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Gossip Column: Matt Berkey Crushes Nik Airball in High-Stakes Grudge Match in Less Than 60 Hours, Winning Over $1 Million

Matt Berkey
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  • Attreyee Khasnabis May 8, 2023
  • 4 Minutes Read

After ten intense sessions and nearly 59 hours of play, Matt Berkey crushed the ever-so-cocky Nikhil “Nik Airball” Arcot in the high-stakes heads-up poker showdown.

These two poker rivals had initially decided to play No-Limit Hold’em heads-up at $200/$400 stakes for 100 hours at Resorts World in Las Vegas, but with a $1 Million stop-loss looming, things took a dramatic turn. Saturday afternoon, Nik Airball hit that seven-figure loss, forcing the challenge to a sudden halt just shy of the 60-hour mark. In true gossip-worthy fashion, Nik Airball took to Twitter, posting a brief yet begrudging congratulatory message along with the final results.


The Last Session

Session nine of the heads-up challenge was scheduled for May 2. However, after enduring a serious drubbing in the last few sessions, Arcot backed out for the day and paid a $10,000 fine for doing so. The fine was added to Berkey’s ever-growing lead, extending it to $669,800.

They played the session on May 7.


It was evident from Landon Tice‘s commentary that things could end with Arcot having bought in for $350,000. Since the latter was already trailing by $669,800, another losing session was all Berkey needed to seal the deal.

The final blow was delivered by Berkey in a set-over-set cooler that the former won for $300,000.


The end-of-day results were shared by Arcot in his congratulatory tweet for Berkey, where he mentioned that he was down by $1,029,700.


Poker Community Reacts

Given how incredibly contentious this heads-up challenge was, it’s unsurprising that those supporting Berkey from the get-go had much to gloat about. Before the challenge, Airball had called the Solve for Why founder a “scammer” and had nothing positive to share about his poker game. In fact. Airball had demanded the match and claimed that Berkey had avoided playing him as he did not have the skill to win.


Garrett Adelstein Accepts Nik Airball’s Challenge

Now that Berkey’s match is history, Garrett Adelstein is eager to get another heads-up match match going with his nemesis, Nik Airball. Adelstein challenged Airball to a heads-up match and wants the stakes increased to $500/$1,000.


Doug Polk had been stirring up quite the storm on his YouTube channel before the heads-up challenge began. He even offered a $100,000 freeroll to the challenge winner if Berkey agreed to play at the Polk-owned poker club, The Lodge. But with a lot of other controversies brewing, the three-time WSOP bracelet winner formally distanced himself from Arcot’s entourage.


Once a fan-favorite on Hustler Casino Live and Live at the Bike, Adelstein vanished from public games after accusing Robbi Jade Lew of cheating him out of a $270,000 pot on HCL back in September.

The LA high-stakes poker legend had previously slammed Nik Airball as a “bad person” on Twitter. In response, Airball appeared on the Doug Polk Podcast to defend himself and criticize Adelstein for allegedly handpicking weak opponents on HCL. Adelstein is now barred from playing on Hustler Casino Live.

It’s now up to Airball to accept Adelstein’s challenge or walk away from this heated rivalry.

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