Galfond Challenge: Kornuth Waves White Flag Down $726K

Another match, another victory for Phil Galfond.

Another match has ended in the Galfond Challenge and another opponent has bowed to the “washed-up ex-pro” who remains perfect thus far.

After reaching a deficit of $726,500 with less than 10,000 hands remaining, Chance Kornuth has opted to wave the white flag, crowning Phil Galfond once again.

Kornuth had put together a promising stretch, holding the late almost the whole way from late October to early December.

However, Galfond erupted from that point on. From Dec. 9 through Jan. 23, he turned an even match into a lop-sided affair with 11 wins in 15 sessions, including four of the six-figure flavor. That left Kornuth hopelessly buried, and he decided to face reality after starting a Saturday session in an immediate $46K hole.

Day 42

Follow half a month worth of break, the players got back to it and opened up pretty tamely until a huge pot went down following a Kornuth three-bet and a Galfond call. On a 6-Heartsj-Diamonds3-Spades flop, Kornuth potted for $3,600 and Galfond called, bringing the q-Diamonds. Kornuth potted again for most of Galfond’s remaining money, and Galfond was only too happy to cram with j-Spadesj-Hearts5-Spades7-Clubs for flopped top set. Kornuth still had decent equity with k-Clubsk-Hearts5-Hearts4-Diamonds but couldn’t get there on the 3-Hearts river.

Kornuth worked his way back to even over the next half hour until a small pot of just $2,000 blew up starting on the turn. Galfond checked to Kornuth on 4-Diamonds7-Clubsj-Clubsq-Clubs and Kornuth bet $1,500. Galfond raised to $6,500 and the river was the 7-Hearts. Galfond potted in $15K and Kornuth went deep in the tank before clicking call with k-Clubs3-Clubs8-Hearts7-Diamonds for a king-high flush with a boat blocker. Galfond had a-Heartsa-Clubs4-Hearts8-Diamonds.

Galfond went for an unusual double check-raise in a single-raised pot where he checked a 7-Hearts2-Hearts4-Clubs flop, Kornuth bet $900, and Galfond made it $2,400 before checking the 10-Clubs turn. Kornuth potted in $6,000 and Galfond jammed for $17K, getting snapped off.

Kornuth: a-Diamonds10-Spades10-Hearts5-Diamonds
Galfond: 9-Spades7-Spades6-Spades7-Clubs

Galfond was in brutal shape on the turn and the k-Hearts river didn’t save him.

Kornuth worked up to about a $60K win before Galfond brought it back some. While many decent-sized pots in the low five-figures were played, stacks weren’t exactly flying in left and right. There weren’t many big swings and Kornuth ultimately booked a small win.

Hands Played: 500
Results: Chance Kornuth +~$33,000
Full session video

Day 43

They didn’t take long to get stacks in the following day, as Galfond got a preflop four-bet in and saw 4-Diamonds7-Diamonds2-Hearts flop. Kornuth checked, Galfond potted, and Kornuth stuck the rest in. He was in pretty good shape with q-Diamonds10-Diamonds9-Spades7-Clubs and made two pair on the 10-Hearts river, but it came after a 2-Clubs turn that voided those particular outs, so Galfond took the $40K.

An even bigger pot followed moments later as Galfond three-bet pre then checked a 6-Hearts3-Diamonds7-Clubs texture. Kornuth bet $2,400, two-thirds of the pot, and Galfond potted it to $10,800. Kornuth shoved and Galfond snap-called to create a pot of $51K.

Galfond: 10-Diamonds10-Hearts9-Hearts8-Clubs
Kornuth: 9-Clubs4-Clubs7-Hearts6-Spades

It was an ugly turn from Kornuth’s perspective as the 8-Spades gave Galfond the nuts and he faded any boats or chops on the river.

