Matt Berkey vs. Nik Airball Update: New Rules Help One Player to $90K Lead

3 min read

The Matt Berkey vs. Nik Airball high-stakes showdown continued over the weekend and, with new rules in place, one player moved into a $90,000 lead.

Nik airball
Matt Berkey and Nik Airball are currently locked in a high-stakes heads-up match with the latter holding a $90,200 lead. (Image: YouTube/Hustler Casino Live)

For those who haven’t been following the action, Berkey and Airball started playing a $200/$400 heads-up Hold’em match in early April. The pair agreed to play for 100 hours and, after an initial burst of activity, Berkey took a $30,000 lead.

However, after a break, play resumed at the weekend. Arbitrator Phil Galfond enforced a new rule to limit the number of breaks that could be taken after complaints Airball was spending too much time away from the table.

Nik Airball bounce back despite new rules

While that change had the potential to upset Nik Airball’s strategy, it seems to have had the opposite effect. The trader and wealthy amateur found his groove on Sunday and, after overturning the deficit, he ended the third session with a $90,200 lead.

There is still a long way to go in the match with just 26.5 hours of action so far. However, the shift in momentum has certainly got Twitter talking.

The reason Berkey and Airball are playing is because the latter criticized a number of pros, including his current heads-up opponent. Berkey initially brushed off the comments but, with pressure from some prominent people in the poker community, including Doug Polk, a match was made.

Getting from the point of agreeing a match to actually playing wasn’t easy. Neither player could agree on terms, so Phil Galfond was drafted in.

However, such was the bad blood between Berkey and Airball (see tweet below) that even Galfond struggled to get a match over the line.

Eventually, however, cooler heads prevailed and the game was on. Nik Airball flew to Las Vegas to prove that Berkey isn’t as good as he claims. On the other side of the felt, Matt Berkey is not only out to prove he’s a top pro but that rich kid Airball is all talk.

Matt Berkey down but not out

Things got off to a good start for Berkey. Even though his friend Landon Tice was suspicious of the time Airball was taking on breaks, Berkey dominated the first two sessions. Play was then paused before the new rules came into force.

Since then, Airball has been on a tear. Unfortunately for poker fans, there isn’t a live stream or updates. However, Tice has been providing a running commentary on Twitter. What we know from the recent session is that Airball won a lot of “small pots” and the “game is afoot.”

We also know that Nik Airball now has a $90,200 lead with 25% of the match gone. However, with many more sessions to go, that could easily change as we move through the week. Whatever the result, the latest high-stakes heads-up match is providing yet more entertainment for fans of the game.

Related Posts

Did you know about our poker forum? Discuss all the latest poker news in the CardsChat forum

Popular Stories