Phil Galfond Defeats Chance Kornuth in Third Galfond Challenge

  • Kornuth surrendered with fewer than 10,000 out of 35,000 hands remaining
  • Galfond won $726,500 plus a $250,000 side bet
  • Both players received universal praise in the poker community
  • Galfond has now won all three of his challenges in the past year
Finger tilting the king piece to surrender a chess match
With fewer than 10,000 hands to go, Chance Kornuth threw in the towel in the Galfond Challenge, giving Phil Galfond a $726,500 victory. [Image:]

Kornuth surrendered with 9,600 hands to go

Phil Galfond has won his third match in the Galfond Challenge, accepting a concession from Chance Kornuth over the weekend. Galfond was $726,500 ahead when Kornuth called it quits 25,400 hands into what was to be a 35,000 hand competition. It turned out to be a nearly $1m victory in total, as Kornuth also had to pay Galfond a $250,000 side bet.

“need to catch some serious heat” to make a comeback

On Friday, January 22, after a $126,000 losing session, Kornuth tweeted that he was going to “need to catch some serious heat” to make a comeback. After losing another $46,000 on Saturday, he waved the white flag, tweeting:

Galfond complimented his opponent, joking that he was “unpleasantly surprised” at how well Kornuth played.

“He tested my game in ways no other opponents had,” Galfond added, “exposing weaknesses I wasn’t aware of, and I’m stronger now for it.”

Respect all around

Kudos from the poker community were abundant for both players. To put such massive sums of money at risk and allowing the world to watch as the games streamed online was something most people would not do.

to put it all on the line in front of the world to see takes courage”

High-stakes poker pro MJ Gonzales, who himself is preparing to embark upon a series of $500/$1,000-$1,000/$2,000 heads-up battles of his own, praised Kornuth, saying: “To put it all on the line in front of the world to see takes courage and isn’t something most would do. Thank you!”

Alex “Thallo” Epstein, a World Series of Poker bracelet winner and nosebleed stakes cash game player, made the good point that the final win/loss amount does not tell the entire story:

Poker vlogger Joey Ingram called Phil Galfond a “legend,” adding that he is “very grateful to have an ambassador like yourself running in the streets of poker to balance out all this chaos.”

One confused person criticized Galfond for “taunting” Kornuth, thinking that he was being sarcastic in his praise of his downed opponent when he clearly was not. Other than that, however, responses were universally positive for both players.

Galfond is three-for-three

The Galfond Challenge began almost exactly a year ago, with Phil Galfond, a former poker pro and founder of the RunItOnce online poker room, taking on pros and poker coaches in high-stakes matches. The first competition against “VeniVidi1993” was the most notable to date, as Galfond made a nearly impossible comeback from being down nearly $1m to clinch the challenge with just 75 hands remaining.

In mid-February, Galfond took a break from his match against VeniVidi1993 because he was doing so poorly and felt he needed to reevaluate. He considered quitting, sacrificing any opportunity to win some money back, plus a €200,000 ($242,800) side bet he would have owed. Instead, he profited €1,671.58 ($2,029.30) and won a €100,000 ($121,400) side bet from his opponent.

In May 2020, Galfond completed 15,000 hands of €150/€300 ($182.10/$364.20) Pot-Limit Omaha against Ioannis “ActionFreak” Kontonatsios, winning €114,765.66 ($139,325.51) plus a €150,000 ($182,100) side bet.

Galfond does technically have another challenge in progress against Bill Perkins and the “Thirst Lounge,” but they only played two sessions in April, with Galfond up about $90,000.

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