Galfond’s hot run continued when he got it in behind on a 4-Diamonds5-Diamondsq-Clubs flop after three-betting preflop and potting the flop. Kornuth pot-called the rest with q-Spades6-Spades5-Hearts3-Hearts, with his two pair plus straight draw reducing Galfond’s a-Diamondsj-Diamondsk-Hearts3-Clubs down to a flush draw for immediate outs. The 9-Spades brought a little bit of help for Galfond on the turn and he found the 8-Diamonds river to ship yet another stack.

Kornuth finally found some footing when he called a four-bet and check-raised all in on 7-Diamonds2-Hearts8-Diamonds with 9-Diamonds5-Diamonds8-Clubs7-Hearts. Galfond had a-Spadesa-Diamonds6-Diamonds3-Diamonds for aces with the nut draw, but the 8-Hearts turn rendered most of his outs worthless and the 6-Spades didn’t make him a bigger full house.

Galfond three-bet preflop and bet small with $1,200 on 5-Diamonds9-Clubs10-Hearts, bringing a 3-Clubs. Galfond checked that card and continued with a call when Kornuth sized up, betting $5,200. Galfond opted to lead all in for $15,392, just under the pot, on the 8-Diamonds. Kornuth tank-called with a-Clubs3-Spadesq-Diamonds10-Diamonds and his two pair was good as Galfond had k-Spadesj-Clubsk-Heartsj-Hearts. That brought the challenger within a buy-in or so after a big early deficit.

Perhaps due to the deficit he was facing, Kornuth decided to keep playing on a table where they were 300 blinds deep at one point. Things went well for him there, despite no huge all-in pots being played, and he won about $30,000 from that point til the end of the match on that table.

On the other table, he scooped a couple of $20K pots with big hands to make his way into a nice lead overall. He did drop one $20K pot back down the stretch but still managed to grab a decent win.

Hands Played: 500
Results: Chance Kornuth +~46,500
Full session video

Day 44

Both players had huge hands on the turn in an early pot. The board read j-Spades9-Spades8-Clubs4-Clubs and Galfond, having three-bet pre and led small on the flop, potted for $6,000. Kornuth shoved for $17,000 and Galfond called with k-Clubsj-Clubsj-Hearts3-Hearts for top set and a flush draw. Kornuth had a pair, gutter, and one live flush draw with a-Spades3-Spadesq-Clubs9-Clubs and he watched a blank 7-Hearts arrive to send it to Galfond.

At the same time, though, Kornuth limped and called a raise then saw Galfond lead small with $400 on 6-Diamondsj-Hearts4-Spades. Kornuth made it $1,900 and Galfond called, bringing a 4-Diamonds. Galfond check-called a pot-sized bet of $5,000 then checked the a-Hearts. Kornuth stuck the last $12,500 in and Galfond tanked awhile before calling with a-Diamondsq-Diamondsq-Heartsk-Hearts but was smashed by j-Diamondsj-Clubs3-Clubs2-Clubs.

Things swung back Galfond’s way when he three-bet and they saw a k-Hearts9-Diamonds7-Spades flop. Galfond bet small with $1,200, Kornuth made it $4,200 and Galfond peeled to bring the j-Diamonds. Galfond checked, Kornuth sized down with $3,000 and Galfond called. On the k-Spades river, Galfond check-called off the last $11K and Kornuth showed 10-Hearts9-Hearts9-Clubs5-Hearts for nines full. No good as Galfond held a-Clubsa-Spadesj-Spadesj-Hearts for jacks full.

Not a ton of money swung over the next hour or so, with Galfond hanging onto about a $30K win. Unfortunately for the fans, technical difficulties with Twitch led to the production team shutting down the stream for the day, so Galfond’s eventual win of $80K was mostly not shown.

Hands Played: 500
Results: Phil Galfond +~80,000
Full session video

Day 45

Galfond got the better of the early play but it was a slow process over the course of the first 90 minutes or so as he built a decent little lead of about two buy-ins. He won several pretty big pots without showdown, such as one where he potted a pretty disconnected board on the turn for most of his money and shoved just a quarter pot on the river and got through. Another time, he checked back 5-Spades7-Clubs2-Spades and called a small bet of $1,200 on the 9-Diamonds. He faced a full pot lead of $6,000 on the j-Hearts river and set Kornuth in for $15,958 more, getting through without a call.

