2021 World Series of Poker 2021 MSPT Venetian

Galfond Challenge: Galfond, Kornuth Continue to Trade Leads

Phil Galfond is doing work of late against Chance Kornuth.

The battle between Phil Galfond and Chance Kornuth at $100/$200 pot-limit Omaha for the Galfond Challenge has been a swingy one thus far, and the latest swing appears to be going in Galfond's favor.

After dropping to about $350,000 in losses on two separate occasions, Galfond roared back with a monster series of wins. After booking his first six-figure win in more than a month on Nov. 14, Galfond followed up with back-to-back wins worth $190,000 total.

While Kornuth did manage to string together three wins in a row after that, they were only for about $60K total. So, when Galfond then won $124K across back-to-back sessions, he retook the lead for the first time since October on Dec. 3. Kornuth edge back in front after that, but Galfond booked another big win on Dec. 9 to grab the lead as the back-and-forth continues in the closely matched battle.

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Day 26

Galfond dominated the first hour or so of play as he won enough medium pots to post a lead of about $45,000, including one hand where he potted river for $6K on {q-Spades}{7-Diamonds}{3-Spades}{9-Clubs}{4-Clubs} with nines and sevens and got called by worse.

Kornuth came back as he stacked Galfond in a single-raised pot when {k-Hearts}{6-Clubs}{j-Spades} flopped. Kornuth bet $600 in position and Galfond raised to $1,800. Galfond then potted the {5-Diamonds} turn and shoved the {8-Spades} river for $14K, just under the pot. Kornuth snap-called since he had {k-Clubs}{9-Clubs}{q-Spades}{7-Spades} for the backdoor nuts, while Galfond had been on dust the whole way with {q-Clubs}{2-Clubs}{10-Hearts}{5-Hearts}.

Then, two more huge pots were pushed to Kornuth. First, he coolered Galfond with bottom set against top two on {7-Spades}{q-Diamonds}{6-Hearts} for $46K. At the exact same time, Kornuth bet small in position on the flop and turn as the board ran {2-Spades}{q-Clubs}{4-Spades}{6-Spades}{4-Diamonds}. Kornuth potted the river and Galfond check-shoved, only to get snapped off by {5-Spades}{3-Spades}{3-Clubs}{2-Hearts} for the straight flush. Incredibly, Galfond had been stone cold coolered with {9-Hearts}{4-Hearts}{9-Spades}{4-Clubs} for quads.

Galfond then went for a tiny bet of $600 into $3,600 on {7-Diamonds}{7-Spades}{q-Clubs} and Kornuth made it $2,400. Galfond called and Kornuth checked back the {5-Clubs}. On the {5-Diamonds} river, Galfond led small with $2,400. Kornuth made it $12,300 and Galfond shoved for $17,600. Kornuth went deep into the tank before making the reluctant call with {a-Spades}{5-Spades}{j-Diamonds}{7-Hearts} for sevens full of fives, no good against Galfond's {k-Clubs}{7-Clubs}{q-Spades}{9-Hearts}.

Once again, Galfond bet tiny with $600 on a {4-Hearts}{j-Diamonds}{j-Clubs} flop after three-betting. Once again, Kornuth raised to $2,400 and they went to a {7-Diamonds} turn. This time, Kornuth bet-called it off with his full house, showing {k-Clubs}{4-Clubs}{10-Spades}{4-Spades}. Galfond was behind this time but drawing live with {a-Diamonds}{k-Spades}{q-Spades}{j-Hearts}, smashing the {q-Hearts} river for the winning full house.

Along with several medium-sized pots in between those, Galfond suddenly had a lead north of $50K.

After a break, Galfond took another strong line when he bet-three-bet shoved a board of {k-Diamonds}{5-Hearts}{7-Clubs}{7-Diamonds} after Kornuth raised his small turn bet. Kornuth tank-called off with {a-Spades}{j-Spades}{7-Hearts}{4-Diamonds} for trips, and he was good against {a-Hearts}{k-Hearts}{8-Hearts}{9-Spades}. The {j-Hearts} needlessly improved him on the river.

In the last big pot that closed out the session, Kornuth bet $1,200 after three-betting and seeing a {j-Spades}{2-Clubs}{6-Spades} flop. On the {8-Clubs} turn, he checked and Galfond potted. Kornuth jammed and Galfond called with {9-Spades}{8-Hearts}{7-Hearts}{6-Diamonds} for two pair and an open-ender. He was behind as Kornuth had {a-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds}{j-Hearts}{4-Hearts} for top two, but Galfond drilled the straight on the {5-Hearts} river.

Hands Played: 500
Results: Phil Galfond +~$47,000
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Day 27

What kind of day would it be for Phil Galfond? Well, on the first hand played he won a $32K pot with the nut full house, getting $10,800 of river value. By the end of the next hand on that table, he was already up a buy-in.

