Two of the biggest poker challenges of the year have reached crucial stages in the days before Christmas and while all four men who are facing off across the virtual felt will be taking a breather over the festive period, you’ll want to know exactly how things stand.
Let’s take a look at both challenges and assess who is winning, who has the best chance and what the odds are for success in the two ding-dong showdowns as they head towards a conclusion in the New Year.
Doug Polk vs. Daniel Negreanu
Just a day ago, Polk won $114,140.26 across 904 hands of no limit hold’em, bringing his overall lead in the challenge up again to over $810,000. With 12,222 hands having been played, even our rudimentary arithmetic mean there are 278 hands until the halfway stage.
As Polk says in his latest Twitter update, the two men are ‘very close to halfway now, just a few hundred hands to go.’
The heads-up specialist is feeling confident that the numbers are almost right and will be verifying before the final session of the first half of the challenge. On the most recent session on December 23rd, he said:
“The big hands this session were lots of all in pre-flops. Things were swinging around but once we got deep it stayed in the +2-3 bi range for the entire remaining session.”
Both men have the option of quitting at half-time and while you might assume Negreanu is the player considering it, the truth is that neither man wants to fall on their sword just yet. Polk will be hoping his quarry continues, and Negreanu can hardly save any face by giving up now. Over the next 12,778 hands then, can Kid Poker perform the comeback of all comebacks or will it be more punishment from Polk?
Our prediction? Pain.
Phil Galfond vs. Chance Kornuth
This battle is a lot closer and has gone a little further into the challenge.
Taking place in Pot Limit Omaha rather than NLHE, the Chance Kornuth Galfond Challenge saw Phil Galfond get off to a strong start before his latest challenger took the lead after a terrific run. At one stage, Kornuth was over $400,000 up in the challenge, but that is no longer the case.
As of Christmas Eve, Galfond leads by $352,000 after 21,500 hands of the 35,000 that are scheduled.
The sidebet on the game is perhaps the biggest factor that will kick into play over the last 13,500 hands, with just under 40% of the challenge to be played. Should Galfond close it out, then he’ll win an additional $250,000 from his challenger, but should Kornuth come back into contention for a second time and win, he’ll add an extra million dollars to his bank balance courtesy of winning the sidebet.
Against Venividi, Galfond was the comeback hero. Could Chance Kornuth perform the same miracle and give himself a bumper nappy fund to assist his early days as a father, having recently become a Dad? We can’t wait to find out.