Galfond Challenge: Galfond Off to Dominating Start Against Kornuth
After a few months of quiet during the summer while several online poker tournament series took over the headlines, the Galfond Challenge is back, with Phil Galfond against Chance Kornuth underway on WSOP.com.
The parameters this time around: 35,000 hands of pot-limit Omaha at $100/$200 with the Run It Once Poker founder laying a mighty price to his fellow coach: €1 million against Kornuth's €250,000.
After a very competitive first few sessions that saw the Chip Leader Coaching boss almost step-for-step with Galfond, the latter put on a dominating run over a few sessions to open up a six-figure lead. With just under 20% of the hands played, Galfond edged past a $200K win and put the match on hold as Kornuth was forced to replenish his WSOP.com funds. They're expected to resume playing sometime this week.
Galfond collected the first big pot of the challenge about an hour in, when he was already ahead something like $10K. Kornuth three-bet and then came out with $1,800, half pot, on . Galfond called, bringing a . Kornuth barreled again for $5,400 and a completed the board. There was just under pot to play left, $16.5K.
Kornuth opted to shove and Galfond didn't need too long before calling with for the second nuts. Kornuth had an airball with .
Kornuth worked his way back though, and a seemingly boring hand developed where Kornuth raised, Galfond three-bet, and Galfond continued small for $1,200 on . Kornuth called and the checked through to a river. Galfond checked and Kornuth bet $3,000. Galfond sprang to life with a pot-sized reraise to $15K, and Kornuth put the last $3K in. Galfond tanked until his bar was nearly exhausted before calling with fours full of nines, but Kornuth had the quads.
Galfond continued to bleed cash on that table as Kornuth built up to $100K, and they reset the stacks after Galfond got a double in a four-bet pot when the flop came . Galfond had binked top two with while Kornuth had for a flush draw plus backdoors. He turned the for additional outs but improved no further.
One of the biggest pots of the day developed awhile later when Kornuth got the four-bet in preflop and Galfond led out small for $2,400 on . Kornuth called, bringing the . Galfond bet again with $7,800, half the pot. Kornuth peeled again and the river was the . Galfond stuck in the last $12,484 and Kornuth tanked a long time before calling with for just aces with the nut blocker. It was good, though, as Galfond didn't have so much as a single diamond: .
Galfond did close out strong, winning a $26K pot when he turned kings full and got a pot-sized river raise paid after a turn slowplay. Plus, he won a four-bet pot on the other table, potting the flop and forcing a fold. However, it wasn't enough to overcome his earlier losses as he posted an estimated tally of -$33,500.
Hands Played: ~750
Results: Chance Kornuth +~$33,500
Full session video
No archived video exists for this match, but Galfond was in a hole after the first hour or so, as Kornuth built a lead of around $40,000.
Awhile after that, they played for stacks. Galfond opened on the button and called a three-bet, seeing a flop. Kornuth continued small with $1,200 and Galfond peeled, bringing a . This time, Kornuth potted for $6K and Galfond called again, setting up pot to play on the river. Kornuth shoved for just under $17K effective. Galfond went deep into the tank and finally clicked call just a bit before his time ran dry. Kornuth showed for two nut blockers and kings, and Galfond took it with for queens up.
That hero-call, worth about a $52K pot, got Galfond close to even.
Galfond continued to win medium-sized pots and before long, he had about $55K on both tables and Kornuth was back down to his starting $20K buy-ins. Galfond then opened up a decent lead when he nailed the nuts on the river with a nine-high straight and got a pot-sized bet of $7K paid.
Another huge pot went to Galfond in a single-raised pot when flopped. Kornuth bet the flop in position, Galfond check-raised, Kornuth three-bet and Galfond shoved. A call created a pot of $42K.
Kornuth missed the turn and the river gave Galfond quads.
