Big Sunday Sees Airball Bounce Back Against Matt Berkey

Nik Airball and Matt Berkey returned to the tables this week.

Jeff Walsh
Apr 17, 2023
Nik Arcot (aka ‘Nik Airball’) and Matt Berkey resumed their heads-up match on Sunday.

The heated heads-up match between Solve For Why founder Matt Berkey and Hustler Casino Live star Nik Arcot (aka “Nik Airball”) resumed this past weekend with the pair returning to the Resorts World Poker Room for some high-stakes $200/$400 ($400 ante) action.

The details were slow going throughout the short seven-hour session, but ultimately, Airball rebounded to book a win of roughly $123,000. The result turned the early tide in the match, wiping out Berkey’s $33,500 lead he took into the session and giving Airball a $90,200 cushion as well as some trash talking ammunition to fire off until their next scheduled match up on Saturday.

The intensity of the match, and subsequent media attention, stalled last week with both players needing some personal time after the initial three-day session from earlier this month. Airball was forced to skip last weekend, essentially calling in sick. Talking with Joey Ingram, Airball acknowledged and debunked the online chatter that maybe he was taking a little extra time to work on his heads-up game.

“It was a fake illness, I was in the lab,” Airball said, clearly joking. “I’m just kidding. No, I had the flu. Sick all weekend in bed. Tuesday, Wednesday started to feel like a human being, and here I am ready to play.”

For his part, Berkey had a previously agreed to planned day off on Saturday for a Solve For Why Academy engagement. But now, with a healthy Airball and Berkey’s weekend work behind them, and a ruling from match arbitrator Phil Galfond limiting the number of bathroom breaks, they seem clear to put in some real hours in the weekends ahead.

“We’re going to be back to every weekend,” Airball told Ingram before Sunday’s match. “Saturday, Sunday, Monday until we finish this thing.

“I’m feeling good. I think, you know, when I get up a couple hundred thousand in the session it’s going to be very tough for him, and from there it’s just going to be a snowball effect. He can say what he wants about the first three days, but I think that if the cards were reversed, this f****** s*** would be over already.”

Although Airball holds a $90,200 lead, it needs to be noted that with the minimum buy-in set at $100,000 – just like Berkey’s lead after the first weekend – this lead is less significant than the number itself can purchase. It’s less than a single buy-in and with nearly 3/4 of the match left to go, the swings for both or either player are likely to get way bigger.