Just minutes later, Kornuth three-bet and put in $1,200 on {5-Spades}{10-Spades}{a-Spades}, with Galfond calling. Kornuth then check-called a pot-sized bet of $6,000 on the {q-Diamonds}, bringing a {3-Clubs}. Kornuth checked and Galfond shoved the last $11K in. Kornuth made the crying call with {q-Hearts}{q-Clubs}{10-Diamonds}{6-Diamonds} but was against {k-Spades}{8-Spades}{j-Clubs}{10-Clubs} for the nuts.

At the same time, Galfond scooped a $22K pot getting a blocker size paid off on the river when he had quad eights, and he was up more than $50K in under 15 minutes of action.

The next hour would see Kornuth cut into the lead at first, but Galfond just wound up building up to a couple of $50K stacks to increase his edge to around $70K overall on the day. A few minor swings over the next hour would see them wind up at about the same place before action got heavy again.

Galfond earned a $36K pot with a river check-raise holding aces full, then moments later, he three-bet and called a four-bet to bring a board of {2-Diamonds}{a-Hearts}{5-Hearts}. Kornuth potted in position for most of his remaining monies and Galfond shoved.

Galfond: {k-Diamonds}{k-Hearts}{5-Diamonds}{5-Clubs}
Kornuth: {a-Spades}{k-Spades}{j-Diamonds}{3-Diamonds}

Kornuth was in rough shape with his best hope being a gutter, but he did pick up another straight draw on the {q-Diamonds}. Galfond was the one improving to a full house on the {2-Hearts} river, though.

The rough session continued for Kornuth when he called a three-bet and then $1,200 more on the {8-Clubs}{5-Clubs}{2-Clubs} flop. Galfond checked the {k-Clubs} turn and Kornuth went with his own small sizing of $2,000. Galfond potted to $12,000 and Kornuth stuck around for the inconsequential {6-Hearts} river. There was $30K in the middle so Galfond jammed for $20K effective, with Kornuth letting it go without a fight.

They were almost $28K deep on the other table at the same time as Kornuth raised preflop and Galfond called, bringing a {6-Clubs}{3-Diamonds}{q-Spades} flop. Galfond check-called $900, then he checked and faced a pot-sized bet of $3K on the {j-Spades}. Galfond check-raised pot to $12K there also, and Kornuth shoved.

Galfond: {k-Hearts}{q-Hearts}{q-Diamonds}{7-Hearts}
Kornuth: {8-Spades}{6-Spades}{6-Hearts}{7-Diamonds}

Both had monster hands but Galfond was in command with top set. The {9-Hearts} river ensured him of a pot north of $55K.

Buried nearly $150K, Kornuth opted to call it an early day.

Hands Played: 350
Results: Phil Galfond +~$143,000
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Day 28

Unlike the previous day, things would start off a bit more slowly, until about an hour in when Kornuth got the four-bet in with the players about $28K deep. Galfond peeled and then led out for half-pot, $5,400, on {5-Clubs}{8-Diamonds}{9-Diamonds}. Kornuth shoved and stacks were in for a pot just shy of $56K.

Galfond: {8-Hearts}{6-Hearts}{8-Spades}{6-Clubs}
Kornuth: {a-Hearts}{9-Hearts}{9-Spades}{6-Spades}

It was a nasty cooler, with Kornuth on the better end of it. Galfond still had a shot with his gutter, but that ended when a {5-Spades} hit, and Kornuth made quads on the river to boot.

Kornuth kept rolling on that table until he had built a stack just shy of $100K, meaning Galfond was down a few buy-ins as they approached the two-hour mark. Galfond did snag a $33K pot when he potted a completed board of {6-Diamonds}{7-Hearts}{k-Hearts}{4-Diamonds}{2-Spades} with the nuts and got paid, but it was still a fairly ugly start for him.

A bit after the break, Kornuth half-potted a {q-Clubs}{a-Clubs}{7-Diamonds} flop after three-betting then went full pot for $7,200 on the {4-Hearts}. Galfond set him in for $11,098 more and Kornuth quickly called with {a-Hearts}{q-Hearts}{j-Diamonds}{3-Diamonds} but top two was no good against {7-Clubs}{4-Clubs}{7-Spades}{5-Diamonds} for a set. The {9-Hearts} wasn't what Kornuth needed, and Galfond raked in a stack.

Another $30K pot went to Galfond when he checked and picked off a pot-sized river bet of $10K on a board of {5-Diamonds}{j-Diamonds}{8-Clubs}{3-Clubs}{7-Clubs}. Kornuth had been bluffing with {a-Diamonds}{k-Clubs}{a-Spades}{3-Hearts} but Galfond had a pretty weak holding with {k-Hearts}{5-Clubs}{8-Spades}{7-Spades} and opted to call anyway.