They were $30K deep when they played the first massive pot of the day, with Kornuth three-betting then leading small for $1,200 on j-Spades7-Spades5-Clubs. Galfond raised to $4,200, Kornuth potted most of his money in, and Galfond obliged for a $61K pot.

Galfond: j-Clubs9-Spades8-Hearts7-Hearts
Kornuth: a-Spades10-Spades5-Diamonds4-Diamonds

Kornuth couldn’t find any improvement on the turn and river, dropping the key pot.

Another huge pot was built after Kornuth check-called half pot of $1,800 on k-Spades6-Hearts6-Diamonds and saw a q-Clubs. He checked and faced $5,400, responding with another call. He changed gears and led all in for $15,498 on the a-Hearts, and Galfond called with a-Diamonds3-Spades10-Clubs6-Clubs for sixes full. Kornuth had turned queens full with q-Spadesq-Diamonds5-Hearts4-Diamonds, though.

A more dynamic board of 9-Diamonds7-Spades5-Diamonds would see Kornuth bet $1,200 on the button after calling a three-bet, only to see Galfond check-raise to $4,200. They continued to the 8-Diamonds turn and Galfond bet $5,200. Kornuth called, leaving $8,800 back on the 4-Hearts. Galfond put the rest in and Kornuth called with a-Clubs7-Clubs7-Hearts10-Diamonds but was beaten by a-Diamonds6-Diamondsj-Spades10-Hearts for the nut flush.

Right after that, Galfond three-bet preflop and Kornuth called, bringing a board of 5-Clubs3-Spades2-Diamonds9-Clubs after both players checked the flop. Galfond check-called a pot-sized bet of $3,600 and he checked the 10-Hearts river. Kornuth potted again and Galfond woke up with a raise for the last $5,894. Kornuth called with a-Heartsj-Heartsj-Spades4-Diamonds for the wheel but Galfond had flopped the nuts with his danglers: k-Heartsk-Clubs6-Clubs4-Diamonds.

The rush continued when Galfond’s four-bet led to a 5-Hearts6-Spades2-Hearts flop. Kornuth potted and got it in with k-Clubs6-Clubs8-Diamonds5-Diamonds for top two and was up against a-Hearts3-Heartsa-Diamonds6-Diamonds. Galfond missed the k-Spades turn but the 4-Hearts gave him a steel wheel to drag another stack and build his lead to more than three buy-ins.

Another $51K pot was built following a q-Clubs2-Spades9-Clubs flop. Galfond had raised a limp pre and bet out $400 on the flop. Kornuth made it $1,900, Galfond came back with $5,400, and Kornuth called. Galfond potted the 7-Hearts turn and called Kornuth’s remaining $7K or so. He was in a dream spot with top set against top two and Kornuth’s side cards didn’t give him any equity, so Galfond had the pot sewn up.

The killing blow came when Kornuth bet $2,400 into $3,600 on k-Diamonds6-Clubs2-Diamonds after three-betting preflop and Galfond called. Kornuth continued for $6,300 on the 4-Hearts and then shoved $17K in on the 8-Hearts river. Galfond had been lying in wait with j-Diamonds7-Diamonds5-Hearts3-Hearts for the nuts on both the turn and river and Kornuth showed 10-Hearts2-Hearts10-Spades2-Spades for a flopped set.

The devastating session left Kornuth unable to reload a full stack, so they called it a session.

Hands Played: 500
Results: Phil Galfond +~192,000
Full session video

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Day 46

Kornuth went up a stack right away on a board of j-Diamonds7-Clubs3-Clubsq-Clubs. He bet $4,500 into $6,000 in position and Galfond made an unusual raise to $10,200. Kornuth called and then called the last $7K on the 10-Hearts river. Galfond had the bare-ace bluff and Kornuth showed k-Clubsq-Spades5-Clubs6-Diamonds for the second nuts.

