Galfond Challenge: Galfond Narrows Gap With Big Win

Phil Galfond is in a hole against Chance Kornuth.

Phil Galfond is no stranger to big deficits in the Galfond Challenge, so he likely isn't exactly shaking in his boots when he sees the deficit he's facing against Chance Kornuth.

Still, Kornuth has done fine work thus far, and he has to be feeling good about where he's sitting. With almost 13,000 hands in the books, Kornuth has grabbed a lead of around $350,000. Considering he was a sizable underdog to kick things off, that will stand as a surprising result to most observers.

With a 35,000-hand schedule, though, plenty of time remains for Galfond to right the ship. However, the longer Kornuth continues to battle evenly or get the better of things, the more likely it becomes that Galfond doesn't have the best of it offering him 4-to-1 on their side bet, risking $1 million.

Want to know everything about the Galfond Challenge? Check out thePokerNews Galfond Challenge page for more information!

Day 16

Kornuth jumped on Galfond early with five-figure pots on both tables, winning each without showdown. He added to his early edge when Galfond three-bet and continued for $1,200 on Q75. Kornuth raised pretty big to $4,600 and Galfond potted. They got stacks in with Galfond's $24K at risk, but he was coolered with a set of sevens no good against top set.

Galfond earned almost a full stack back when he called a three-bet in position and faced $1,800 on 310K. He raised to $4,400 and Kornuth called, bringing the A. Both players checked and Kornuth potted the 8 river. Galfond went way deep into the tank before clicking call, and Kornuth had 9922 for a bluff, which Galfond had beaten with K10107 for a flopped set.

There weren't a ton of huge pots following that, but Kornuth worked his way up to about a $40K win. He added to that significantly when he peeled a three-bet and bet $1,200 on 749 in position. Galfond check-raised to $4,600 and Kornuth called, bringing a 10 that made a board rife with possibilities. Galfond potted for $12,800, just over half his remaining stack. Kornuth popped the rest in for a $60K pot.

Kornuth: A6108
Galfond: 9494

Galfond had a set and a flush draw but bricked the A river to lose to the set.

The players were more than $31K deep when a massive hand went down that saw Galfond put in the four-bet and call the rarely seen five-bet. Only $16K was left to play, half the pot, and that went in when Kornuth shoved. Unfortunately for him, he was nearly dead with A6A6 against Q697 for a flopped flush. That meant a $64K pot for Galfond.

Kornuth scooped up one more decent pot of $21K just before they called it, and that was enough to push him to a small win of $35K.

Hands Played: 600
Results: Chance Kornuth +~$35,000
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Day 17

It took a bit of time for the first big pot to be played, and when it did, Kornuth was the aggressor as he three-bet and then fire half pot on the flop and turn to produce a board of 328Q9. Finally, he checked the river with just under the 14K pot left to play. Galfond piled and Kornuth called with A2108 for eights up. However, they were no good as Galfond got the thinnest of value with A296.

Galfond won one of the biggest pots of the challenge when he three-bet and called a four-bet, bringing a 453 flop. Both players checked and a 3 hit. Galfond bet big with $8,100 and Kornuth called. Galfond piled the 4 river for $22,944 and Kornuth went into the tank briefly before calling to create a pot of just shy of $73K. Galfond had flopped the nuts with K1076, and Kornuth had run into a nasty cooler with AA22.

A seemingly innocuous 362 flop led to the next big pot. It was just a single-raised pot and Kornuth bet $600 only for Galfond to check-raise to $1,800. Kornuth called and the 9 arrived. Galfond slowed down with a check. Kornuth potted it and Galfond called. The 3 paired the board and Galfond just potted it. Kornuth snapped it with 9654 for a straight with full house blockers and Galfond could only muster 7264 for a bluff.

Galfond then turned the aggression up again as he called a three-bet and the board came 10997. Galfond bet half pot on the flop when checked to then potted turn. Kornuth went nowhere and the river brought the 4. Kornuth checked again and Galfond shoved for just under the $21K pot. Kornuth looked him up with A9KJ and Galfond had blasted with Q854.

The players got in a raising war on a 3K8 flop and stacks went in.