It was Kornuth's turn to play hero when Galfond check-raised from $900 to $2,400 on {10-Diamonds}{4-Clubs}{3-Spades}. Kornuth called then called a pot-sized bet of $6K on the {8-Hearts}. On the {4-Diamonds} river, Galfond shoved for $13,596 effective, a bit over two-thirds of the pot. Kornuth went into his time bank then called with {a-Clubs}{3-Clubs}{k-Hearts}{10-Spades}, having had his two pair counterfeit but still holding full house blockers. It was good as Galfond had been bluffing with {q-Clubs}{5-Clubs}{9-Hearts}{3-Hearts} from the start.

Kornuth got the better of the stretch run and put a dent in Galfond's $300K upswing with a medium win.

Hands Played: 500
Results: Chance Kornuth +~$48,000
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Day 29

Kornuth won the majority of the bigger pots over the first hour to build a lead of about $50,000, but Galfond emerged victorious the first time stacks went in. Kornuth called a three-bet then potted most of the effective stacks over a pot-sized continuation-bet on {9-Clubs}{a-Spades}{10-Hearts}. He had a big draw with {q-Clubs}{j-Clubs}{8-Clubs}{6-Hearts} up against the top two of Galfond. Kornuth missed the turn and watched as Galfond made aces full on the river to reduce his edge to around $30,000.

Galfond then squared things up when Kornuth three-bet and led small for $1,200 on {k-Clubs}{2-Hearts}{5-Clubs}. Galfond called and both players opted to see the river for free after a {4-Hearts} turn, with a {q-Hearts} arriving on the end. Kornuth checked and Galfond potted for $6K. Kornuth check-piled $24,000, nearly all of Galfond's snack. Galfond looked him up pretty quickly with {k-Hearts}{9-Hearts}{7-Hearts}{9-Spades} for the second nuts with a blocker, and Kornuth had {a-Diamonds}{a-Hearts}{10-Spades}{7-Clubs} for the bare-ace bluff. Galfond collected a $54K pot, one of the larger ones in the challenge.

The positive variance continued for Galfond when he called a four-bet and {10-Hearts}{j-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds} flopped. The rest of the money went in with Galfond looking for eights and diamonds holding {a-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds}{9-Clubs}{5-Clubs} and Kornuth holding a preflop powerhouse: {a-Spades}{k-Spades}{k-Hearts}{2-Hearts}. He had to be pleased with the {q-Clubs} turn but far less so with the {9-Diamonds} river as Galfond made his flush.

One of the biggest pots went down when the players were more than 150 bigs deep and they saw the turn for free, making the board {2-Hearts}{k-Diamonds}{4-Clubs}{6-Diamonds}. Kornuth turned on the aggression again with $2,700 but Galfond made it $8,800. Kornuth called, bringing the {5-Clubs}. Kornuth piled the last $20K, just under the pot, and Galfond snapped it with {8-Clubs}{7-Diamonds}{5-Hearts}{3-Diamonds}, having both turned the nuts and rivered the nuts. Kornuth showed busted aces again: {a-Spades}{a-Hearts}{7-Hearts}{6-Hearts}, and it was a $61K pot to Galfond.

Another stack went to Galfond in a four-bet pot when Kornuth's nut wrap again failed to turn into a winner, this time versus bottom set, and Galfond had built a handsome lead of about $80,000.

The second half of the day had a much different outcome.

First, Kornuth stacked Galfond after flopping kings full on {4-Spades}{4-Clubs}{k-Spades}. Galfond had trips and raised a small c-bet then barreled off with a small full house to drop a stack.

A cooler then developed on a board of {9-Hearts}{2-Spades}{4-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds} as Kornuth check-raised all in on the turn. Galfond was happy to get his money in with {j-Hearts}{10-Spades}{4-Spades}{4-Clubs} for a set and open-ender but Kornuth had him pipped with {q-Clubs}{8-Clubs}{8-Spades}{9-Diamonds}, holding a straight blocker to boot.

Kornuth continued to close strong when he three-bet preflop and led large for $2,400 on {4-Clubs}{10-Diamonds}{9-Diamonds}. Galfond called and the turn was a {9-Clubs}. Kornuth's turn to check and he called a half-pot wager of $4,200. Kornuth checked the {j-Diamonds} river and Galfond set him in for $15,826, just a bit under the pot. Kornuth went into his time bank then called with {k-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds}{8-Spades}{10-Hearts} for a flush, while Galfond had the ideal bluffing combo with {q-Spades}{j-Spades}{10-Clubs}{4-Hearts}.