After getting his teeth kicked in for awhile, Kornuth struck back on a board of . Galfond sprung a check-raise to $12,000 and faced a shove worth just under $22K. Deciding he was committed, Galfond called with for a combo draw. Only the hearts were live as Kornuth held for a made straight with an identical higher draw. A river meant a $46K pot for Kornuth.
He kept the momentum going, getting thin value with a ten-high flush and a pair blocker, potting river for $7K and getting called light by an unknown hand. Then, Galfond potted for $12K on a flushing river on an ultra-coordinated board after the turn checked through. Kornuth shoved and got through and appeared to be roughly even with that win.
Galfond righted the ship by picking off a couple of sizable bluffs, both times when he flopped huge hands and Kornuth went for check-raises and barreled turns and rivers.
After five hours of play, they called it a session with Run It Once later tweeting that Galfond had won $45K.
Hands Played: ~850
Results: Phil Galfond +~$45,000
Again, no video archive exists for this match.
It wasn't quite for stacks, but the first big pot came up about 25 minutes in, though it didn't get big until the river. A flopped six-high straight remained the nuts, and Galfond led out on the end from the big blind only to face a raise on the king-high board. He potted right back to about $13K and Kornuth tank-called with a set of kings and a five blocker, which was a winner against Galfond's own single-blocker bluff.
However, Galfond won enough of the other pots to make it so he was up an estimated few thousand at the first break.
Galfond escaped a rough spot when they got all in on a board of . Galfond had the nuts with , but Kornuth had him freerolled in multiple ways with . Luckily for Galfond, the river was a , enabling the get half of the $57K in the middle.
Kornuth attempted a large bluff catch when he three-bet preflop and bet $1,800 on , enticing a call from Galfond. On the pairing , Kornuth slowed down with a check and called $3,600. On the river, Galfond went into his time bank then piled for $13K. Kornuth tanked even longer then called with , but the light call failed as Galfond had for a flopped wrap that ran out a backdoor flush.
Galfond had given back much, maybe all, of his winnings when a big pot developed on . Kornuth bet half the pot and called a pot-sized raise on the turn, about $16,000. On the river, Kornuth check-folded for his last 13K, and Galfond retook a small lead.
Galfond picked it up in the following couple of hours, winning several sizable but non-all-in pots that boosted his win to around $30,000 or $40,000. Showdowns were few and far between in big pots, as each time a player piled river the other decided against looking up the final bet.
Kornuth won a big pot when he opened on the button and Galfond three-bet, bringing a flop. Galfond potted for $3,600 and Kornuth peeled, and Galfond liked the enough to pot again. Kornuth shoved and Galfond called for a $40K pot.
Kornuth had a nice spot with top two and nut hearts against a pair of nines, and one live flush draw with a gutter. The river didn't do it for Galfond, and Kornuth moved into the green.
A beautiful spot developed for Kornuth when he opened on the button, Galfond three-bet, Kornuth four-bet, and Galfond got it in for $27K preflop. Galfond was in rough shape with against but the board bailed him out with a winning straight.
There was nearly $10,000 in the middle on when stacks went in for a $40K pot once again. Galfond had flopped the nuts and turned better nuts with while Kornuth had for the second nuts and a set. The failed to improve his hand.
They quit after a long session of more than five hours with Galfond estimated to be up a bit and full results pending.
Hands Played: ~900
Results: Phil Galfond +~$67,000
There weren't many huge showdowns in the early going, but Kornuth saw enough of the medium and large pots go his way that he cooked up a decent win of around $30,000 in the early going.
He added to that after they took break in a single-raised pot when flopped. Kornuth bet in position, Galfond check-raised to $2,400, Kornuth came back with $8,400, and Galfond piled. Kornuth quickly got in there with for the nuts. Galfond had the top wrap with but saw the board brick out to send the $40K pot to his opponent.
A notable hand went down about two hours in when Galfond put in the three-bet preflop and Kornuth peeled. They checked the flop to a board of . Galfond checked again and Kornuth bet $1,800. Galfond called and the river was the . Galfond checked and called $5,400, winning a shocking showdown with just for sixes up as Kornuth showed .
