After two sessions of action Fedor Holz has taken a lead of $52,073 in the GGPoker Face-Off Challenge. The German poker pro has chalked up two straight wins against Poland’s Wiktor “Limitless” Malinowski.
Malinowski challenged Holz earlier this year and the event matches two big online poker phenoms. With half the session now complete, Holz has some momentum going into Wednesday’s duel.
That win total so far is about under two and half buy-ins, and things could certainly change over the final two sessions.
Some details on the poker challenge
For those new to the GG Face-Off, here’s a look at what to expect in the Holz-Malinowski matchup.
- Dates: March 5, 8, 10, and 12
- Game: No Limit Hold’em
- Stakes: $100/$200 tables
- Starting stacks: $20,000 (100 big blinds)
The two squared off for about five and a half hours on Friday, playing on a single table in the first session. Holz said the action moved too slowly in the first session at one table
The recent Daniel Negreanu-Doug Polk heads-up duel featured two tables and the action moved at a nice pace. Holz-Malinowski also switched to two tables in the second session.
Unlike Negreanu-Polk, Malinowski and Holz are featured via video on the GGPoker streams. Viewers could also check out hole cards, which made for even better viewing.
A look at the first session at GGpoker
In Friday’s action, Malinowski mixed in a glass of wine while playing the match and promised the occasional cigar. He said afterward on the GGPoker stream that he was hoping to bring some fun to poker with the challenge. Dispelling the myth that online poker players are nerds was also a goal, he said.
On the felt, Holz found a few nice pots early including a big bluff that paid off. On a board of J♦A♣7♦4♥8♣ and $5,800 already in the pot, Holz made a pot-sized bet with K♣Q♠. After betting the hand all the way, Malinowski folded his top pair with A♦3♥.
The Holz aggression paid off in that one and he found a $10,000 pot shortly afterward. Malinowski raised from the button with Q♠2♠ and Holz three-bet to $2,050.
Malinowski then four-bet to almost $5,000. Holz thought a big and moved all in. His opponent quickly folded and Holz took the pot.
For the most part, the first half of the match went Holz’s way and he was up about $87,000. Malinowski rallied and showed some discipline in one losing hand that could have cost him more.
Malinowski raised from the button to $500 with K♥Q♦ and Holz three-bet to $2,050. Malinowski called and the flop brought 10♠K♣A♣.
With Q♣6♣, Holz held straight and flush draws and fired $1,230. That received a call and the turn brought the K♠, giving Malinowski a set.
This time Holz checked and Malinowski bet $4,600. Holz checked and the river brought the 8♣. Holz checked and Malinowski did as well, sending a $16,000 pot to Holz after rivering the flush.
Holz takes early lead after Session 1
After more than 400 hands, Holz finished up with a win. The first session turned out nicely for Holz and Malinowski believed his opponent played well.
“I give credit to Fedor,” Malinowski said. “He stepped up and played quite well. He bluffed in spots where I thought he might not bluff.”
Holz said he was playing by feel and watched some good heads-up players to prepare. He tanked numerous times and said he’s still learning the heads-up game. Running through various hand scenarios is a major part of Holz’s game and he spoke on his analysis.
“I think oftentimes, how I approach it is, I try to think about what I generally want to do,’” he said. “For example, what would be the worst hand I would call? Or a type of hand and how often I want to raise with it. Often if I just look at my hand, I feel a bit more lost.”
- Total hands played in series: 459
- Overall series results: Holz up $37,421
Holz scores again in second session
The second day in the session also produced a positive result for Holz. The two players battled for about three and half hours on Monday.
A big hand came early when Malinowski picked up pocket Kings. After raising from the button to $500, Holz made it $2,100. Malinowski then four-bet to $5,000 and received a call.
The flop brought 9♠J♠8♥ and Holz, who held J♣9♣, checked to his opponent. Malinowski bet $2,200 and Holz raised to $6,200.
Malinowski moved all in for $19,000 and Holz quickly called. He received no help on the turn and river, however, and Holz raked a $41,000 pot.
That cooler seemed to signal how it would go for Holz. About halfway through the session, he’d found a lead of more than $25,000.
That had dropped to about $6,000 with an hour left in the day. Malinowki put in a nice bluff at about the two and a half hour mark to cut into Holz’s lead.
From the button, Holz raised to 7♣4♣ and Malinowski three-bet to $2,000 with A♥J♣. Holz called and they saw a flop of Q♥7♥Q♣.
Malinowski bet $1,200 and Holz took some time before calling. The 4♥ fell on the river and Malinowski bet $2,000. Holz called again and the K♣ came on the river.
With a possible flush and other combinations on the board, Malinowski bet $7,300. After quite a tank, Holz ultimately folded. Malinowski won more than $10,000 with a well-played bluff.
For Holz, the session meant another $14,652 heading his way.
- Total hands played in series: 900 (estimate)
- Results in series: Holz up $52,073
Inside the action
The GGPoker Face-Off certainly offers a bit of a unique look into these heads-up challenges. The two players are both on camera and comment randomly on the action.
Both players can see the other as if at a live table, although both were usually stoic during big hands. The shorter series means variance plays more of a role in the overall results.
Seeing the hole cards also makes for a more interesting experience for those checking out the action. That was a common criticism from the Negreanu-Polk match – not being able to see how they played their hands.
Holz’s occasional slow play may be a negative for some poker fans. However, both players were also battling it out in other tournaments while playing in Monday’s second session.
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