Galfond then check-potted on {7-Clubs}{6-Hearts}{q-Diamonds} after three-betting pre, getting stacks in with {a-Spades}{a-Clubs}{10-Diamonds}{8-Spades} against {8-Diamonds}{7-Spades}{6-Clubs}{4-Hearts}. Kornuth found one of his ideal turns as the {5-Clubs} significantly reduced Galfond's equity, and the {3-Diamonds} river kept his straight best.

They were almost 150 bigs deep again when they played for stacks one more time. Kornuth four-bet it preflop and then potted a {j-Clubs}{3-Diamonds}{q-Clubs} texture. There was more than $24K left to play with $10,800 in the middle and Kornuth potted again. Galfond tanked then stuck it in on a check-raise.

Galfond: {a-Hearts}{9-Hearts}{10-Clubs}{8-Spades}
Kornuth: {a-Diamonds}{10-Diamonds}{a-Clubs}{k-Spades}

Galfond was in trouble with a weaker hand and weaker draw, and the {6-Hearts} and {q-Hearts} didn't bail him out.

The result of all the massive hands was a tiny win for Kornuth, effectively just knocking off a chunk of the hands to get him closer to victory.

Hands Played: 550
Results: Chance Kornuth +~$3,000
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Day 30

Stacks went in just minutes into the day's play on a flop of {6-Diamonds}{q-Diamonds}{7-Spades}. Kornuth bet-three-bet for nearly all his money after Galfond raise his small flop c-bet, and Galfond had committed himself with {k-Diamonds}{10-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds}{4-Diamonds}, flopping well with the ugly hand. Kornuth had top set but watched as Galfond smacked the {5-Hearts} turn for a straight and held on the river.

Kornuth forced another big pot when he three-bet pre and bet small with $1,200 on {10-Clubs}{k-Hearts}{q-Hearts}. Galfond called, bringing a {9-Hearts}. Kornuth bet $4,000 and Galfond continued to the {2-Diamonds}. Kornuth made a pot-sized shove of $13.8K and Galfond looked him up after a long tank with {q-Diamonds}{8-Hearts}{6-Hearts}{5-Clubs} for a flush but it was no good against {a-Spades}{a-Hearts}{10-Hearts}{j-Clubs}.

Galfond lost several decent pots that followed but he dealt the big blow in a four-bet pot when Kornuth was unable to run down his double-suited kings despite flopping a 17-out wrap and turning a pair to boot. He snagged a couple of more big pots with uncalled pot-sized wagers and appeared to be up around a buy-in heading into break.

Kornuth bit out of a big chunk of that when he three-bet and slowed down with a check on {j-Diamonds}{6-Clubs}{5-Spades}. Galfond bet half the pot, $1,800, and Kornuth called. The turn was the {8-Clubs} and Kornuth check-potted over a small bet. Galfond decided to go with his hand, and it was a big one.

Galfond: {j-Clubs}{3-Clubs}{8-Hearts}{7-Spades}
Kornuth: {q-Clubs}{10-Clubs}{9-Hearts}{6-Hearts}

Kornuth's draw was so massive that equities were almost even, and he found the nuts with the {7-Diamonds}. He won a $15K pot at the same time on the other table with a big bet on a double-paired board, and things were about square again.

Galfond won almost a full stack when he three-barreled {7-Spades}{j-Diamonds}{q-Diamonds}{q-Spades}{5-Spades} after three-betting. Kornuth called his $12K river bet but couldn't beat {8-Clubs}{7-Clubs}{7-Hearts}{6-Hearts} for sevens full.

Nothing too terribly significant happened down the stretch, and the session was once again close to a wash with Kornuth eking out a small win.

Hands Played: 600
Results: Chance Kornuth +~$9,500
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Day 31

The first hour was fairly uneventful and saw Galfond build a lead of $20K or $30K before they went to break. The second was looking much the same with Galfond inching his way to some profit before a huge hand occurred when they were more than 150 blinds deep.

Galfond was the aggressor preflop but it was Kornuth barreling post as Galfond check-called $1,800 on the {9-Hearts}{q-Diamonds}{7-Spades} flop and then full pot, $7,200, on the {k-Hearts} turn. On the {7-Clubs}, Galfond potted into Kornuth for $20,878 effective, just under the pot. Kornuth tanked awhile then called with {10-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds}{4-Hearts}{4-Spades}, having stumbled into trips after bluffing the turn. It was no good, as Galfond showed {q-Spades}{q-Clubs}{10-Spades}{9-Diamonds}.

Another pot almost as large occurred following a {7-Clubs}{6-Hearts}{3-Spades} flop with Galfond slowing down by checking after three-betting pre. Kornuth took the opportunity to bet $2,400, which Galfond called. On the {9-Spades}, Galfond checked again and Kornuth sized fairly big with $6,300. Galfond potted it and Kornuth snap-called all in, about $20K more, for a pot of $61K.