The players were almost 200 big blinds deep when they played a huge pot for a three-bet from Galfond. Galfond went with a small bet of $1,200 on the flop. Kornuth continued and faced a pot-sized bet of $6,000 on the turn. The river was a and Galfond potted once more. This time, Kornuth tanked and then shoved. Galfond had to release, and at the same time, he bluffed off on the other table to lose a pot of $37K when Kornuth picked off his river pot with two pair and a straight blocker.
At that point, Kornuth was racing toward a six-figure win. Galfond managed to turn things around in the second half, though.
He started by getting a four-bet in preflop to make the pot $10,800. Kornuth led into him for $3,600 on the flop and Galfond called, bringing the . Kornuth potted for $18,000, nearly everything Galfond had. Galfond was ready with . He only had a few cards to fade as Kornuth showed for top two on the flop.
With the session close to winding down, Galfond earned another stack. He raised and called a three-bet then called a continuation-bet of half the pot on , bringing the . Kornuth bet on the large side with $5,400 but that was met with a pot-sized shove of $21,666. Kornuth decided he couldn't get away from but was up against for the nuts. The kept Galfond best for a $50K pot.
The rally was enough to get Galfond close to unstuck on the day but he still ate a small loss of $20K.
Hands Played: ~750
Results: Chance Kornuth +~$20,000
Full session video
In a three-bet pot that occurred early on, Galfond raised a flop bet on and then four-bet all in against Kornuth's three-bet from out of position. It was a standard PLO flip with Galfond on for a monster draw and Kornuth showing for a set. It was the former's draw coming home on the river that earned the pot. He was up several buy-ins at that point thanks to nearly every significant pot going his way.
In a deep-stacked pot, Galfond then three-bet preflop and continued small for $1,200 on with Kornuth calling in position. Galfond slowed down with a check and Kornuth bet pot for $6,000 on the . Galfond called, bringing a . Galfond checked again and Kornuth potted. Much to his dismay, Galfond shoved. It was only $2,190 into a pot of $54K but Kornuth eventually gave it up, shipping the pot to Galfond without showdown.
One notable hand went down in another three-bet pot when Kornuth bet $1,800 on and Galfond made it $4,400. Kornuth called and both players checked the , bringing an . Kornuth bet small for $4,200. Galfond went for a call with , which was shockingly a winner as Kornuth had for a pair and a missed combo draw. Luckily for Kornuth, the sting was lessened as he stacked Galfond on the other table with a set of kings against top two, aces and kings.
The big pots continued right after that in a four-bet pot when flopped. Galfond checked and Kornuth, the aggressor, continued for $3,600. Galfond peeled for a turn. He faced a much bigger bet of pot, $18K. He called again after a long tank. On the river, Kornuth emptied the clip for the last $13K. If Galfond called, it would mean a pot of $80K, and that's exactly what happened as he showed down for bottom two on the flop. It was good as Kornuth had missed a nut draw with .
Kornuth got it in way behind in another four-bet pot, when flopped and he check-raised all in. His was smashed by but he was able to rip off two pair on the turn and hold for a $46K pot.
Kornuth kept the comeback going in the final pot of the night, another of the four-bet variety. The flop prompted Galfond to bet small in position with $3,600. Kornuth called and each player checked the . Kornuth piled on the and Galfond went for the hero-call with but was very far from good as Kornuth had for the nuts.
After being down six figures on the day, he managed to cut his deficit to about $43K.
Hands Played: ~800
Results: Phil Galfond +~$43,500
Session highlight video
Kornuth took the spotlight about a half hour into the match with a sick river call. He'd three-bet it preflop and found a flop of . He opted to check it and Galfond bet $1,800, half the pot. Kornuth continued and then faced a pot-sized bet of $7,200 on the . He called, leaving half pot to play on the river. Galfond fired the last shell and Kornuth tanked awhile then called.