There wasn’t much action on a board of 6-Clubsq-Hearts4-Spades6-Hearts4-Clubs, until the river that is. At that point, Kornuth led for $1,200, Galfond made it $4,400, and Kornuth potted back at him to $16,800. Galfond looked him up with j-Diamonds10-Clubs9-Hearts4-Hearts for trips, and Kornuth showed a-Diamondsq-Diamondsj-Spades9-Spades.

They were more than 150 bigs deep when the rare preflop five-bet came out courtesy of Kornuth, who stuck in the $16,200. The last $15K or so went in on the 7-Spadesj-Clubs10-Spades flop for a pot of $63K.

Kornuth: a-Clubsk-Clubsk-Diamondsj-Diamonds
Galfond: a-Spades6-Spades10-Hearts8-Hearts

Galfond improved big-time on the 9-Clubs turn, but Kornuth found the 5-Clubs river to drag the massive pot.

Galfond went for a big bluff-catch when he check-potted for $9,600 over $2,400 on a 7-Hearts6-Clubs4-Diamonds2-Hearts board, bringing a j-Clubs river. He checked with only $10K back and $21K in the pot, and Kornuth stuffed the rest in. Galfond looked him up with j-Diamonds4-Spades5-Diamonds5-Clubs but was waxed by a-Clubs8-Spades5-Spades6-Diamonds for the nuts from start to finish.

Kornuth build a lead of several buy-ins from there. That’s where they sat when an unusual pot went down, with Kornuth limp-three-betting only to face a four-bet to $5,400. He called, and Galfond led small for $3,600 on j-Spades7-Diamonds6-Diamonds. Kornuth shoved and Galfond folded pretty quickly.

Kornuth made it a habit of taking down many of the medium-sized pots with big river bets. Galfond folded to most of them, but even when he looked his opponent up, like on a board of 9-Hearts4-Diamonds5-Diamondsj-Diamonds7-Clubs for $9K, Kornuth showed a king-high flush.

Galfond did earn one stack back down the stretch on a nasty cooler, when he check-called $900 on q-Diamonds2-Spades4-Hearts then checked and faced a pot-sized bet of $3K on the 9-Clubs. Galfond potted to $12,000 and Kornuth shoved for just a bit more.

Kornuth: 5-Hearts2-Hearts2-Diamonds3-Clubs
Galfond: a-Spades9-Spades9-Diamonds4-Clubs

Kornuth still had a decent shot with his straight draw but the board paired with another four on the river. He bluffed off one more with a bet-three-bet holding pocket queens on board with every other Broadway out, but Galfond had it and looked him up. Still, Kornuth did book a win.

Hands Played: 500
Results: Chance Kornuth +~76,000
Full session video

Day 47

Early in the action, Galfond three-bet then checked a flop, which checked through to a board of 10-Hearts3-Diamonds7-Diamondsa-Hearts. Galfond checked again and Kornuth potted for $3,600 only to see Galfond repot. Kornuth thought awhile then got the last few thousand in on top of that with a-Spadesj-Spadesq-Diamonds6-Diamonds. He was in good shape against k-Hearts7-Hearts8-Diamonds5-Diamonds for a weaker pair plus draw, and the q-Spades didn’t improve Galfond.

Galfond went for another check-pot when he three-bet shortly after that, this time on the flop of 7-Diamonds10-Hearts2-Clubs. Kornuth got stacks in with k-Spades7-Spades6-Spades10-Diamonds and was up against a-Spadesj-Clubsj-Spades9-Clubs. Galfond improved to a pair of aces on the rive but it wasn’t enough to beat two pair.

Galfond won enough pots to get where they were 150 blinds deep on both tables, and action somewhat slowed from there. It seemed every time one of the players took down a pot of $15K or more, the other would take down the next one.