Kornuth: {q-Spades}{5-Spades}{8-Hearts}{7-Hearts}
Galfond: {a-Diamonds}{9-Diamonds}{a-Hearts}{9-Clubs}

Kornuth was in great shape with the straight, but a {7-Spades} river gave him improvement he didn't want. He was stuck in a hole of about $70K as they went on break for the third time.

The rough run continued when he three-bet preflop and then barreled off on a board of {9-Diamonds}{6-Clubs}{2-Diamonds}{10-Hearts}{3-Clubs}. He bet small on the flop then potted turn for $6K and shoved river for just under the pot. Galfond looked him up light with {k-Diamonds}{10-Diamonds}{q-Clubs}{2-Spades} for tens and deuces, but they were good as Kornuth missed a nut wrap with {a-Hearts}{q-Diamonds}{j-Clubs}{8-Clubs}.

Roles were reversed when Galfond bet a $2,400 into $7,200 on a {q-Clubs}{j-Diamonds}{4-Diamonds}{4-Spades} board and then potted the {6-Diamonds}. Kornuth shoved for a pittance more. Galfond called as he'd stumbled into a boat with {a-Clubs}{6-Clubs}{6-Hearts}{3-Hearts}, but Kornuth had {q-Spades}{3-Spades}{q-Diamonds}{9-Diamonds}.

They then exchanged stacks. First, they got it in on {k-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds}{8-Clubs}{2-Spades}. Both had big draws with a pair but Galfond's {j-Hearts}{10-Diamonds}{9-Hearts}{9-Diamonds} trumped {9-Clubs}{2-Clubs}{6-Diamonds}{4-Diamonds} in nearly all aspects and held on the river. Then, Galfond four-bet and called Kornuth's five-bet for almost all the money. He had {a-Hearts}{j-Hearts}{q-Diamonds}{q-Spades} when they showed down on the {4-Diamonds}{2-Hearts}{j-Clubs} flop, and Galfond had only backdoors that didn't find a home with {10-Diamonds}{6-Diamonds}{8-Clubs}{7-Clubs}.

Kornuth snagged another stack when Galfond shoved two pair and a gutter on the turn only to run into turned top set of aces.

"BingShui" was back in business. He snagged yet another stack when they got it in on {j-Diamonds}{6-Spades}{2-Hearts}. Both had top two but it was Galfond's {j-Hearts}{10-Diamonds}{9-Clubs}{6-Clubs} nailing the {9-Spades} turn against {a-Hearts}{6-Hearts}{j-Spades}{10-Spades}. Kornuth still had redraws, however, and the {2-Spades} was just the ticket for him.

The comeback wasn't complete, but Kornuth did eat into what was once about a six-figure win. He managed to hold his lead despite giving up about $28K.

Hands Played: 500
Results: Phil Galfond +~$28,000
Full session video

Day 32

Galfond was already up about a buy-in from winning some early pots when he doubled his lead on a cooler. He had called a three-bet only to see Kornuth check the {10-Clubs}{q-Hearts}{9-Spades} texture. Galfond put in a half-pot bet of $1,800 and followed up with pot on the {6-Clubs} turn. Kornuth check-raised all in this time for $16,400 but his {j-Diamonds}{8-Diamonds}{j-Hearts}{7-Hearts} was stone dead against {k-Clubs}{j-Spades}{6-Diamonds}{5-Diamonds}.

The cooler went right back the other way when Galfond three-bet and then fired in one-third sizings on every street as the board came {j-Diamonds}{k-Diamonds}{10-Clubs}{10-Diamonds}{9-Diamonds}. On the river, Kornuth shoved for $18K over the $3,200 that Galfond bet and he called with {k-Hearts}{k-Spades}{10-Spades}{8-Spades} but was beaten by {8-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds}{5-Diamonds}{5-Clubs} for a straight flush.

Kornuth then put on his hero cape to square things up in a big pot. He three-bet and sized down with $1,200 on {j-Diamonds}{4-Spades}{q-Spades} and Galfond called to bring the {2-Clubs} on the turn. Kornuth continued small again for $2,000 and Galfond made it $7,400. Kornuth called and checked the {k-Hearts}. Galfond shoved for $16,548 effective and Kornuth found the call with {k-Spades}{8-Spades}{q-Hearts}{j-Hearts}. It was good as Galfond had just {j-Clubs}{9-Diamonds}{7-Hearts}{7-Spades}. Send the $54K to Kornuth.

Galfond had only a small edge heading into the final hour. From there, he caught heat.

The stream cut in mid-hand with Kornuth betting $2,700 into $3,600 on a board of {9-Hearts}{7-Hearts}{9-Diamonds}{4-Clubs}. Galfond called and the river was a {q-Clubs}. Kornuth bet $5,555 and Galfond piled. Kornuth had just over $11K back and called with {a-Spades}{a-Diamonds}{5-Diamonds}{2-Clubs} after some thought. Galfond had flopped it: {9-Clubs}{7-Spades}{6-Diamonds}{4-Hearts}.

