Twittertainment: Nik Airball vs. Matt Berkey Goes Viral but $200/$400 Match in Doubt

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Twittertainment: Nik Airball vs. Matt Berkey Goes Viral but $200/$400 Match in Doubt
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This week’s Twittertainment sees another battle of words play out over social media. Which online poker players are arguing this time? The latest Twitter beef is between poker pro Matt Berkey and Nikhil Arcot, aka Nik Airball. 

Airball will be familiar to viewers of Hustler Casino Live. The recreational player and investment banker has made a name for himself in recent months thanks to his kamikaze style. With a seemingly voracious appetite for action (see video below), it’s little wonder Airball took an aggressive line against Berkey during a recent podcast appearance.

Speaking on Doug Polk’s podcast, Airball discussed the recent Hustler Casino Live scandal involving Garrett Adelstein. In giving his take on the situation, Airball said he wants to test himself against poker’s best. He admitted that playing deep against the elite wouldn’t be in his favor, but there are spots he can exploit. 

Doug Polk and Nik Airball Take Shots at Matt Berkey

Talk eventually turned to a proposed heads-up match between Airball and Berkey (see video below). Airball recently took exception to Berkey’s comments about him being on Hustler Casino Live. Polk proposed a match between the two. But, as we learned from the podcast, agreeing on terms hasn’t been easy.

As stated by Polk, Berkey is the founder of poker coaching site Solve for Why and, despite Airball being an amateur, he wouldn’t commit to a date for the match. The discussion spilled over onto Twitter and, thus, another viral thread was born. 

High Stakes Heads-Up Match is Set (Or is It?)

The back-and-forth in terms of location, stakes, and stipulations isn’t easy to follow, but it seemed as though some terms were agreed. The basics are that the match was due to take place in Las Vegas. The game was set to be $200/$400 No Limit Hold’em, and it was going to last for 100 hours. 

A $1 million stop-loss limit was also agreed and, barring a few finer points, everything was looking good. However, it later transpired that Airball wanted a friend to sit in on the game. That person would sit behind Airball so there couldn’t be any vocal or visual cues, but Berkey isn’t happy. 

Poker sage Phil Galfond was drafted in to moderate the negotiations and give his verdict on what’s a fair set-up. The three-way discussions appeared to be heading in the right direction but, as Airball tweeted on March 29, Berkey has “reneged” on some previously agreed terms. 

Even for people following from the start, the debate is hard to keep track of. The main problem right now is that Berkey wants to play in private. That means Airball’s friend can’t watch. Airball believes he should be allowed some company since he’s agreeing to stay in Las Vegas for 30 days and play. 

Poker Community Takes Sides in Airball vs. Berkey Showdown

At this stage, a match between Nik Airball and Matt Berkey looks unlikely. However, there’s certainly a lot of interest on Twitter. As well as people demanding the showdown goes ahead, there is support for both parties. 

Andre Hengchua from Run It Once called out Airball for “crying” when he was told he couldn’t have a friend rail him. 

Rob Khun, founder of Elite Poker Coaching, also had Berkey’s back in the debate. 

Airball wasn’t without his supporters. Dave Fallon questioned whether Berkey’s alleged attempts to “constantly” change the “parameters” of the match were in bad faith. 

Dr Randy March offered a similar take, tweeting that Berkey got his “bluff called” and is looking for an “excuse” when he loses. Meanwhile, there are those who simply don’t like Matt Berkey

As is often the case in poker, the majority want to see Airball vs. Berkey. 

“Just play the match for the love of god. Stop with the ridiculous sideshow nonsense,” Wes Deaver tweeted on March 30.

Nik Airball and Matt Berkey clearly don’t see eye-to-eye on a lot of things, so a $200/$400 match would be entertaining. However, with both parties at a deadlock not even Phil Galfond can break, it seems as though we’re unlikely to see Airball vs. Berkey any time soon. 

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