Heads-up cash game challenges have become quite popular throughout the last few years and one of them has just concluded on GGPoker Network, the fastest growing online poker site. The GGPoker Face-Off Challenge featured Fedor “CrownUpGuy” Holz and Wiktor “limitless” Malinowski at limits of $100/$200.
The Birth of the Face-Off Challenge
The ultimate spark that led to the duel was a conversation on social media platform Twitter, as Holz jokingly suggested to leave some money for him as well. Malinowski was right in the middle of another cash game duel with Russian player Stefan Burakov in which he was off to a rocky start. Ultimately, Malinowski promised to take on Holz and even offered to do so while drinking wine.
It only took a few days for both to agree to terms and the challenge was deemed as a fun format over fewer than 2,000 hands in total. Spectators could watch the action on the GGPoker YouTube channel and even use the poker client to bet on the individual sessions and overall winner of the duel.
Joey Ingram hosted the live stream and also interviewed both players. Furthermore, Ingram had guest commentary and hand analysis by GGPoker ambassador Daniel Negreanu.
In total, four sessions took place and you can find a summary about some of the big pots and stats below.
Session 1: Solid Start for Holz; Up Nearly Two Buy-Ins
The biggest pot throughout the first 100 hands saw Holz flop trips jacks with jack-nine and Malinowski check-called two streets with pocket queens to then check-fold the river. Queens were also involved when Holz got through with a gutsy bluff, holding just queen-nine. The German raised a king-seven-five flop which included a spades flush draw and then bet the turn and river when one ace each appeared. Malinowski called once and snap-folded the river to a jam.
Malinowski then attempted a bluff himself with seven-six on a paired jack-high board. Having missed a gutshot, he jammed it in only to get called by Holz with queen-jack for trip jacks as a full stack went down in flames.
Holz seemingly ran over his opponent and also came out on top when ace-jack turned top pair against second pair, flush and straight draw. Malinowski once again bricked the river and had to concede a full stack.
Things improved for Malinowski when he caught Holz bluffing with king-queen high, holding top pair, and he then made fives full of treys to see Holz call it off with a seven-high straight. Towards the end of the first session, Holz attempted another bluff with ten-high for a flopped gutshot against the ace-queen of Malinowski, which made top pair and top kicker. Holz barreled through and Malinowski called it down eventually to pull back nearly one entire stack.
- Hands played Session 1: 459
- Result Session 1: Fedor Holz +$37,421
Session 2: Small Profit for Fedor Holz
The second session kicked off with another full stack for Holz, who flopped the top two pair with jack-nine suited. He check-raised and then called the jam by Malinowski, who tabled pocket kings for the overpair. Two bricks later, Holz added another stack to his resume and increased his lead. Malinowski got some chips back soon after when he called down with ace-jack high to catch Holz bluffing with nine-eight suited.
The momentum for Malinowski continued when his ace-queen forces a fold from Holz by jamming a paired nine-high river. Holz bet-folded with would have been the winning hand, as his ace-six suited made a pair on the flop.
Small swings took place from there on as Holz opened a small lead again with pocket sevens on a paired jack-high board. Malinowski missed with ace-queen in the three-bet pot and called it down to concede the stack.
Towards the end of the session, a five-bet pot for $10,500 led to an all-diamond flop which gave Malinowski the king-high flush. Holz had ace-king with the nut flush draw and bet small twice to earn calls from Malinowski. Eventually, Holz check-folded the river and preserved a lead of fewer than one full stack for the second session.
- Hands played Session 2: 472
- Result Session 2: Fedor Holz +$14,651.97
Session 3: Fedor Holz Pulls Into a Big Lead
Malinowski entered the third and penultimate session with an early momentum but that was all canceled out in the first big pot. He flopped a jack-high flush draw while Holz held ace-queen for a gutshot broadway draw. It was Holz that bet on king-ten-deuce and earned a call to also bet the turn, when another king appeared. Malinowski jammed with his draw and received the call to brick off on the river.
The momentum certainly went Holz’s way, who got through with a missed straight and flush draw thanks to firing three barrels against ace-ten high. And one of the biggest pots of the challenges than saw Holz flop the seven-high straight with five-four suited. Malinowski could not get away from ten-seen suited for top pair despite two overcards on turn and river to concede a pot of more than $58,000.
As the domination continued from there on out, the German wonder kid went up by six buy-ins for the session. Malinowski eventually got some back towards the end in a four-bet for $5,100 each when his ace-ten remained ahead of ace-deuce suited on a eight-five-four flop with a hearts flush draw. Holz check-called once to then see the ten of spades on the turn, which gave him the nut flush draw on top. Malinowski jammed with his top pair and top kicker to rake in the big pot of nearly $56,000 thanks to a blank on the river.
Holz booked a seven-figure win in the third session to pull ahead by more than eight buy-ins in total, which seemingly put a deadlock on the overall challenge with fewer than 400 hands to go.
- Hands played Session 3: 562
- Result Session 3: Fedor Holz +$108,195.91
Session 4: Wiktor Malinowski Gets Some Redemption
Stuck by some $160,268 and three quarters of the duel done, Malinowski needed a serious hot-run to have a shot at victory. They played the usual two tables of $100 / $200 to bring the challenge to a conclusion and Malinowski was able to get some redemption.
During one of the many three-bet pots, Holz picked up aces and was called by Malinowski with the seven-five suited. Holz fired three barrels on a nine-high board which saw Malinowski flop a pair and gutshot, turn an additional flush draw and nail trips sevens on the river.
After the early momentum for Malinowski with three buy-ins up, Holz pulled back into a narrow lead for the session after some 200 hands. Malinowski struck back when jack-seven flopped trips to beat the kings of Holz. Soon after, the former handball player rivered a full house with pocket treys as Holz made a seven-high straight to add another stack.
The last 100 hands brought no massive swings anymore as Holz avoided any further big coolers to end the challenge with more than four and a half stacks in the green.
“GG’s, it was fun,” Holz said once the final hand concluded with a bluff-catcher by the German.
- Hands played Session 4: 392
- Result Session 4: Wiktor Malinowski +$69,893.44
Total Stats for the Face-Off Challenge
- Hands played: 1,885
- Final Result: Fedor Holz wins by $90,374.98