They were $27K deep when Kornuth five-bet in $16,200, with Galfond peeling to the {4-Hearts}{k-Spades}{3-Spades} flop. The last $11K went in at that point.

Kornuth: {a-Diamonds}{k-Diamonds}{k-Hearts}{j-Diamonds}
Galfond: {10-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds}{9-Hearts}{6-Hearts}

It was a beautiful spot for Kornuth put he did have a gutter to fade. That became a double gutter on the {q-Clubs} turn and the {5-Spades} river brought what he originally feared to send the $54K pot to Galfond.

When it was all over, Kornuth had lost his long-held lead for the first time in more than a month, setting up a second-half battle that's anyone's game.

Hands Played: 600
Results: Phil Galfond +~$96,000
Full session video

Day 33

Kornuth was on the attack early as he took down most of the big pots en route to building a lead of about $40,000.

After losing a bit of ground, he reasserted his early lead when they played for stacks after a {9-Spades}{3-Hearts}{j-Spades} flop. Galfond led for $1,200 after three-betting and Kornuth raised to $7,200. Galfond blasted right back all in for 23K effective, and the pot was over $50K when Kornuth called.

Kornuth: {j-Hearts}{j-Diamonds}{7-Hearts}{6-Hearts}
Galfond: {k-Diamonds}{k-Spades}{6-Spades}{9-Hearts}

Running offsuit queens failed to bring home Galfond's draw.

A single-raised pot would turn huge shortly after when Galfond continuation-bet $900 on a {6-Clubs}{9-Hearts}{4-Diamonds} flop and Kornuth made it $2,750. Galfond responded with $9,450. Kornuth peeled to the {3-Diamonds} and the last $10K went in courtesy of Kornuth, who had made the nuts with {j-Clubs}{7-Clubs}{5-Clubs}{8-Diamonds}. Galfond had improved as well, albeit less so, with {a-Diamonds}{9-Diamonds}{10-Hearts}{8-Clubs} but he couldn't find any help on the {2-Spades} river.

Galfond recovered a stack on an eyebrow-raising hand where he barreled flop for half pot and turn for full pot, $7,200, on {4-Spades}{q-Hearts}{3-Spades}{7-Clubs}. Kornuth check-called, taking a passive line after three-betting, and the river was a {j-Clubs}. Galfond jammed the last $9,200 in and Kornuth tank-called with just {a-Spades}{8-Spades}{8-Diamonds}{10-Clubs} for just pocket eights, while Galfond had {a-Diamonds}{q-Spades}{7-Spades}{3-Hearts} for turned queens up.

The furious first hour-plus concluded with another interesting pot as only $3K was in the middle on a board of {5-Hearts}{2-Hearts}{9-Diamonds}{a-Hearts}{8-Diamonds}. Galfond bet $1,000, Kornuth raised to $4,750, and Galfond potted it to $17,250. Kornuth looked him up with a queen-high flush and won against {a-Diamonds}{k-Hearts}{7-Spades}{6-Clubs}.

Action wasn't quite as heavy leading into the next break, although Galfond did threaten a nearly $80K pot when he raised turn and crammed river for $23,621 into $30K on a board of {8-Clubs}{3-Clubs}{9-Spades}{3-Hearts}{j-Clubs}. Kornuth mucked it but the stretch would overall prove to be roughly a wash.

An unstreamed hand sent another stack to Galfond but he remained down more than a buy-in.

Things would pick up a but over the final hour. It started with Galfond earning what passed for a low-sweat stack in PLO as he had Kornuth fairly well smashed in a three-bet pot on a {6-Hearts}{k-Diamonds}{5-Diamonds} flop. Kornuth bet-three-bet his {k-Hearts}{8-Hearts}{7-Diamonds}{10-Clubs} but couldn't be happy to see Galfond turn over {k-Clubs}{j-Diamonds}{4-Diamonds}{7-Clubs} for a superior hand and draw. The {3-Spades} improved Galfond to a straight and the {j-Spades} didn't save Kornuth.

One of the sickest pots of the challenge went down when Kornuth three-bet and Galfond called, leading to a {10-Hearts}{4-Clubs}{6-Hearts} flop. Kornuth continued small for $1,200 and Galfond peeled to the {9-Spades}. Kornuth bet $4,500 this time and Galfond stuck in his $17,300. Kornuth called since he'd turned a set with {a-Diamonds}{8-Spades}{9-Hearts}{9-Clubs}. However, he was crushed by {10-Clubs}{10-Spades}{6-Clubs}{2-Diamonds}. His best chance was finding a seven, but he banged off the {9-Diamonds} river for quads instead.

