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Phil Galfond extended his lead a bit against Chance Kornuth in the Galfond Challenge in the most recent session as the match approaches the home stretch. But the high-stakes pot-limit Omaha competition isn’t over just yet. Strange things happen in PLO, so you can’t count out the Chip Leader Coaching founder.
The poker pros agreed to a 35,000-hand challenge back in September at $100/$200 stakes on WSOP.com. Although Galfond owns the Run it Once poker site, they’re forced to play on WSOP.com due to travel concerns during COVID-19 as RIU isn’t available in the US.
Potentially millions of dollars are at stake for both players. Galfond is risking $1 million in a side bet, while Kornuth agrees to pay $250,000 in the event he loses. And, of course, the losing player will also be down the amount of losses during the cash game sessions.
Galfond’s risking more than his opponent because he is a heavy favorite (4-1 entering the match). Despite laying 4-1 odds, at this point, it appears he made a smart wager.
Can Chance Kornuth Rally to Win Galfond Challenge?
The past week hasn’t been a killer for Kornuth on the virtual felt. But he was unable to make up any ground, and will now need a near-miracle to pull this out.
Kornuth entered the week down about $540,000. He won $76,000 on Jan. 12, a desperately needed victory. But then Galfond bounced back on Wednesday and Thursday with $46,000 and $40,000 wins to slightly improve on the lead he had heading into last week’s play. The Run it Once poker site founder now leads by $554,500 through 24,800 hands.
For Kornuth to pull off the comeback, he’ll need a heavy dose of luck, perhaps the biggest heater of his life. The challenge he’s facing, beyond competing against arguably the best PLO player ever, is starting to run out of time and must erase more than a 27-buy-in deficit in 9,200 hands.
At $100/$200 stakes, that means he must win an average of $60 for every hand dealt. That wouldn’t be easy against a random donkey, let alone Phil Galfond. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible for him to pull this out. There’s still time to pull it off, but the window of opportunity may soon close if Kornuth doesn’t quickly start making up ground.