The commentators were aghast as his , good for just a pair of sevens, was a winner against .
A little luck helped propel Kornuth to an even bigger lead. He called a three-bet from Galfond and then took the lead with a bet of $1,200 in position on . Galfond called, bringing a . Galfond checked and faced another small bet of $2,000. This time, he potted it to commit most of his stack. Kornuth tanked awhile then shipped in the rest.
Galfond had flopped the nuts but still had a lot of cards to fade with Kornuth holding two pair, a flush draw, and a higher straight draw. The filled his flush draw for the win.
Galfond earned a stack back when they got in a raising war on in a three-bet pot, Galfond holding and Kornuth for sevens full. Galfond nailed an ace on the turn to scoop it.
The momentum continued in his favor when he got the four-bet in preflop and saw a flop, which he bet for a small sizing of $3,600. Kornuth peeled and then just shoved into Galfond for about $14K into $18K on the .
Galfond's preflop bluff had yielded top two with a turned flush draw and he held against the wrap as the completed the board. That pot was worth $47K.
He then turned Kornuth's bluff-catching into his own favor as Kornuth tried betting river for a small sizing of $2,400 into $7,200 on . Galfond potted up to $14,400 and Kornuth eventually called with something weaker than . Thanks to that run, the players were close to even as they went on break about three hours in.
Just before the next break, Kornuth found a dream turn in a three-bet pot after check-calling a flop bet on . The arrived and Kornuth checked, Galfond potted, and Kornuth shoved. Committed with , Galfond called with his combo draw and was against for the turned nuts. The river didn't change anything.
Things looked grim for Galfond after he tried an epic hero call late. The board had run and Kornuth had shoved river for $15K effective into a pot of $20K.
Galfond tanked until his timer was nearly dry and clicked call with , only for Kornuth to show top set.
The last big pot played on stream came up when Galfond called a three-bet then called $1,800 on the flop and $4,800 more on the turn. On the river, Kornuth finally checked and Galfond shoved for $12,290. Kornuth tank-called with but was no good against .
Kornuth's early and late heaters were enough to push him to his biggest win yet, $70,000.
Hands Played: ~800
Results: Chance Kornuth +~$70,000
Full session video
Just 10 minutes in, they played a pot of $48K when Galfond called a three-bet and Kornuth bet half the pot on . Kornuth potted the turn and Galfond shoved for $20K. Kornuth called with for the overpair, gutter and flush draw. Galfond was slightly leading with . He got a clean river with the .
Another big pot went Galfond's way when he called a three-bet and Kornuth conceded the betting lead on . Galfond bet $1,800 and Kornuth called. On the turn, Galfond potted for $7,200 and Kornuth jammed for $23,500. Galfond called to create a pot of $54K.
Galfond's nutted hand was still fading a fair amount on the river. While the board paired, it was a harmless from Galfond's perspective.
The deficit continued building for Kornuth when he three-bet preflop and then bet $1,200 on . The turn was an and Kornuth bet small again for $2,000. Galfond made it $7,200 and Kornuth three-bet jammed for $18.5K. Galfond was ready with for the nuts, and Kornuth was in really rough shape with . He needed a miracle river but the wasn't it.
Already stuck roughly $100K, Kornuth almost dug even deeper when he half-potted into $6K on in position and Galfond potted it. Kornuth went with his to create a pot of $53K. Galfond had the nuts, though, . The filled up Kornuth on the river.
A pot of roughly the same size went right back to Galfond when he four-bet and called a five-bet cracking aces by flopping top two.
When they got stacks in on the turn on , a chop looked imminent as Galfond had against . However, Galfond nailed the on the river to make a full house and scoop the $45K.
Perhaps the biggest pot yet came up when Galfond four-bet, Kornuth five-bet for $16,200, and Galfond repotted right back on the six-bet. Kornuth rolled with his for $52K total and Galfond had the best of it with . Galfond ran out the nut flush but was good the whole way to get a commanding lead of six-figures on the day.
