Berkey vs Airball Heads-Up Grudge Match in Doubt Over ‘Comfort Friend’ Request

March 31, 2023
Andrew Burnett

The grudge match between Matt Berkey and Nikhil “Nik Airnball” Arcot is in serious doubt just days after it was announced, with Berkey refusing to allow Airball to bring a friend along to the heads-up match for support...

Phil Galfond, the arbitrator caught in the middle of the feuding factions, tweeted out the news that many poker fans half-expected –the highstakes battle wouldn’t go ahead without another round of tit-for-tat claims and counterclaims.

Arcot, the Hustler Casino Live reg known popularly as “Nik Airball”, called out Berkey as “a scammer” on a recent Doug Polk podcast.

He told Polk on air: “... Berkey's a scammer. When you run a training site and you can't beat the games, you're a scammer. You're selling bullshit. It just is what it is, you're a scam artist.”

This led to Berkey’s challenge, with terms apparently agreed earlier in the week...

However, Arcot’s insistence on bringing along a ‘support friend’ has upset the applecart.

The wealthy investment banker posted a lengthy tweet in support of his position, claiming he had agreed to everything Berkey wanted in order to set the match.

“Clarifications: I have agreed to all Berkey’s requests to this point.
- I am coming to where he lives, Vegas, to play him much smaller stakes than I want.
- He originally offered every day for 30 days, I accepted then he changed the offer.
- He asked to play weekends, I accepted it.
- He asked for a 1mm stop loss not 2mm, I accepted it.
- He asked for only 100 hours of play not the 200 I requested, I accepted this.”

Arcot added: “All the terms set forth were Berkey’s terms outside of the 100k min. He is the pro with a training site, claiming he has crushed high stakes. I’m the guy who just lost 1mm on stream tilting his brains out vs a bunch of amateurs. Most elite players would travel anywhere and meet my demands to get this opportunity.”

He claims that because he is travelling from LA to Vegas for the match, that it is perfectly understandable he’d want a friend there for moral support.

“Eshaan is my good friend, an ex-engineer at Lyft and a current contracted engineer for Run It Once. I stated anyone watching match who has relationship would be asked to sit behind the player they support to ensure no verbal or visual cues, no phones or devices, no writing down hands, no coaching or helping in any way.

He added: “I said I’m fine with Landon or whoever being there for Berkey if that makes him feel like it is more fair.”

Matt Glantz was among the many who found Airball’s demand to have Eshaan “Brown Balla” Bhalla with him a rather feeble stumbling block...

Others were of the opinion it was a clear attempt to have an onsite coach...

Arcot himself believes his desire to have Bhalla with him is “completely reasonable.”

He tweeted: “It has nothing to do with coaching or gaining an edge. Additionally, it is completely within casino rules to sweat a poker table.”

As if things couldn’t get any more bizarre, Doug Polk stepped back into the fray with an offer that is worth half a buy-in to the winner...

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