Galfond: A2QK
Kornuth: AK8J

Equities were close but it would be Kornuth prevailing as 5 turn and K river gave Kornuth a full house. Galfond got the stack right back when top two held against aces and a gutter, though.

They played deep for awhile but nothing terribly exciting happened from there on out and Kornuth booked another small win.

Hands Played: 600
Results: Chance Kornuth +~$33,000
Full session video

Day 18

It didn't take long for the first stack to change hands as Galfond three-bet then check-called a 296 texture. On the 4 turn, Galfond check-raised all in and Kornuth called with A2Q6 for two pair and a flush draw. However, Galfond had it all with A553 for the nuts with a redraw and he held on the river.

A stroke of great fortune arrived for Kornuth when they were over 150 blinds deep and he got a four-bet in only for Galfond to slam in the five-bet. Kornuth peeled and 989 flopped. That was fine by Galfond, who stuck the rest in with AA10J only for Kornuth to show J895 for the flopped nuts. Galfond improved, but only to a worthless flush.

In a single-raised pot, Kornuth checked J9Q and Galfond bet $600. Kornuth made it $2,200 on a check-raise and Galfond called to bring a 5. Kornuth sized up with $4,800 and Galfond called again. The river was the 10 and Kornuth could have shoved since Galfond had slightly under the pot left. He went with $11,800 instead and it worked like a charm as Galfond paid it off.

Kornuth continued his momentum in a four-bet pot as Q29 flopped. Galfond potted into and stacks were soon in yet again for a $49K pot.

Galfond: A3QJ
Kornuth: AAQJ

The 10 gave both players straight draws but the 5 river didn't help Galfond.

Galfond regained some footing with a lucky river when they got stacks in on 59AJ, Galfond holding A965 for two pair and clubs, but Kornuth had him pipped with AJK4. Fortunately for the Run It Once boss, a 2 arrived. They went to break with Kornuth up $50K.

Kornuth struck back when he cracked Galfond's aces with a rundown in a four-bet pot, flopping a pair plus a wrap and spiking trips on the river.

All the money went in preflop a little after that with Kornuth in a dominating spot. He held AA84 against A5J10. Galfond hit a straight on the river but the same card gave Kornuth a flush and he pocketed another stack.

When the dust had settled, Kornuth had wrapped another big win of an estimated $90K.

Hands Played: 600
Results: Chance Kornuth +~$56,000
Full session video

Day 19

A single-raised pot produced the first big one of the day, and it came with Galfond betting $900 in position on 349 and Kornuth raising to $2,750. Galfond called then tank-called a pot-sized bet of $6,700 on the 8 turn. On the 10 river, Kornuth checked and Galfond tanked quite some time before shoving for $10,748 effective. Kornuth tanked as well then called with 101094 for top set on the river, but Galfond had KK76 for the low straight to earn the $51K pot.

Kornuth got a stack right back when he got it in on 82Q7, check-raising almost all his money in with 9588. Galfond had Q2J9 for queens up and diamonds but missed the 3 river.

He added another on a 572 flop when Galfond check-potted and called off the rest holding Q7J9 for top pair and spades. Kornuth had A483 for a massive draw and he made a winning straight on the 6 turn.

In a three-bet pot, both players checked 275 and three-bettor Kornuth bet the 9 turn for $2,400. Galfond made it $7,900 and Kornuth shoved.

Kornuth: A793
Galfond: 10586

Galfond had the nuts with a redraw and held on unimproved on the 4 river. They closed out the action-packed first hour with Galfond slightly ahead.

The momentum continued for him after break when a standard all in developed following a raising war when Galfond had aces with the nut flush draw against top set. He hit spades on both the turn and river to scoop another stack.

The back-and-forth continued as Kornuth three-bet and then led for $1,800 on J37. Kornuth slowed down with a check on the 7 turn and called a big bet of $5,400. The A river led to a final check from Kornuth, who had under $11.8K left with $18K in the middle. Galfond tanked and shoved, and Kornuth was ready with a snap-call holding JJ65 for the flopped boat. He caught Galfond going for value with KQ97.

In a four-bet pot, stacks went in following a 629 flop with Kornuth's QQ76 up against AKQ6. Low bricks hit the turn and river for a Kornuth victory.

