind.

He founded Chip Leader Coaching, which is one of poker’s top training sites.

His $7,398,114 in live tournament winnings place him second in Colorado’s all-time money listing. Only Steve O’Dwyer has won more in live MTTs. O’Dwyer is a beast with $30,472,704 in earnings, enough for 10th place in the overall standings.

Three of Kornuth’s first four recorded live events ended in victories. Those occurred in 2008 and he’s since become more feared and respected.

His first six-figure prize was also his first World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet victory. Kornuth topped a field of 460-players in the 2010 $5,000 Pot-Limit Omaha event. He netted $508,090 and a shiny gold bracelet for his efforts.

The $508,090 he won remained Kornuth’s largest score for four years. He banked $526,224 by triumphing in the $10,300 Bellagio Cup X. Kornuth won $641,140 for a third-place finish in the 2015 PCA Main Event. This is still his largest-ever live cash.

Galfond is still the clear favorite in this heads-up PLO battle, hence the four-to-one odds offered. Kornuth isn’t just there to make up the numbers; he has a legitimate shot at glory.

His analytical approach means he’s studied thousands of hands. He has a PLO bracelet too. The next few days will be exciting, to say the least.

Matthew Pitt

Matthew Pitt

If it’s something you can play online for real money, chances are Matthew knows a bit about it. He’s been writing about slots, craps and poker for the better part of the last decade. He’s written for PokerNews, PartyPoker and many other respected online gambling websites during the last nine years.


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