The GGPoker Face-Off Challenge is on, and two sessions in, Fedor Holz has given his doubters some pause, at the very least.
The top tournament pro has the early edge against nosebleed cash game veteran Wiktor Malinowski. Though it’s still in very small sample territory with about 900 hands played, Holz has gone up more than $50,000 in their $100/$200 match after the first two sessions.
Malinowski acknowledged his opponent has played well thus far.
After the first session, which lasted around five hours, Malinowski expressed an interest in playing more tables. They did just that in the second session despite both firing off in some high-stakes tournaments, but and Holz booked another small win
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One of the first big pots came up about 90 hands into the planned 400 hands when Holz opened the for $500, Malinowski three-bet the to $2,000, and Holz peeled to see a dreamy — from his perspective — flop. Malinowski slowed down with a check and just called Holz’s small sizing of $1,200. The turn brought a and Malinowski check-called a bigger bet of half-pot, $3,300. On the river, Malinowski checked with about $15.8K, just over the pot left. Holz went deep into the tank before jamming, and his chips hit the pot about as quickly as Malinowski’s virtual cards went into the muck.
First big round to Holz in one sense, but in another, a successful escape by Malinowski.
Another nasty spot came up after as Malinowski’s poor luck with queens continued. This time, he three-bet to $2,000 again with , with Holz peeling light holding . Malinowski continued for $1,200 on and was met with a raise to $3,220. Malinowski wasn’t giving up yet and called, bringing the . He opted to lead out really small with $1,360. Holz called and the river was the . Malinowski checked and Holz shipped it in for about a pot-sized bet of $16K effective and Malinowski snap-folded again.
Perhaps Malinowski felt he was getting run over early, but he must have figured the time was right for a move of his own around the 100-hand mark. He’d defended the big blind with and Holz c-bet with after flopping huge again on . This time, Malinowski fired in a raise to $1,360 from the $300 bet, and Holz called. Malinowski turned some equity with the and overbet for $5,020. Holz called again, bringing the . Malinowski stuffed for $15,969, just over the pot, and Holz quickly called to scoop $45,699.
“What did you roll?” Holz said with a laugh after the showdown, referencing the random number generator many regulars use to help their decision-making.
“I rolled 98,” Malinowski said with a chuckle.
Another unfortunate situation developed for Malinowski when he called a three-bet and flopped well with on . Holz slowed down and check-called a small sizing with only to nail the that also improved Malinowski. Holz check-raised all in and had a slight lead against the massive draw, and the river was the brick he needed for the $42,299 pot.
Finally, Malinowski got some momentum when he caught Holz bluffing. Holz peeled versus a check-raise with on . He then bet the big when checked to and then potted the river for $9,600. Malinowski had a good bluff catcher with and looked him up to rake in the pot.
Holz peaked close to a $100K winner when he sucked out with a rivered flush versus Malinowski’s trip kings, though the latter saved himself some dough with a river check back.
Holz then barreled down after opening against Malinowski’s defend. All looked well for Holz as he bet $700 on then $1,200 after hitting a straight on the . Unfortunately for him, the gave Malinowski a full house and he check-raised to $15,600 over a bet of just $2,400. Holz couldn’t get away and Malinowski won a pot of $36K.
Holz’s lead had dwindled under $50K when he went for a check-raise in a single-raised pot on . Malinowski c-bet big with $700 holding and Holz made it $2,180 with . He fired pot, $5,360 on the , with Malinowski calling again. On the , Holz tanked awhile then bet $11,256. Malinowski didn’t snap but did eventually find the call button to drag the $38K pot.
Hands Played: 459
Results: Fedor Holz +$37,421
Full session video
An early cooler went in Holz’s favor as he three-bet then peeled a four-bet with against . There was about $10K in the pot already and Malinowski continued for $2,240 in position on . Holz check-raised to $5,240 and called off to win the $41K pot, holding on the turn and river.
Malinowski showed off his heroing skills with after calling a three-bet and seeing . He called a small bet on the flop, the turn checked through, and Holz bet the river for $4,560 into $6,560 with for an airball. Malinowski snapped with the ace-high.
An unusual hand developed when Malinowski went for a four-bet to about $5K holding against Holz’s . Holz check-called a small bet of $2,400 on , then the arrived. Malinowski bet small again, this time $4,216. Holz again called, leaving about $8K back with $23K in the middle. Malinowski stuck the rest in and Holz tanked but found the call to chop.
Then, Holz three-bet with to $2,150 and Malinowski called with . Holz continued small for $1,290 on and both players checked the . Holz bet big on the river with $5,020. He had about $15K back and Malinowski offered to play for that as well. Holz tanked a bit then let it go.
Holz was stuck a bit but battled back into a small lead when a wild hand went down. He called a three-bet to $2,000 with and was up against . The flop improved neither player and Holz called a bet of $1,200. Malinowski checked the and Holz bet $3,600, just over half the pot. Malinowski peeled, bringing the on the river. Malinowski had a hair over the $13,600 left in the pot and he checked. Holz shoved and Malinowski tank-called off but the hero call failed.
A disaster scenario arose for Holz when they were about 150 blinds deep. Holz three-bet, Malinowski four-bet to $5,200 and Holz made it $10,500 with . Malinowski peeled with and flopped a flush on . Holz bet tiny with $2,900 and Malinowski called. Holz opted to barrel small again for $4,700 on the , and Malinowski just called again. On the , Holz finally checked. Malinowski had only $12,281 left with more than $36K in the middle. He stuck that in.
“It’s not exciting,” Holz said with a sigh as he went deep in the tank.
He finally tank-folded.
The players called it a session as they surpassed 400 hands again, and the ticker on the bottom had them close to even but the GG team tweeted that Holz booked another win of about $15K.
Hands Played: TBA
Full session video