Eventually, Galfond did manage to pull back to about even around the four-hour mark. He pulled ahead in what looked to be a small pot with just $2,400 in there on the river. Galfond potted on j-Hearts6-Spades7-Spades7-Hearts6-Diamonds and Kornuth made a small raise to $6,000. Galfond potted it again and Kornuth called for $20.4K but couldn’t beat j-Clubsj-Diamonds8-Diamonds3-Spades for jacks full.

One final big pot also went Galfond’s way when he four-bet pre and potted a 6-Spadesk-Diamonds9-Spades texture. They were more than 150 bigs deep, so when Kornuth check-called, there was still almost $20K to play on the 5-Hearts turn. Kornuth shoved on that card and Galfond called to create a pot of $70K.

Kornuth: a-Spades4-Spadesj-Diamonds5-Diamonds
Galfond: a-Heartsk-Heartsk-Spades3-Clubs

Kornuth had tried pulling a fast one on Galfond but top set wasn’t going anywhere, and the 7-Clubs river sent the monster pot to Galfond.

The relatively tame session — which also featured some technical difficulties — ended with Galfond booking a small win.

Hands Played: 500
Results: Phil Galfond +~46,000
Full session video

Day 48

Kornuth led half pot for $1,800 on 9-Spadesk-Diamonds7-Diamonds and Galfond raised to $5,200. Kornuth peeled to bring the 4-Hearts and he checked. Galfond potted for $14K and Kornuth shoved, with Galfond calling to create a $48K pot. He held a-Clubsk-Hearts9-Diamonds5-Diamonds for top two and diamonds, but the latter was no good for him as Kornuth had q-Heartsq-Diamonds6-Diamonds5-Spades. He binked the 8-Clubs river to make a winning straight, though.

Even as he built up to $60K on that table, though, Galfond slowly maneuvered his own way to a similar stack on the other, so it was about even just before second break when Galfond made an insane hero call. He called a three-bet pre and was checked to on 4-Hearts5-Clubs6-Diamonds. He bet $1,800 and Kornuth called. Both players checked the 9-Spades, bringing a q-Hearts. Kornuth potted in $7,200 and Galfond tank-called. His a-Clubsj-Clubs9-Clubs8-Hearts, good for just a pair of nines, was a winner against a-Diamondsk-Clubs6-Clubs7-Hearts.

Kornuth bet $1,200 into $3,600 on a board of q-Hearts7-Spades2-Hearts9-Diamonds and Galfond made it $4,900 to go. Kornuth continued to the 6-Spades river with just a hair over pot to play. Kornuth checked, Galfond potted in $13,400, and Kornuth shoved the last Benjamin in. Galfond called with q-Diamondsj-Clubs9-Hearts3-Diamonds for top two but was caught on the river going for thin value against k-Diamonds10-Diamondsj-Spades8-Clubs for the nuts.

Down the stretch in the final hour, Galfond was down but then scooped a couple of pots in the $20K range with river shoves that went uncalled.

Then, Kornuth three-barreled off on a-Diamonds10-Clubsj-Diamonds9-Clubs8-Diamonds. He bet small on the flop then $4,500 into $6K on the turn, then shoved $12,500 on the river. It was a little under the pot and Galfond called off after a decent tank with 10-Diamonds6-Diamonds9-Hearts3-Hearts for a flush. It was good against k-Clubs8-Clubsq-Spadesq-Diamonds.

Galfond did enough to earn a small win in a very slow-paced session that saw enough tanking that only 300 or so hands were played.

Hands Played: 300
Results: Phil Galfond +~40,000
Full session video

Day 49

The first pot for stacks was played right off the bat as Kornuth three-bet and then barreled off on k-Spades6-Hearts2-Spadesj-Spades5-Clubs. He bet $4,500 into $7,200 on the turn then mashed it all for about $12K on the river. Galfond met him with a pretty quick call holding q-Spades9-Spadesj-Hearts3-Clubs and Kornuth could only muster 7-Clubs7-Spades4-Hearts4-Diamonds.

