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Gossip Column: Polk Bounces Back to Take the Lead in Grudge Match; Galfond Still $277K in the Red to Kornuth & More!

Gossip Column - Daniel Negrranu, Doug Polk, Phil Galfond and Chance Kornuth
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  • Namita Ghosh November 7, 2020
  • 4 Minutes Read

The much-talked-about Grudge Match between GGPoker Ambassador Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk has now entered the virtual domain. The two played the first of their online sessions on WSOP.com – the virtual battleground currently for two high-stakes challenges. It turned out to be an intense battle, and Negreanu, who was leading for $116K after the first 200 hands played live at the PokerGO studio, lost out badly to Polk. The duo played 424-hands and true to his reputation, Polk made a strong comeback winning a commendable $218,292! The duo has played 624 hands of $200/$400 NLHE so far, and Polk has wholly reversed the equation, taking over an overall lead of $101,792 on Negreanu!

The Negreanu-Polk Grudge Match might have diverted the poker community’s attention a little, but there another high profile heads-up battle taking place between Run It Once Poker (RIOP) supremo Phil Galfond and Chance Kornuth. The duo has played another six sessions in the last two weeks, and Galfond is finding himself sinking deeper in the hole as the challenge progresses.

The PLO specialist might have won the most recent Session #19 on WSOP.com for $45,500, but looking at the overall tally, that’s little consolation. Kornuth continues to be in the driver’s seat with a commanding $277K lead with a little over two-third of the 35,000-hand challenge (10,250 hands) still to go. Galfond has made more significant comebacks in the past, so it would be very premature to rule him out just yet!

Poker streaming on Twitch is the bread and butter for many players and poker content creators. Still, a recent round of Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) copyright strikes has unleashed panic in the streaming community. Popular poker streamers like Kevin Martin, Lex Veldhuis, and Benjamin Spragg, aka Spraggy, have had to delete a significant portion of their content mainly because these streams had copyrighted music playing in the background. Is this Black Friday for poker streaming?

Polk Rebounds With $200K Win in First Online Session of His Grudge Match Against Negreanu

The high stakes Grudge Match between GGPoker Ambassador Daniel Negreanu and Doug Polk is turning out to be one hell of a battle! If Negreanu made a fantastic start by booking a profit of $116,000 in the first 200-hand session that was played live in the PokerGO studio in Vegas, Polk played like the online beast he’s known to be in the first online session that played out yesterday on WSOP.com.

Daniel Negreanu


The session lasted 424 hands, and by the end of it, Polk had booked a profit of $218,292!

Doug Polk


Those who have backed the favorite Polk can take an easy breath; for now, he holds a $101,792 overall lead on Negreanu with 624 hands done and dusted!

After the session, Polk tweeted an update.

He did admit to making plenty of mistakes throughout the session.

But win or lose, that wasn’t the only crackling part of this session. Negreanu wasn’t a quiet player and was not letting go of any opportunity to pull Polk down. By the looks of his tweet, it seemed it was the way he’d planned to behave.

Moreover, Negreanu’s system issues in joining the post-play conversation with Kevin Martin and Koray Turker ticked him off, and he let out steam at Martin. Once Turker joined, Negreanu did eventually settle down, and the trio recapped the session.

Despite losing the session, Negreanu was optimistic about the battle ahead and shared that he’ll be reviewing the hands he played with his team through the weekend. “I think they are going to very happy about some of the decisions I made. Not all of them, of course, ’cause I am playing a really great player. It’s going to be tough, and he’s going to put you into those spots. But overall, I think I did pretty well…”

He did confirm that he and Polk were supposed to play on Sunday, but Polk had a football date, so they will meet on Monday.

As Negreanu said, the grudge match continues on Monday, and we just can’t wait to see what happens!


Galfond Challenge: Kornuth $277K Ahead of Galfond After 19 Sessions

Much has happened in the past fortnight in the high-stakes PLO heads-up battle, aka, Galfond Challenge between Phil Galfond and Chance Kornuth underway at WSOP.com. If Galfond was $190K behind Kornuth after the 13th session, he seems to have sunk deeper into the hole in the last six sessions that have been played.

The duo wrapped up a 550-hand Session #19 yesterday, where Galfond managed to book a profit of $45,500 to bring his overall deficit down to $277,500.

Let’s take a quick look at how the last six sessions have panned out!