The strong start plus strong finish was enough to overcome the slide in the middle and equaled a $60K win for Kornuth.

Hands Played: 550
Results: Chance Kornuth +~$60,000
Full session video

Day 34

This session proved short as internet problems short-circuited things. They played a brief few dozen hands in which Kornuth added a small amount to his winnings before cutting things off.

Hands Played: 50
Results: Chance Kornuth +~$8,500

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

Day 35

Both players took their fair share of $15K pots early with neither able to get any real momentum until Kornuth called a three-bet and was checked to on {5-Spades}{9-Spades}{6-Hearts}. He bet $1,200 and Galfond called, bringing a {5-Clubs}. Galfond checked again and Kornuth bet nearly pot with $5,700. Galfond clicked in a small raise to $13,000, which Kornuth called to make the pot $32K. Both players checked the {3-Hearts} river, with Galfond showing {q-Diamonds}{10-Diamonds}{10-Hearts}{j-Hearts} for tens up and Kornuth on {9-Clubs}{4-Clubs}{8-Spades}{7-Spades} for a flopped straight.

A similar sort of spot went down when, with only $3K in the middle, Kornuth potted a texture of {7-Hearts}{j-Spades}{2-Hearts}{3-Clubs} board. Galfond check-potted right back to get more than half of his chips in, but the {8-Hearts} river must not have been what he wanted to see. He checked and Kornuth set him in for the last $10K, and Galfond tank-folded to fall behind by about a buy-in.

About four hours into the battle, the first all-in showdown finally occurred. Galfond three-bet then checked a {5-Spades}{k-Diamonds}{2-Clubs} board, with Kornuth putting in another small sizing of $1,200. Galfond raised it up to $4,600. Kornuth called. On the {10-Spades} turn, Galfond potted and called when Kornuth shoved in a few thousand more.

Kornuth: {9-Clubs}{8-Hearts}{2-Hearts}{2-Diamonds}
Galfond: {a-Spades}{j-Spades}{q-Clubs}{7-Diamonds}

Galfond's air had turned a dream card and he nailed the {j-Clubs} to make the nuts.

Galfond earned another stack shortly after when he set-over-set Kornuth that turned into boat-over-boat on the turn, with Kornuth calling down all the barrels and seeing the bad news. That put him in a hole of a couple of buy-ins.

Kornuth caught Galfond bluffing on a board of {8-Hearts}{5-Diamonds}{6-Diamonds}{q-Hearts}{9-Clubs} for a $32K pot. Kornuth had potted turn for $3,600, with Galfond calling. On the river, Galfond potted when checked to, and Kornuth tank-called with {k-Hearts}{5-Hearts}{q-Clubs}{q-Spades} for a set. It was good on the straight-filled board as Galfond had too many pairs and no seven: {8-Spades}{5-Spades}{6-Hearts}{3-Clubs}.

Kornuth about squared things up right after that, when he called a three-bet and his opponent took a passive line with checks on all streets as it ran {9-Clubs}{q-Hearts}{5-Diamonds}{6-Spades}{q-Diamonds}. Galfond called bets of $1,200, then $4,100, then faced a pot-sized shove of $14K. He quickly called, having slowplayed {10-Clubs}{7-Clubs}{9-Hearts}{8-Hearts} for the turned nuts, but Kornuth had rivered him with {q-Spades}{j-Spades}{6-Clubs}{5-Clubs}.

The rest of the medium-sized pots went Kornuth's way as well down the stretch and he booked another small win with the late comeback.

Hands Played: 600
Results: Chance Kornuth +~$23,000
Full session video

Day 36

The early action was pretty slow, and it was surprisingly a {6-Hearts}{j-Spades}{j-Diamonds} flop that spurred the first massive pot. Galfond had three-bet and continued tiny for $600, while Kornuth made it $2,400. Galfond came back with $6,200 and Kornuth called, leaving just under the $16K pot to play on the {4-Diamonds}. Galfond shoved and Kornuth called.

Galfond: {9-Diamonds}{7-Diamonds}{8-Hearts}{5-Spades}
Kornuth: {a-Diamonds}{5-Diamonds}{j-Clubs}{10-Spades}

Galfond had total air and turned what he thought was a dream card, but he was still in pretty rough shape since diamonds were dead. The {9-Hearts} didn't do anything for him. Everything else was roughly a wash and Kornuth was up about a buy-in at first break.

A single-raised pot would see another big one develop as Kornuth bet $900 after raising pre and Galfond made it $3,900 on a check-raise on {3-Clubs}{8-Hearts}{6-Spades}. Galfond potted the {j-Spades} turn for $9K and Kornuth called. Galfond checked with $12,440, about half the pot, left to play on the {9-Diamonds}. Kornuth shoved and Galfond was ready with a snap-call holding {10-Hearts}{9-Hearts}{7-Spades}{3-Diamonds} for the second nuts. Kornuth had {10-Diamonds}{10-Clubs}{8-Spades}{6-Hearts} for two pair and straight blockers.