Galfond had earned another $25K or so in addition to that first stack when Kornuth four-bet and called a five-bet, seeing a-Spades9-Clubs9-Spades flop. Galfond stuck the last $7,568 and Kornuth quickly called. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t even have an out to quads with k-Spades10-Spadesj-Hearts9-Hearts as Galfond had a-Heartsa-Spades9-Diamonds8-Clubs.

In a flash, Galfond had a lead pushing toward six figures.

Kornuth did snag a couple of stacks in a hurry to keep it competitive. On one board, Galfond potted for $7,200 in position and seemingly reluctantly called off on k-Spades2-Hearts7-Hearts8-Clubs with 6-Spades2-Spades5-Clubs4-Clubs. He was right to be hesitant as Kornuth had k-Clubsk-Diamonds4-Diamonds5-Hearts for a set and some blockers, and the river kept Kornuth best. A similar situation unfolded on 3-Heartsj-Spades10-Spades4-Hearts on the other table, with Galfond pot-calling for stacks holding top two but losing to a set of tens.

They were 200 blinds deep on both tables and opted to keep playing.

Kornuth got hammered back down to $20K but then got it in on 2-Heartsj-Diamondsa-Hearts with j-Hearts6-Hearts10-Clubs5-Clubs and managed to hold versus k-Hearts9-Hearts4-Hearts10-Diamonds, making a full house on the river. Unfortunately for Kornuth, he bluffed off a stack on the other table triple-barreling off on q-Clubsk-Clubs6-Clubs9-Clubs5-Spades with a-Spades3-Spades10-Clubs4-Diamonds. Galfond looked him up light despite a roughly pot-sized shove on the river, showing j-Spades7-Clubs10-Diamonds8-Diamonds.

In all the craziness, Galfond emerged as a winner of about $70K by the time they broke around the three-hour mark.

Galfond lost some of that but then got it all back with a bit of an unusual hand where he three-bet preflop and check-called a half-pot bet of $1,800 on q-Spades4-Hearts5-Clubs before coming out potting on the 10-Clubs. Kornuth was happy to get it in with 5-Spades5-Hearts4-Diamonds3-Hearts for a set but was facing a monster draw in a-Clubs4-Clubsk-Diamondsj-Hearts. The draw completed on the k-Clubs river.

They were more than 150 blinds deep when Galfond got the four-bet in and 8-Spades3-Diamonds9-Diamonds flopped. Kornuth came out potting with $10,800. Galfond just called, bringing a 5-Hearts. Kornuth stuck the last $17,966 effective in and Galfond called for a pot of $68K.

Kornuth: q-Diamonds8-Diamonds10-Spades4-Spades
Galfond: a-Diamondsa-Spadesj-Spades10-Clubs

Galfond had the best of it and the 7-Hearts didn’t trouble him.

In a small pot, Kornuth then tried bet-three-betting on 4-Diamondsj-Clubs10-Hearts3-Spades7-Diamonds only to have Galfond four-bet shove, and Kornuth instantly gave it up. Galfond had a six-figure lead going to the last break.

One final huge pot went to Galfond when he checked 3-Hearts4-Diamondsk-Spades7-Diamonds and Kornuth potted $3,600. Galfond came in with a small raise to $8,800. Kornuth called, bringing a q-Spades. Galfond shoved in the last $14,082 and Kornuth looked him up with a-Heartsq-Hearts7-Hearts7-Spades but the set was no good against j-Diamonds6-Diamonds5-Clubs4-Clubs.

Hands Played: 500
Results: Phil Galfond +~126,000
Full session video

Day 50

Unfortunately, more difficulties with the stream led to the play kicking off in the dark. By the time the coverage began, Galfond was already up around $40K. No sooner had things been sorted out than Kornuth sat out.

It seemed like a regular break, but after some time, commentator Farah Galfond broke the news from Phil himself: Galfond vs. Kornuth was on a “permanent break.”

In the interview afterward, Kornuth said he had sold pieces based on a $1 million max loss, so after he’d lost two early all ins on Day 50, he reached his number.

Hands Played: 100
Results: Phil Galfond +~46,000
Full session video

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