Galfond then tried four-betting only to turn into a five-bet. He opted to call, leaving just $5K to play with $32K already in the middle, and the rest went in on 834 with Galfond trailing with A10J3 against AA75. The 2 gave Kornuth a wheel and Galfond a flush draw, and the wheel was a winner on the river.

The day's trend of heavy action continued on a 5J7 flop. Kornuth had gotten a four-bet in pre and faced a pot-sized lead for most of the remaining money. He rolled with his AQQJ and was against A896 for a massive draw. The 7 was the brick Kornuth was looking for but the 8 gave Galfond a straight.

The final hour and half was comparatively tame after the furious first while, and Galfond wound up booking himself a decent little win.

Hands Played: 550
Results: Phil Galfond +~$45,500
Full session video

Day 20

An early four-bet pot got things rolling. On a QJJ flop, Galfond checked and faced a pot-sized wager from four-bettor Kornuth. Galfond tanked then stuffed in for just a few thousand more, and his 109108 wasn't in too bad of shape vs naked aces. The 10 was a winner for Galfond on the turn as he made a boat and faded a river beat.

Awhile later, it was Galfond getting in the four-bet and Kornuth calling for a KQ3 flop. Galfond went with a small sizing of $3,600 after Kornuth checked, and Kornuth responded by potting. Galfond stuck it in for a $56K pot and Kornuth saw the bad news as he had been coolered with KJQ8 running into A3A3 for bottom set. The 10 brought Kornuth some help on the turn but the 5 river didn't do it for him.

Kornuth cut into Galfond's lead when he three-bet and they saw a 974 flop and checked. Galfond bet half pot for $1,800 and Kornuth potted. Galfond rolled with A9K2 for a flush draw plus a backdoor draw and he turned his flush against 104104. However, Kornuth found quads on the river.

Galfond then got in a three-bet and checked a 753 texture. Kornuth bet small for $1,200 and Galfond called, bringing a K. Galfond checked and Kornuth bet small again for $2,000. Galfond woke up with a pot-sized raise to $12,000. Kornuth peeled, bringing a 7. Galfond shoved the last $9K in and got snapped off by Q475. Unfortunately for Kornuth, that was no good as Galfond had KK102 for the dream runout.

Kornuth coolered Galfond with nut flush over king-high flush to snag a stack back, and they battled to the stretch run with Galfond stuck a bit.

However, a final massive pot developed when Kornuth raised preflop and Galfond called. As 106A5A rolled off the deck, Kornuth bet the flop for $900, the turn for full pot of $3,000 and the river for another $3,000. Galfond woke up with a pot-sized raise to $15,450. Kornuth tanked then slammed in his stack of $25,652. Galfond snapped for a $60K pot and showed AK104, beating Q10107 for tens full.

That win was enough to inch Galfond into profit by the barest of margins, making the session essentially a wash.

Hands Played: 500
Results: Phil Galfond +~$1,000
Full session video

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Day 21

This session wasn't fully streamed.

Galfond appeared to be up slightly when the stream kicked off, and early on, he dragged a pot north of $30K when he slowplayed a flopped boat and got value on the turn and river, the latter for pot when backdoor hearts came in. Kornuth's hand wasn't shown.

Galfond snagged another stack when Kornuth got caught trying to swipe one on the turn. He had three-bet preflop and check-called the J26 flop for half-pot, then he checked the Q turn. Galfond bet half the pot again, $3,600, but Kornuth potted to $18K this time. Galfond called for less with JJ98 and he was in good shape against K775, fading the bare flush draw.

Kornuth was taking the worst of it in the non-all-in pots as well as Galfond built up stacks of about $50K on both tables. Kornuth halted that momentum in a single-raised pot when he check-called $900 on a 1063 flop and a pot-sized bet of $3K on the 9. On the Q river, Galfond potted again, but Kornuth woke up with a shove for just under $27K. Galfond found the fold but dropped the sizable pot.

Despite getting the worst of things down the stretch, Galfond did book a third straight win, this time $36K.

