With the match approaching the home stretch, Phil Galfond extended his lead a bit against Chance Kornuth in the most recent session of the Galfond Challenge. 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.
Millions of dollars are potentially 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 his losses during the cash game sessions.
Galfond is risking more than his opponent because he’s a heavy favorite (4-1 entering the match). Despite laying 4-1 odds, at this point, it appears he made a smart wager.
Can Kornuth Rally to Win?
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 in a desperately needed victory. 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. The challenge he’s facing, beyond competing against arguably the best PLO player ever, is that he’s 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 Galfond. Still, it’s not impossible for him to pull this out. Kornuth still has time, but his window of opportunity may soon close if he doesn’t quickly start making up ground.