The pace finally slowed after that, and Galfond booked an estimated $125K win.
Results: Phil Galfond +~$117,000
Full session video
The players were aggressive right off the bat, playing three-bet pots left and right, but it took about 30 minutes for stacks to go in for the first time. It was a board of that did it, with Kornuth the three-bettor and the flop aggressor for half pot. On the turn, he potted for $7,200 and Galfond shoved for $9,800 more.
Kornuth had a big draw but only one card left to get there against Galfond's two pair. The didn't do it for him.
The Galfond train kept rolling shortly after as he got paid for half pot on a paired board with a king-high flush to scoop $20K and he followed up in the very next hand by stacking Kornuth in a four-bet pot. Kornuth potted in position on for nearly all his money then called off the rest, but he was a mile behind with against . No help emerged and Kornuth found himself in a fairly deep early hole.
After break, Kornuth got a stack back when his top set held versus overpair plus flush draw in a three-bet pot. Another followed when Galfond tried leading for $3,600 in a four-bet pot on and then shoving for $11K effective on the turn. Kornuth was ready with for the flopped nuts and Galfond was way behind with . The straight he hit on the river was worthless.
Galfond righted the ship when a slowplay worked to perfect as he flatted $1,800 in position on , bringing a . Kornuth went with a small sizing of $2,000. Galfond made it $6,400 and Kornuth peeled, with the completing the board. Kornuth just jammed into him for a little over half the pot but that got snapped off as Galfond had for queens full, easily beating .
Another $43K pot went Galfond's way when he got paid off potting an underfull on the river for $14K in position, and he rebuilt his lead to around $80K on the day.
Stacks went in again on in a three-bet pot as Galfond potted over a bet from Kornuth, who stuck it in with for top pair and a wrap. Galfond had top two with but turned another pair that he definitely didn't want as the gave Kornuth a winning straight.
Galfond then three-bet and saw a board that he continued on for a small sizing of $1,200. Kornuth called, bringing a turn. Galfond conceded the lead and Kornuth took the opportunity to bet $2,000. Galfond piled in $8,200 and Kornuth stuck around for the . Galfond shoved for $12,694, less than half the pot, and Kornuth needed some time before clicking call with . That was a winner as Galfond had for a bluff.
Kornuth was close to getting back to even, but he slipped late. Galfond cracked his top set on as he turned the nuts with and jammed over a big bet, fading the board pairing. A few more decent pots had him booking a small win of $28K.
Results: Phil Galfond +~$28,000
Full session video
Galfond had already chipped away for a $30K lead less than an hour in when two huge pots went down simultaneously. One one table, Galfond four-bet preflop and then potted a texture, earning the pot. On the other, he potted turn for $6K and shoved river on , winning without showdown as well.
Kornuth appeared to take a nasty beat in a five-bet pot as he shoved the last of it in on . Galfond called with and turned a straight against but Kornuth filled up on the river.
A single-raised pot saw Galfond bet $900 in position on and Kornuth raise to $2,750. Galfond peeled and the arrived. Kornuth barreled again for $4,425 and Galfond stuck around for the river. Kornuth shoved for just over $12K and Galfond tank-called with , beating for the bare-ace bluff.
A little under two hours in, Galfond three-bet and called a four-bet then led small on . Kornuth shoved and Galfond snapped, having flopped the joint with . Kornuth was in horrid shape with and didn't have an out in the deck after missing the turn.
That was apparently it for Kornuth's roll on WSOP.com.
Hey @WSOPcom and @888poker, @PhilGalfond busted my account today and we now have to put the challenge on hold due t… https://t.co/IvxzSASyrR— Chance Kornuth (@ChancesCards)
As such, they called it an early session with Kornuth buried.
Results: Phil Galfond +~$103,000
Full session video