Matt Berkey VS. Nik Airball

The recent heads-up match between infamous ‘beefers’ Matt Berkey and Nik Airball may not have been streamed live around the world, but poker fans everywhere felt a part of it. From the pre-match fight that led to the cash game showdown to an early victory, we’ve got the scoop on everything that went down.

The Battle Blows Up

Many heads-up clashes come from either the format, the organisers or decades of epic beef. Just the other day, Daniel Negreanu beat Eric Persson in the return of High Stakes Duel. That wasn’t the case here. A stand-up row between Berkey and Airball in real life erupted online, and the challenge was made – each man would put up his own money for a huge no limit hold’em showdown.

As the game started, Landon Tice began commentary on the action. This continued throughout, with perhaps the highlight being the penultimate update where Airball, down $669,000, failed to appear and had to pay a $10,000 penalty which was added to those losses.

In the end, it was a stay of execution. Following a brutal final session, Airball went past the million-dollar mark, and that mean the game was over. The pair had agreed a ‘stop/loss’ amount of $1 million, and Berkey had the victory.

Airball Concedes Defeat, Apologises in Full

In the moments after the denouement of the game, Airball struck a conciliatory figure, at least on social media. Taking to Twitter, where he has 16,700 followers, he congratulated Berkey on his victory. Magnanimous? You’d better believe it.

Arcot promised that two days later, he’d go into more detail about the bout and what he’d learned and true to his word, ‘Airball’ was back 48 hours later to break down the experience and put right a few wrongs.

Amid a flurry of feedback, it seemed like the tide had turned. After waves of anger had crashed over Airball in recent times, suddenly it appeared he was in calmer seas, even content to joke about his employment situation in the aftermath.

Berkey Accepts Airball’s Apology

Matt Berkey was quick to accept his opponent’s apology, and on Twitter in poker ‘public’, too.

Berkey’s use of the words “plenty of very small examples of him going out of his way to be kind” might possibly come across as needle, but that aside, it’s a solid approach to the apology from Airball. The most important factor of the apology, it would seem, is the reference to Berkey’s stand-up behaviour. As a career poker professional, Bereky was not happy about being labelled a ‘scammer’ by Airball. Mud can stick and when it has no right being thrown in his direction, as he believe, Berkey was understandably riled up.

In the end, that beef got Airball his heads-up match and further propelled him into the poker spotlight – likely the aim of his created friction with Berkey in the first place. Airball is now a high stakes cash mainstay on live streams. It just cost him a million dollars to book his seat.

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Paul seaton

Paul Seaton, a poker luminary with over a decade of experience, has reported live from iconic poker events, including the World Series of Poker, European Poker Tour, and World Poker Tour. He's not just a spectator; he's been the Editor of BLUFF Europe Magazine and Head of Media for partypoker. Paul's poker insights have graced publications like PokerNews, 888poker, and PokerStake, where he's interviewed poker legends such as Daniel Negreanu, Erik Seidel, Phil Hellmuth, and The Hendon Mob’s, entire lineup. His exceptional work even earned him a Global Poker Award nomination for Best Written Content. In the poker world, Paul Seaton's expertise is a force to be reckoned with, captivating enthusiasts worldwide.
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