Sessions 14 to 19: A Recap

After a strong run through Session #12 and #13, Kornuth began Session #14 with a solid $190K lead. He made the 820 hands that were played count, adding $99,000 to his tally. Galfond’s losing streak saw him falling $289,000 in the red.

The duo took the rest of the week off and returned to play on October 27.

Galfond played his cards well in Session #15 to win $90K by the end of the 500 hands. Kornuth was still a comfortable $199,000 ahead overall.

The duo continued their run the next day and played another 600 hands over Session #16. The play was somewhat flat, but Galfond managed to avert another landslide, closing out his day with a loss of $35,000. By now, 8,500 hands of the challenge were in the rear-view mirror, and Kornuth had a $234,000 lead over Galfond.

RIOP tweeted an update.

Kornuth tweeted after the session.

Both Galfond and Kornuth took another break, and the PLO match resumed only on November 3. Kornuth kept his crushing dominion through Session #17 and added $33,000 to his winnings after 600 hands of play.

Even if Kornuth was $267K up against Galfond, he was certainly in no mood to let Galfond close the gap. Session #19 saw them battle over 600 hands, and Galfond dropped another $56,000 to Kornuth. With 9,700 hands already played, Kornuth held a glittering $323,000 lead over Galfond!

An elated Kornuth couldn’t keep himself from sharing his happiness on Twitter.

A rueful Galfond confessed the match wasn’t going the way he’d hoped it would. “This #GalfondChallenge hasn’t been going how I’d hoped. Fortunately, it’s a long one. Plenty of time to turn it around if I can get my act together!” Galfond tweeted.

Catch the highlights of Session #18 below.

But Galfond has proved time and again his caliber to bounce back from extremely challenging situations. The duo played 550 more hands in Session #19 yesterday, and Galfond booked a profit of $45,500.

RIOP tweeted an update.

Kornuth admitted that it was a very tough session for him.

The Galfond Challenge is now past the 10,000-hand mark, with a total of 10,250 hands already done with. Despite a phenomenal run in the 19th session, Galfond has a lot of catching up to do since Kornuth holds a significant $277,500 lead. There are 24,750 more hands to be played in this challenge, so this will be a long-drawn affair, and with both players equally adept at high-stakes PLO, the match is not going to lack entertainment for sure!

Watch Session #19 highlights below.


DMCA Copyright Strikes On Twitch Sends Shockwaves in the Poker Streaming Community

The latest round of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) copyright strikes on Twitch has sent poker streamers scuttling. The popular live streaming service has been notifying users since June to stick to the copyright diktats for some time now, and this time the campaign has hit many of them hard.

Several poker streamers who enjoy a huge following, including Kevin Martin, Lex Veldhuis, and Benjamin Spragg aka Spraggy, have had to delete a substantial part of their content.

Twitch has asked subscribers to review all of their VODs, clips, and other content and remove anything where they’ve used copyrighted content. In an email sent to users, Twitch has even said that if they’re not sure about the compliance of their contents, users should delete their entire archive.

While there’s a lot of confusion on the exact parameters they have to stick to, poker streamers have primarily come under the cloud for using unlicensed copyrighted content like music. The strikes have certainly sent shockwaves through the streaming community since anyone who incurs three DMCA strikes will see their channel permanently banned from the platform.


Poker Players React

Poker content creators have been the most affected by the latest DMCA strikes on Twitch. The platform doesn’t have any clearly laid out identification system to specify the content that breaches the DMCA provisos.

GGSquad member Kevin Martin took to Twitter, sharing that he was forced to delete all of his old content on Twitch to remain compliant with the notice.

Martin added that streamers like him who make a living out of making poker content will now have to be extra cautious when using music in their videos. He said, “I’m going to chill, but it’s nerve-wracking thinking your entire stream and everything you’ve built up could be in danger.”

Torsten ‘Jektiss’ Brinkmann, a GGSquad member, admitted he’s not on the Twitch radar as of now. “So far, I have luckily been spared DMCA strikes on Twitch. My channel is mostly underground music (house/techno), so I bypass the radar a bit and just try not to play commercial music.”

Popular poker streamer Lex Veldhuis has also received a DMCA strike and had to pause his scheduled streaming. Veldhuis later tweeted, saying he may not broadcast music at all while streaming.

Spraggy and Jaime Staples also got hit by the DMCA strike and had to remove years of VODs from their Twitch channel.


While partypoker has said its Twitch team was working within the stipulated guidelines and restrictions, Twitch’s latest aggressive stance has undoubtedly dampened the poker streaming community.

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