Hands Played: 500
Results: Phil Galfond +~$36,000
Full session video

Day 22

They first played for stacks about an hour in when Galfond three-bet and half-potted a K710 flop. Kornuth called and Galfond checked the 6 turn. Kornuth bet $5,555 and Galfond called. Galfond checked the K river. Kornuth went into his time bank then shoved for just under the $18K pot. Galfond was ready with KKQ6 and Kornuth had gone for thin value with 9887.

Kornuth absorbed a nasty beat when he got the four-bet in and six-bet shoved over Galfond's five-bet, showing down AAJ8. Galfond had A10K5 but promptly flopped a king-high straight and had it locked in by the turn.

Galfond continued his hot run by making quad kings once again and getting $5,600 worth of value on a Q3KKK board, the half-pot bet getting paid off by an unknown hand. Galfond showed K884.

Galfond would then bet small with $1,200 into $3,600 after three-betting and seeing a 92A flop. Kornuth popped it to $4,200. Galfond peeled for the 7 turn and checked. Kornuth potted and Galfond crammed for just a bit more with A8KJ. Kornuth had AK89 so Galfond had plenty of outs to win or chop, but the 8 didn't do it for him.

Things continued to go Kornuth's way as he got big river value for a pot of $27K with a king-high flush, then he called a four-bet and check-raised all in on Q710. Galfond was forced to call with K796 after potting, and Kornuth was good with one pair: A6Q5. He got a lot stronger on the A turn and Galfond didn't improve on the 3 river.

The hits kept coming for Galfond when he three-bet and led small for $1,200 on 278. Kornuth raised to $4,200 and they went to a 10 turn for that price. Galfond checked and Kornuth sized down to $4,444. Galfond shoved and Kornuth called to create a $53K pot.

Galfond: 10695
Kornuth: Q922

Galfond had a slight edge but had to fade a pile of cards since Kornuth had a set, flush draw and higher straight draw. He banged off the boat on the 10 river.

Yet another $47K pot went to Kornuth when he bet nearly full pot on the turn and river on 3A102K and Galfond couldn't find a fold against K985.

One final $51K pot did get sent Galfond's way when he four-bet and called a five-bet then got the rest in on 9J3. Kornuth had aces with the nut gutter but Galfond had him wrecked with QJ108 and turned a flush.

Hands Played: 550
Results: Chance Kornuth +~$49,000
Full session video

Day 23

Kornuth delivered an early beating to Galfond as he picked off several bluffs en route to building a couple of $50K stacks. Galfond picked himself up off the canvas by finally scooping a large one when he check-called $6K into $12K on 4J2Q. The players were 150 bigs deep to start the hand, so Galfond still had $18K back when he ripped on the board-changing K river, earning a tank-fold.

The players weren't shy about getting heaps in on 56Q despite being $28K deep again, and it was Kornuth holding AQQ10 for the nuts while Galfond had a big draw with A4K7. That came home on the 8 turn and he faded any board pairing rivers.

He followed up with another stack immediately with the second-nut flush as Kornuth barreled off with the nut blocker, and things had turned in a hurry. As the second hour wrapped, Galfond found himself up a few buy-ins.

It was Kornuth's turn to pick himself up and that's what he did when he three-bet and continued for $1,800 on 47A. Galfond raised pot to $9,000 and Kornuth called. On the 4 turn, Kornuth actually shoved into Galfond for $9,798, giving Galfond an amazing price since more than $21K was in the middle. Galfond tanked a long time then called with 6335 for a wrap, which was still live against AKJ9. The Q river sent the pot to Kornuth.

Kornuth's recovery continued after a fairly slow stretch. With the finish line looking, he three-bet and bet $1,200 on a 48A flop and then check-called $2,000 on the 7 turn. He checked the 10 river and Galfond potted for $10K. Kornuth used nearly all of his time before calling with J7108, and the mediocre two pair turned out to be good against KJ76.

The recovery was enough to cut Galfond's win down to about two buy-ins.

Hands Played: 600
Results: Phil Galfond +~$36,000
Full session video

Day 24

The first big pot they played saw Galfond out of position and checking the turn with $5K in the middle on 8372. Kornuth potted it and Galfond jammed for $19,296. Kornuth tank-called with 8374 for top two and was fading plenty as Galfond had J685 for a pile of outs. He smashed the Q river to drag the pot.