Kornuth had fallen a bit behind when the next notable pot occurred, starting with Galfond raising and Kornuth three-betting then continuing for $1,200 on {q-Clubs}{3-Diamonds}{2-Hearts}. Galfond called, and he was the one potting in position for $6K on the straightening {5-Clubs} turn. The nuts changed again with the {3-Hearts} river, and Kornuth checked. Galfond shoved for $12,194 and Kornuth looked him up in a hurry since he had {a-Diamonds}{k-Diamonds}{q-Spades}{3-Spades}. It was a painful river for Galfond, who had turned the nuts with {k-Hearts}{8-Clubs}{6-Diamonds}{4-Diamonds}.

The finishing stretch was all Galfond. It started when Kornuth c-bet small with $1,200 on {7-Diamonds}{2-Diamonds}{5-Clubs} and Galfond made it $4,200. Kornuth stuck around for the {8-Clubs}. Galfond potted for most of the remaining monies and Kornuth tanked then stuck it in, creating a $47K pot when Galfond called.

Galfond: {7-Spades}{6-Diamonds}{5-Diamonds}{5-Hearts}
Kornuth: {k-Clubs}{k-Spades}{6-Clubs}{10-Diamonds}

The {a-Spades} river kept Galfond's set best.

Galfond continued sweeping up pots as Kornuth folded to several massive river bets, until he was stuck around $50K. Kornuth then four-bet it after the final break and put in a small bet of $3,600 into $10,800 on {10-Diamonds}{10-Hearts}{7-Diamonds}. Galfond shoved and Kornuth called for a $44K pot.

Galfond: {j-Hearts}{6-Hearts}{10-Spades}{5-Spades}
Kornuth: {a-Clubs}{10-Clubs}{q-Spades}{j-Spades}

Galfond only had two live cards he could hit to scoop, but one appeared after the {2-Diamonds} turn as the {6-Diamonds} fell.

A final stack went Galfond's way when they got in a raising war on {j-Clubs}{q-Spades}{6-Diamonds}. Stacks flew in with Galfond holding {q-Diamonds}{q-Hearts}{10-Diamonds}{7-Spades} for top set. Kornuth had {k-Diamonds}{j-Spades}{10-Hearts}{9-Hearts} for a massive wrap. He nailed it on the {9-Diamonds} but Galfond still had a ton of outs with his flush draw. He made quads on the {q-Clubs}.

The late surge going Galfond's way added up to another big win, almost $90K.

Hands Played: 500
Results: Phil Galfond +~$88,000
Full session video

Day 37

Each player ran up a two buy-in stack, then they played a pot that seemed to be on the small side since it was just a Kornuth three-bet and then a series of checks until the board read {8-Spades}{5-Diamonds}{3-Spades}{5-Clubs}{j-Spades}. Finally, Kornuth bet $1,200. Galfond made it $6,000 and Kornuth responded by shoving all in for $20,792. Galfond tank-called with {a-Clubs}{j-Clubs}{k-Spades}{2-Spades} and his flush was good against {a-Hearts}{j-Hearts}{8-Hearts}{q-Clubs}.

They then played a four-bet pot and {k-Diamonds}{3-Hearts}{k-Spades}. Galfond checked and four-bettor Kornuth went small with $2,700 into $10,800. Galfond made it $7,200 and Kornuth called, bringing a {2-Spades} that checked through to the {5-Clubs}. Galfond jammed for $11,694. Kornuth called with {a-Spades}{a-Clubs}{4-Clubs}{7-Hearts} for a runner wheel and that was a winner against {k-Clubs}{10-Clubs}{q-Spades}{j-Diamonds}.

Kornuth's momentum continued as he won a $32K pot without showdown and then scooped another big one in the same fashion, check-calling down on {4-Diamonds}{5-Hearts}{8-Clubs}{7-Diamonds}{j-Diamonds} until Galfond potted river for $12K. Kornuth shoved all in for just $10K more effective and Galfond released.

Galfond then had a dominant stretch, but it wasn't punctuated with any huge showdowns. He simply went on a nice run dragging most of the pots, going from down $10,000 or so to up a couple of buy-ins.

Kornuth then went on his own run, and both players were near $40K on each table. However, they opted to keep playing deep, which meant either player could drag a $70,000-plus pot at any moment. Alas, it wasn't to be, and they quit with what Kornuth reported to be a $5K win for him.

Hands Played: 500
Results: Chance Kornuth +~$5,500
Full session video

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  • Can Phil Galfond hold his latest lead over Chance Kornuth or will the seesaw continue?

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