Kornuth took an unusual line when he three-bet and fired just $900 on a 636 flop. Galfond called, and the turn was a 4 that Kornuth check-called for $1,800. He checked the 2 and Galfond bet $4,500. Kornuth check-raised all in for $16,498 and Galfond went into the tank. Finally, he clicked call with K5J6 for a six-high straight. Kornuth gotten sick value with Q754, pipping Galfond.

At the same time, he won a $35K pot on the other table, with a $10K river bet getting called on 45377. Kornuth showed A442 for a boat.

The next hour or so would see a handful of big pots played, but every time there was a big river bet, the other player would let it go, and things roughly washed with Kornuth holding a small lead heading into the third hour of play.

The stalemate broke on a 94K flop with three-bettor Galfond seeing his $1,200 called. On the 7, Galfond checked and called $4,000. That left just under pot to play on the J, and Kornuth did shove for $13K when Galfond checked. Galfond went into the tank for awhile then clicked call with KQ108 but the bluff-catch failed when Kornuth showed Q3J2 for the second-nut flush.

Kornuth then took another sneaky line when he three-bet and 529 flopped. He opted to check and Galfond bet the pot. Kornuth raised pot and stacks went in.

Kornuth: A10102
Galfond: 9863

Kornuth's pocket tens were best for the moment and stayed that way on the Q turn, but the 4 river gave Galfond the straight.

The next big spot came up with less than an hour left on the clock, as Kornuth three-bet and 475 flopped. Both players checked, bringing the 8. Kornuth checked again and Galfond bet small for $1,200. Kornuth made it $6,666 on a check-raise and Galfond continued to the 10. Kornuth shoved the last $12,332 in and Galfond tanked but couldn't find the fold with Q1092, losing out to the bigger flush in KQ97.

Kornuth just seemed to sweep up all of the medium pots down the stretch, most of them without showdown, and when the dust settled, he had recovered much of what he'd lost in the previous days.

Hands Played: 550
Results: Chance Kornuth +~$91,000
Full session video

Day 25

The early part of this match wasn't streamed, but it appeared Galfond won a stack.

One of the first streamed pots for stacks would portend how the day would go for Galfond. He called a three-bet then potted over a large c-bet on 35J, showing down J749 for top pair and a gutter. The latter was his only real hope as Kornuth had K334 for bottom set, but Galfond banged off the 6 turn to make a winning straight and faded the huge redraw.

Kornuth then got caught making a move as he bet $2,000 into $6K on 24QK and Galfond called. On the Q river, Kornuth checked and Galfond half-potted for $5K. Kornuth responded by shoving for about $15K and Galfond went deep in the tank before calling with QJ109 for trips. Kornuth had K965 for a king blocker.

They got in a raising war on 3J2 with Kornuth holding Q3J8 for top two and clubs and Galfond on AK55 for a gutter plus nut flush draw. The turn bricked off but a 6 river gave Galfond the superior flush to earn $40K.

A four-bet pot saw still another stack pushed to Galfond. After 1027, four-bettor Kornuth potted after Galfond checked, and Galfond stuck it in with KQQ9 for the overpair plus flush draw. Kornuth had him completely smashed with AA64 but running 9 and J gave Galfond the straight.

Finally, in a single-raised pot, Kornuth bet $900 in position and Galfond made it $2,400 on the 8Q7. Kornuth peeled, bringing a J. Galfond slowed down with a check and Kornuth potted it for $6K. Galfond called, and the river was the Q. Galfond shoved for effectively pot, $18K. Kornuth decided he couldn't let Q9106 go and was shown the bad beat as Galfond had K8Q7. That meant a $54K pot to Galfond.

All of the big pots meant a big day for Galfond, with Kornuth reporting on Twitter he'd wound up stuck $124K.

Hands Played: TBA
Results: Phil Galfond +~$124,000
Full session video

Want to know everything about the Galfond Challenge? Check out thePokerNews Galfond Challenge page for more information!

  • Nearing the halfway point, Chance Kornuth still leads Phil Galfond despite a six-figure loss.

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